Curried cauliflower cheese soup V

After having spent 2 weeks at my parents eating foie gras for breakfast, lunch and dinner (without even exagerating), I was looking forward to going back to my regular soup-filled routine.

So about 3 minutes after my groceries where delivered this week, I was in my kitchen chopping away.

Curried cauliflower cheese soup (V) ● Cake + Whisky

This cauliflower cheese soup was one of those wonderful accidents that happen when you’re trying to make the most of your ingredients.

After separating the cauliflower florets for another dish, I was left with the stalks. For some reason, I decided to boil them in some water, then blended them with curry powder and a cheeky bit of grated cheddar and it turned out GREAT!

Curried cauliflower cheese soup (V) ● Cake + Whisky

It tastes absolutely delicious (I mean, it’s basically cauliflower cheese in soup form!) and, because it’s a zero waste sort of recipe, it’s also great for the environment and your wallet.

Curried cauliflower cheese soup (V) ● Cake + Whisky

It’s a well-known fact that free food is the best food. And that little number is a great example of how incredible scraps can be.

Fragrant, gently spiced, indulgent-sounding but incredibly light – it’s soooooo gouda!

Curried cauliflower cheese soup (V) ● Cake + Whisky[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:51]

More soup recipes

Indian spiced lentil soup VE

My favourite squash soup VE

Winter pistou soup (VE alternative)

Thai coconut chicken noodle soup

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Curried cauliflower cheese soup V

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup (Vegan)

November isn’t quite my favourite time of the year.

Weirdly enough, I’m not really into that whole ‘night time at 3 O’Clock with heavy risk of frozen rain’ situation.

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup (Vegan) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

But there definitely are some silver linings.

Like a big, hot, comforting cup of spiced lentil soup.

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup (Vegan) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

Vegan, seasonal, hearty and very cheap, it’s packed with vitamins and good stuff.

You can make boatloads at a time (perfect for packed lunch and those evenings when you just want to collapse on the sofa and go on a Nexflix marathon!) and it’s super easy too!

Absolutely souper all round!

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup (Vegan) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:28]

More winter warmer recipes

Spicy Xi’an Style Noodles (vegan)

Winter Pistou Soup (vegan, GF)

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Classic Beef Bourguignon

Sticky Toffee Porridge (vegan)

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup (Vegan)

My favourite squash soup (VG, GF, DF)

Very few things cheer me up about the days growing colder and ever shorter.

The perspective of wearing (his) cashmere sweaters is one. Getting to wear my beloved boots is another.

But the strongest of them all is finally having the possibility to eat soup for every meal without people looking at me like I’m crazy.

The best squash soup recipe (vegan) • Cake + WhiskyThe best squash soup recipe (vegan) • Cake + Whisky

Which I’m 100% up for because I love soup.

And more than any other soup, I LOVE squash soup.

The best squash soup recipe (vegan) • Cake + Whisky

It’s really healthy (5-a-day in a bowl? YES PLEASE!), very seasonal, warm and comforting, SUPER-EASY to make and reaaaaaally exciting when served with a lot of fun toppings (Bacon? Cheese? Croutons? All of the above? Your call!)!

A souper supper if I ever saw one!

The best squash soup recipe (vegan) • Cake + Whisky

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:38]

Some great squash soup toppings:

  • Pine nuts + spring onion + nigella seeds – easy, nutty, beautiful!
  • Bacon + fried sage leaves – a classic is a classic for a reason!
  • Blue cheese + walnut pieces – another classic, another winner!
  • Pretty much any cheese actually – goat’s cheese, parmesan crisp, the one you got from the farmer’s market…
  • Soy-roasted nuts – a great vegan alternative!
  • Hazelnut dukkah – crush toasted hazelnuts with cumin and salt and get sprinkling!
  • Fried chorizo + onion – like sunshine in a bowl!
  • Curry powder + ginger paste + a spoonful of coconut cream – for an Asian spicy twist!
  • Garlic butter mushrooms – autumn-ception!

And about a billion other things! Please report all gourd-geous discoveries in the comments!

More seasonal recipes

Banana bread porridge (VG, GF)

Garlic butter mushroom bun (V)

Spicy pork dumplings

Polenta plum cobbler (V)

This post was originally published in Oct. 2014 but has been updated with better pictures and topping suggestions in September 2017.

My favourite squash soup (VG, GF, DF)

Winter Pistou Soup

Soooo, I might have gone a teeny tiny (huge) bit overboard with sales shopping in January.

Which has made me the proud owner of two sets of guest towels (how very grown up!), a beautiful breakfast tray, some very un-seasonal tshirts and a dozen candles amongst other things. And a little bit broke in the process.

I swear I’m gonna try and be better this month (spring collections look bloomin’ lovely though!), so a little bit of budget cooking is in order.

