After the onslaught of snow last week – and the subsequent ass-whooping I received from the snow shovel – I figured that would surely be the end of it, at least for a while. Being from Vancouver, where snow that sticks to the ground for more than a day is a rarity that garners in-depth headline news coverage, I simply wasn’t able to fathom the possibility of a protracted spell of truly Wintery conditions.
But as it happens, the cold has continued unabated! It dipped to -15C over the weekend, and while the propane furnace did a bang-up job of keeping the RV toasty warm, we had an issue with a pipe – namely the HOT WATER pipe running to the kitchen and bathroom sinks – which froze at some point between Friday night and Saturday morning. Somehow the hot water pipe in the shower didn’t freeze, which is fortunate as that would have precipitated a major melt down on my part. While I’m willing to rough it to an extent, the complete absence of hot water is way too Little House On The Prairie for my liking.
It warmed up slightly today – just enough I suppose, as the pipe miraculously unfroze itself this afternoon. Lethally long and pointy icicles have also been crashing haphazardly from the roof of the RV – a not-so-good side effect of the fractionally warmer temperature. With hot water flowing freely for the time being (I’m assuming the pipe will refreeze when presented with the opportunity) I was able to wash the dishes is warm water once more – quite the luxury after forcing my rubber-gloved hands into icy cold water the last few days.
To distract myself from the pipe crisis I threw together this spicy roasted cauliflower soup on the weekend. After an excellent authentic Indian meal at Poppadom’s
in Kelowna a few days earlier, I was inspired to kick things up a notch flavour-wise in the kitchen(ette). Roasted cauliflower provides the perfect starting point for an Indian-inspired soup, and with 8 different spices (in addition to fresh garlic and ginger) I really gave my spice collection a run for its money! Eight might sounds like a lot of spices, but none of them are particularly difficult to find, so if you don’t have them in your pantry already then this is your opportunity
T0 layer in even more flavour, I finished the soup with a cumin, fennel and red pepper flake sizzling oil, or baghar. The soup is delicious on its own – and vegan to boot – but if you like a lot of heat then definitely give the baghar a go. Serve with a side of warm naan bread or basmati rice.
Recipe: Indian-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower Soup | With Sizzling Oil (Baghar)
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 large red onion (or 1 small one), diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Prepare roasted cauliflower: Preheat oven to 400F. Place cauliflower in a single layer in a rectangular pan and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 25 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside until needed.
Finish soup: In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic and ginger and saute just until garlic begins to brown. Add spices and stir until they coat other ingredients. Add cauliflower, vegetable stock and water to the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Lower heat and let simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutues (or longer if time allows – as with all soups the longer they simmer the better the flavour!). Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth (you can also transfer the soup to a conventional blender to puree). Taste and correct with salt if necessary.
Prepare baghar: Just before you are ready to serve soup, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and cumin seeds and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Lower heat and add red pepper flakes, stirring just until incorporated with other ingredients. Remove from heat and transfer to a small ceramic dish (this will ensure spices don’t burn).
Serve soup, topping each portion with a few drops of baghar. Eat!