Roasted, Marinated Cauliflower Soup and Awesome Customer Service

Soundtrack: ‘Trip’ Jhene Aiko

I don’t want to read your rambling, I just want the recipe: Roasted Marinated Cauliflower Soup

Star Rating: Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

There’s a food place on the lobby level of my work building called SÜP. I’ve long assumed that the umlaut meant the U had a long sound and it was pronounced ‘soup’, while others argued for the far cooler pronunciation ‘s’up’. Considering they sell soup, I naturally assumed I was right, but it’s been a point of curiosity for our team for a while now.

UPDATE: Bon Appetit have been commenting on my Instagram post and it turns out the Ü was meant to simply look like a smile 🙂

SÜP also makes the most incredible roasted cauliflower soup, which is somehow vegan, dairy-, gluten-, and nut-free. There are a few of us who have this soup for lunch numerous times per week, and there was almost a mutiny the one day they ran out. I’ve made a lot of cauliflower soup in my time, but nothing has ever tasted and rich and creamy as this one so I decided to see if I could track down the recipe.

Conveniently, the company, Bon Appétit, which runs many of the on-campus cafes has a handy feedback form. This is what I sent to them.

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A few days passed and I’d actually forgotten that I’d sent the feedback at all. That made it a pleasant surprise when this landed in my inbox (on Valentine’s Day!)

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So mystery kinda solved on the name, maybe?

More importantly, I wasn’t entirely sure we would get the recipe given how chefs can be notoriously protective of their secrets. Massive shout out to Sean for being a great dude!

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted, Marinated Cauliflower Soup
2 heads cauliflower cut into florets
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons oil

¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  2. Mix marinade ingredients and pour over cauliflower florets. Mix well and let sit for 20min.
  3. Roast marinated cauliflower at 425 for about 8min or until tender.
  4. Add oil to heavy bottomed pot. Stir in onion, celery, garlic. Cook until vegetables are translucent.
  5. Add cauliflower and water to ½ inch below cauliflower. Let simmer for about 45min.
  6. Blend and season with salt and pepper.

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Can we just stop to look at how beautiful this marinade drenched cauliflower looks? While I roast veggies a couple of times a week, I’ve never thought about marinating them, so this part of the recipe alone was a revelation! It’s also nice to use a marinade that doesn’t rely on oil.

I did tweak the recipe a little. I didn’t add as much salt to the marinade as recommended because I’m not a huge salt fan. I needed to roast the cauliflower much longer until it was tender – my oven definitely can’t hold its own against commercial ones. And finally, I didn’t use as much oil as suggested for sautéing the other vegetables. Half that amount worked fine.

What was the verdict of the homemade version? Probably due to the above changes it wasn’t quite as good as the one made at SÜP. It wasn’t as creamy which would be due to a combination of adding less fat and my stick blender being less powerful than an actual blender. However, it was still delicious and the best cauliflower soup I’ve ever made. I’m seeing how well it freezes, as back-up soup is handy to have to hand. Overall my version of this recipe gets four stars – but the original one from SÜP gets a hands-down five, which is why I will continue to buy it for lunch a couple of times each week.


Italian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves and Read the Recipe, Read the Recipe, Read the Recipe

Soundtrack: Something on NPR I think?

I don’t want to read your ramblings, just take me to the recipe: Italian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Star Rating: Three Mediocre Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Remember how teachers would advise you to read exam question three times before answering? I need to carry that over to these recipes.

There are many reasons this is a solid approach –  if you don’t read thoroughly enough you can miss ingredients, or get caught off-guard by those annoying recipes where they don’t list steps in a logical order, or end up with a phantom ingredient which appears in the method but not in the initial list.

In this case it wasn’t a messy method or missed ingredient that further investigation would have uncovered. It was a description of a texture.

It was the word ‘paste’.

Please see the following offending item:

Place bread scraps in bottom of large bowl and pour milk over. Let sit for a few minutes, then mash it gently with a spoon until something close to a paste forms. 

Paste is not an inspiring word. Paste is not something that makes you think “Mmmm. That sounds delicious and I can’t wait to eat it”. Paste makes you think of that weird kid in primary school who used to eat glue.

When you bring it into the context of meatballs (which is what was in the cabbage rolls, in case you’re wondering where this is going), things really start to go south.