No, don’t do that face. Budget cooking doesn’t have to be bland and boring.

Proof if there ever needed one with Voucherbox’s amazing e-book, which just launched today and is filled to the brim with tasty, colourful recipes created by some of my fave food bloggers (and yours truly #blowingmyownhorn).

Winter Pistou Soup | Cake + Whisky Winter Pistou Soup | Cake + Whisky

As far as I’m concerned, vegetable-laden soups are the best way to cook healthy yet comforting meals on a budget. And my absolute favourite one is pistou soup, a thick and hearty (almost like a stew) South of France classic.

I love this soup’s delicate, almost sweet taste. But I love it even more with a good drizzle of the fresh, pungent basil & garlic oil on top. #GarlicIsMyFave #SoFrenchItHurts

Winter Pistou Soup | Cake + Whisky Winter Pistou Soup | Cake + Whisky

The end-of-Summer version of it was my birthday meal of choice and a very convenient way to tackle the glut of courgettes, green beans and tomatoes my parents’ garden would always provide in August.

Winter Pistou Soup | Cake + Whisky

The pistou recipe shared below is a cold-month variation on this childhood favourite and it’s just as good as the original.

Super easy, warming, vitamin-packed, low GI and extremely good value for money, it’s great for the cold winter nights.

Winter Pistou Soup | Cake + Whisky

Winter Pistou Soup (vegan or not, GF)

Serves 4 – cost per person £1.7**

Ingredients:
For the soup:
  • 1 big brown or yellow onion (about 170g), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 big garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery (about 100g), roughly chopped
  • 2 big carrots (about 170g), peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 small winter squash (about 170g), guts removed & diced
  • ½ can chopped tomato
  • 1 can cannellini beans, well rinsed
  • 2 medium-sized potato (about 150g), peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 handfuls leavy greens (about 60g – I used curly kale but spinach, spring greens, cavolo nero… would work equally well), roughly torn
  • 100g fresh green beans, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • Tap water
  • Not compulsory: 1 small slice pork belly (about 150g), diced
For the basil & garlic oil:
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic (if you find the taste of raw garlic too pungent, blanch it for a minute or so in boiling water and drain well before proceeding)
  • 200ml olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
Method:
  1. Wash, peel and chop all the vegetables. Remove the top layer of fat from the pork belly slice and dice the meat.
  2. In a big saucepan, heat up 1 tbsp olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic and celery, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes or until translucent.
  3. Throw the carrot (and pork belly dices if using) into the saucepan and cook until the pork is well caramelized on all sides (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add in the canned tomato and winter squash and water to cover, then bring to a small simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Add in the cannellini beans and potato chunks, top with more water if necessary, then put the lid back on and cook for another 10 minutes before adding the torn greens and green beans, and more water if necessary, then put the lid back on and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning accordingly.
  6. Make the basil & garlic oil: Blend together all the ingredients using a food processor or a hand blender, then pour into a small bowl, ready to serve.
  7. Serve the hot soup with the oil on the side for guests to spoon to their heart’s content onto the soup.

Leftover soup will keep for a few days in the fridge. And believe it or nor, is even better the next day! Leftover oil should be used quickly. It works really well with all sorts of things. Steamed vegetables, in tomato sauces, with pasta or baked fish (…) so get creative!

*This post was created in collaboration with Voucherbox but all words, images and garlic spirit animal my own.

**based on average supermarket own-brand prices

Winter Pistou Soup

Easy Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

About two offices ago (what do you mean that’s not an accurate way to measure time?), I got introduced to Itsu and its dangerously addictive coconut chicken noodle soup.

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

Needless to say, it became my lunch of choice for those days when I was too lazy/late/disorganised to pack lunch (or I just really, really wanted something warm, spicy, comforting and full of rice noodles for lunch).

Time passed, offices moved and suddently, there was no Itsu nearby for me to get my coconut chicken noodle soup fix.

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

Luckily, it turns out it’s really easy and quick to make, taking only about 15 minutes from start to finish.

It’s barely any work at all, and yet it delivers a punch of warming, complex flavours. Rich, spicy, tangy, funky all at once. Plus it’s a one pot sort of dish. Less washing up = always a winner in my book.

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

I know it sounds too good to be true, but you definitely want to give it a try, because it’s all pho real!

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 1)
Ingredients:
  • 100g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 spring onions, white cut into bite-sized pieces and green thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • small garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
  • tiny piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 3 tbsp canned chopped tomato
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 200ml chicken broth or water
  • fish sauce to taste
  • 50g rice noodles, prepared according to packaging instructions
  • lime wedge to serve
  • salt, pepper
Method:

1. In a saucepan or wok, heat up the sesame oil until it just starts smoking. Add in the red curry paste, grated garlic and ginger and curry powder and cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes.

