The end of summer is upon us. The sky's blue is a little thinner, the treetops are burnished with rust as exhausted green slides back into the earth, berries peek from bush and tree with red and purple juiciness, and a hedgehog loudly helped itself to the neighbour-cat's dish late last night, building up stores for the winter from whatever is at hand. But this biggest tip-off for me is that the air is warm but the breeze is cool. The sun can only warm what it can touch. Evenings come earlier, and the light above the kitchen table is on at dinner.
This, and what is so inevitably coming, is my favourite time of year. I love cafés in the weakening sunshine, the sweaters and leather boots, the foliage swan song, and the soups. This cauliflower and bacon soup came about because of some lingering items in the fridge, but will return because we all enjoyed it so much that I'll plan for it the next time cauliflower appears in our weekly veggie box and nighttime temperatures are in the single (celcius) digits.
700 ml chicken stock (approximate; just cover the veg)
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped rather fine
2 white onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 stips of bacon
pinch dried sage and savoury
peppercorns and sea salt
Chop the bacon into bits and put it in a pot. Let that crisp up (you want deep brown but not burned) while you prep the other vegetables.
Remove the bacon but leave the fat. Added butterfat is optional. Sauté the onion and garlic until sweaty and translucent but before it colours. I added the cauliflower in batches as I chopped it, because it kept escaping from my too-small cutting board, before adding the stock, pepper and salt. Let it simmer until the cauliflower is tender before puréeing. Add the herbs and bacon, and give one more whir with the blender to integrate it all.
This is thick and flavourful, satisfying, healthy and major-diet legal. It reheats beautifully for lunches, too.