Passion cake and cauliflower soup

I love cauliflower, but I admit it can have an off-putting smell… if it’s old, if it’s overcooked if it is left-over from yesterday’s dinner… As a child we only had it cooked – so it was still crisp, and served with peppery white sauce. The thought of soup didn’t appeal and again I think it was the thought of the smell rather than the anticipation of the flavour.

The first time I ever ate it was in the North West Arts Association Centre, which used to be on or near Kings Street in Manchester. Downstairs there was a small, cosy and wonderful little cafe. It was the place where i first ate passion cake (I’ve never been able to successfully reproduce it) and it was the place where I first tried cauliflower soup.

It was a miserable day – only in terms of weather, Manchester, even before its present incarnation as the  happening place, was never miserable. I went into the NWAC cafe and there was a delicious savoury aroma and I decided instead of the usual sandwich or jacket potato, I would have whatever the dish was giving off such an enticing smell. It was cauliflower and Stilton soup…

I must admit I hesitated… cauliflower soup, not really… Stilton in soup? Definitely not… or maybe… or maybe I should just try! I realised I shouldn’t condemn something without trying it so I ordered a bowl of soup and a rustic cob.

The soup was a creamy pale colour, and I seem to remember it had little bits of crispy bacon to give a little texture. Well, it was delicious! It was never on the menu again when I dropped into the little subterranean café – and like the passion cake, I could never reproduce it. Now I’m the only one in the family who likes the combination of cauliflower and soup – two like soup but not cauli, one likes cauli but not soup.

If I ever did make it, maybe I should try this 1930’s recipe – a suggestion from ‘a delightful menu for the betwixt-and-between season’:

  • Cauliflower cream soup
    1 cauliflower
  • 1½ pints white stock
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1½ oz butter
  • 1 oz flour
  • 1 onion, minced
  • seasoning, paprika and a few celery seeds
  1. trim and cook the cauli in salted water until just tender
  2. keep a few small florets for decoration and rub the rest through a sieve (or blitz in a blender)
  3. cook the onion gently in the butter but do not allow to brown
  4. add the flour and mix well, cook for just a few minutes then add the stock
  5. bring to the boil
  6. add the cauliflower and the celery seeds (you can tie them in a muslin if you only want the flavour)
  7. add the milk and gently simmer for a few minutes – DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!
  8. serve the soup in cups, sprinkled with paprika and garnished with the reserved florets

Sorry I have no passion cake recipe – I am yet to find the one!

6 Comments

  1. david lewis

    My wife makes deep fried zucchini and since we had cauliflower left over she did the same with it to my delight.Just put a small piece in flower and then egg wash and breadcrumbs and deep fry. Please try and let me know how it went over. We use bar- b- que and ranch for dips.

    Liked by 1 person

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