One of my favourite collaborators from over the years is nutritionist and dietician Heidi Sze, whose blog Apples Under My Bed is a treasure-trove of healthy, simple-to-cook recipes. Her specialty is pre- and post-natal nutrition, though rest assured her dishes can be enjoyed by those of us without babies.
As part of a monthly series for ABC Life, Heidi made this simple recipe for Potato, Cauliflower and Cannellini Bean Soup for me in her Mornington Peninsula kitchen, and it's delicious.
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large leek, finely sliced
- Sea salt
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 450g (about 2 large) Dutch cream potatoes (or other waxy variety), cut into 2cm cubes
- 200g (about 1/4 of a medium-sized head) cauliflower, cut into small florets.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup good quality chicken or vegetable stock
- 800g cannellini beans (from 2 x 400g tins), drained but not rinsed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2/3 cup frozen peas (optional)
- Fresh parsley, to serve
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to serve
- Finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
- Warm up the oil on a low in a sturdy pot. Toss in the leek and a bit of sea salt, and cook slowly for around 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion's soft and starting to brown.
- Increase the heat to medium, chuck in the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two until it to brown. Stir the spuds into the onion mix, then add the water, broth and cannellini beans. Bring the broth to a boil, then let the whole thing simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften.
- Add the cauliflower, bring the heat back up to boil, then lower it again to let it simmer for 5-10 minutes until both the cauliflower and potatoes are soft. If you like, let the soup cool and then blend half or all of it with some pecorino or parmesan cheese. If you blend half, you can mix the blended soup back into the pot with the rest of the soup. Avoid third-degree burns from spraying yourself with molten chowder by letting the thing cool a bit first.
- In the last minute of cooking, add the peas. Finish off with a voluminous squeeze of lemon juice . Sprinkle with fresh parsley, grated cheese, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Be sure to check out (or buy) Heidi's great book, Nurturing Your New Life!