The perfect ‘when-you’re-skint’ soup

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Being an eager pursuer of kitchen experimentation and a lover of both homemade soup and cauliflower cheese, after many many bowls full of soupy goodness I have finally managed to perfect my recipe for broccoli and cauliflower cheese soup. With generous-sized heads of both selling for around 50p each at Grainger Market and the other ingredients generally being fridge and store-cupboard essentials, this recipe is cheap to make and takes only around half an hour to whizz up. While the cheese adds a moreish and indulgent touch, the quantity of vegetables used means that it provides two portions of veg per serving – both delicious and healthy(-ish)! If you only like one of the two vegetables, just double the quantity of this, and you can easily make a cauliflower cheese or broccoli cheese soup. Served with seeded brown bread, this soup provides a substantial, satisfying meal for those drizzly March days.

Serves Four

Ingredients

• Half a head each of broccoli & cauliflower

• Onion & potatoes to bulk if wanted, however I prefer to not use these to allow a stronger broccoli/cauliflower flavour

• Stock cube or other seasonings of your choice

• Knob of butter

• Tablespoon of flour

• 200ml milk

• 150g grated or chopped cheese – I personally use cheddar, but you can experiment (Stilton being the classic cheese to complement broccoli), or just use up any scraps in the fridge

Instructions

1. Cook the veg. Chop up the broccoli and cauliflower (the finer you chop them, the quicker they will cook) and cook in a pan of boiling water until tender. Add potatoes and onions if wanted. Top up the water while cooking, but try to keep the water level just over the height of the veg – too much water will make it a runny, watery soup. Add a stock cube, or seasonings of your choice, halfway through cooking.

2. Make the cheese sauce. While the veg is still cooking, make a basic roux by melting butter in a pan, adding flour, and whisking til this forms a thick dough-like roux. Add the milk in small increments, and keep whisking while you do so to avoid any lumps. Once all the milk is added, let the sauce boil til it thickens and forms a basic white sauce, then turn to a simmer and add the cheese. Keep whisking until the cheese melts into a lovely smooth sauce.

3. Combine the two. If you got your timing right then hopefully both components will be ready at the same time! Simply pour the cheese sauce and vegetables into a mixing bowl (along with the water the veg was cooked in as it holds a lot of flavour and vitamins!), and blend using a hand blender (if you don’t have one, good models are available at Argos for under £10). Tadaa! A deliciously-thick, luxurious broccoli and cauliflower cheese soup, that gives you a vitamin boost whilst also satisfying any cheese-related cravings.

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