2. Add in the chicken and spring onion white pieces and cook for a few minutes.

3. Pour in the coconut milk, chopped tomato and chicken broth, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with fish sauce, salt and/or pepper accordingly.

4. Place the prepared rice noodles in a bowl. Top with the coconut chicken broth. Garnish with spring onion greens and a lime wedge and serve immediately.

Easy Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Harissa Carrot Soup

This past few weeks, my diet has been anything but blogger-like.

Every year in January, it’s the same thing.

My fridge and cupboards are sorta empty (because Christmas cookies and playing host), my freezer is packed full (because Christmas leftovers) and my stomach is right at the border of indigestion from all the overindulging.

Harissa Carrot Soup recipe | Cake + WhiskyHarissa Carrot Soup recipe | Cake + Whisky

The result of this wonderful combination? A couple of weeks where I’m basically surviving on salad, soup and re-heated leftovers.

No cake, no pasta, (almost) no dining out. Take that, glamorous food blogger image!

Harissa Carrot Soup recipe | Cake + Whisky

That said, I don’t really carrot what you think because:

  1. Vegetables are my thing (and hopefully, they help me keeping colds and other lovely diseases at bay).
  2. I’m the laziest cook on Earth so a freezer packed full of delicious leftovers are my idea of paradise.
  3. I just made the biggest, yummiest batch of harissa carrot soup. My entire flat smells SO NICE and I have fussy-stomach-appropriate food ready for days. {insert thumb’s up emoji here}

Harissa Carrot Soup recipe | Cake + Whisky

Seriously though, guys, Harissa carrot soup is a revelation. Sweet, warming and comforting, but with a serious kick.

Just enough to keep gobbling up your 5-a-day interesting without blowing your head off, it will keep you rooting for soup ’til winter’s over (and maybe even after, because, as it turns out, it’s also delicious cold!)

Harissa Carrot Soup recipe | Cake + Whisky

Harissa Carrot Soup (serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)

Ingredients:

  • 3 big carrots
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt, pepper

1. Peel and chop the carrots and onion.

2. Heat up the olive oil into a bit saucepan. Add in your vegetables and fry for a few minutes.

3. When they turn slightly golden, add the harissa paste, a good pinch of salt and the water. Pop a lid on top of the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until the vegetables are very soft (about 35-40 min).

4. Add the smoked paprika, ground cumin and pepper to taste, then blend with a hand blender (adding a bit more cold water if necessary). Taste and correct the seasoning accordingly.

5. Serve hot or cold with a spoonful of cream or yoghurt (choose a vegan alternative if you so wish – coconut yoghurt would work especially well) and a pinch of smoked paprika / chilli flakes on top.

Harissa Carrot Soup

Soup Kitchen, Manchester

The first thing people asked me about after my weekend getaway in Manchester was how the food was.

To which I answered that some of it (Wetherspoon’s chips) was truly aweful and some was absolutely brilliant.

And the Soup Kitchen is definitely on the truly great side of things!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Serving up freshly prepared, delicious British café food (think soup, sanwiches, jacket potatoes…), it’s a neighbourhood gem and Mancurian favourite come lunchtime!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Come early and set camp on one of the long wooden communal tables with some coffee while the kitchen get the last of the lunch prep ready.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Within minutes, the room fills up with regulars coming in for a taste of the Soup Kitchen’s delicious food (and Pinterest-worthy decor).

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Old crockery, a collection of cookbooks, honey-coloured wood everywhere and enough knick-knacks to keep your eyes busy for days, Soup Kitchen feels just like home (a much better organised and instagramable home, that is!)

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Plus, no need to slave away in the kitchen to get something nice and healthy on the table, Soup Kitchen’s lovely staff got it covered!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

There are fresh, vibrant salads.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Perfectly cooked, steaming hot jacket potatoes.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Juicy & spicy jerk chicken waiting to be piled high onto plates.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

And a few other Jamaican-inspired delicacies in case you’re feeling a bit peckish!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

But the main event? The Soup, obviously!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Thick, creamy, flavourful concoctions generously ladled into enamel bowls and the Soup Kitchen’s best seller.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Get a bit of everything onto a tray, hurry back to your table and get tucked in without any delay!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Velvety Tomato & paprika soup.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

An absolute dream on a cold day!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Jerk chicken ‘dumpling’ with coleslaw.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Crunchy, spicy, wholesome and comforting all at once!

Soup Kitchen 33

And a gigantic Saltcod & veggie fritter.

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Surely one of the best dippers that was ever invented!

Soup Kitchen, Manchester | Cake + Whisky

Now, if only the Soup Kitchen could set store near my office so I could keep going back for delicious goodness in a bowl (and a side of fluffy bread roll smothered in salted butter)…

In the meantime, I’ll definitely go back next time I go up North (and so should you!)

Find them here

Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF 

Soup Kitchen, Manchester