Meatballs are great for many reasons – they are literal balls made of meat, they are really versatile, you can do almost limitless variations on this theme. They are also great because of the meaty mouthfeel (probably don’t say that phrase in polite company). There is a resistance and texture to meatballs that make them very satisfying to eat.

The above step robbed this recipe of their magical meaty mouthfeel.

The final product was fine. I won’t bore you with the details but the cabbage leaves were very easy to work with, and held the meatballs well. The cooking method was simple. But the outcome was just a bit unsatisfactory – there wasn’t enough textural interest to make this a great dish, and barely enough taste to make it a good one.

I’ve since been told I should have been making galumpkis instead. These use beef mince, include rice rather than a wet breadcrumb paste to bind them together, and sound 100% more interesting. At some point I’ll come back to this recipe and redeem myself, because the architecture of this recipe was sound, but my choice of recipe was flawed.



Old Faithfuls: Seattle Salmon Bowls

Soundtrack: Atlanta Monster, Ep.6

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want to make the recipe: Seattle Salmon Bowls

Star Rating: Five reliable fuck yeahs ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fucking ‘bowls’. For some reason us consumers have fallen prey to this transparent and uninspired form of food marketing that suggests that if we put any old recipe into a bowl it is magically transformed into something new and exciting.

You know what most bowls are? Salads.

And for those from the sweeter end of the spectrum, you know what makes absolutely no fucking sense? Smoothie bowls.

Why would you make a smoothie – arguably one of the lowest maintenance foods around – into a finicky high maintenance affair by requiring someone to eat it with a spoon? It’s madness.

Having said all of that, my friend Debby-Lee sent me this recipe last year and it’s so delicious that I can overlook the ‘bowl’ element. And, in this case, the bowl makes sense because when you mix it all together it forms a balanced, texturally interesting, and downright tasty meal. It’s hard to make this in single servings, which always makes me happy because it means I can eat it two days running #singlelife.

A note on modifications: As I may have mentioned a few times, I will find any and all opportunities to wedge more veggies into a meal, and this is no exception. I roast a head of broccoli cut into florets at 420F for 20 minutes while I’m getting everything else together. Depending on what’s in the fridge, I’ll sauté mushrooms in sesame oil, wilt some spinach, grate some zucchini – whatever’s around. I also use Lotus Food’s Forbidden Rice in place of brown rice, because it is dark and nutty without being too chewy or overpowering and doesn’t take forever to cook like some whole rices.

A word of warning: Be careful how much wasabi you use in the dressing. I LOVE wasabi, but the first time I made this I followed the recipe to the letter and it blew my head off. I still ate the whole meal, but there was an element of physical challenge involved.

Also, depending on preference you should be conservative with the sesame oil. I only add a few drops to the dressing and it’s enough for me. I would find the amount listed in the recipe to be overpowering.

It’s not a show-stopper if you don’t have furikake, but I highly recommend you grab some because that shit is the bomb. It’s made of seaweed, dried fish, sesame seeds, and some other seasonings, and adds a slightly sweet, earthy element to the dish. You may recognize it as the stuff they shake onto your poke bowl that you’ve never really known what it was.

Timing is semi-important to this dish. First, I turn on the oven for the broccoli and let it heat up, and then put the rice on. You have a good 20 minutes where there isn’t much to do as the rice steams and the broccoli roasts, so I use this time to prepare any other vegetables I’m adding to the bowl.

I prefer to wait to cook the salmon until everything else is almost or completely ready. Overcooked salmon is a travesty, but I don’t want it super raw either and getting it just right means you’ll want to dump it directly on top of the other ingredients and start eating. You may be better at time management than me, but after many iterations of this recipe the only way I consistently get it how I want is by leaving the salmon until last.

Do not get discouraged by what may look like a long list of ingredients or by all of the above tips. This is a really easy recipe and much more impressive taste-wise than the effort you’ll put into it. It’s also very good for you, and like totally on trend, so you should definitely try it #bowls

Prawn, Pea, Broccoli, and Lemon Orzo and Dialing It In

Soundtrack: ‘Wrong Creatures’ Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want to make the recipe: One Pot Lemon Orzo and Shrimp – Damn Delicious

Star Rating: Two mediocre stars 👎🏻👎🏻

When I cook something disappointing, it affects me on many levels. The first reason is a very straight forward equation – eating more delicious things > eating less delicious things. This is then combined with a faint feeling of remorse; what I could have done differently to avert such an outcome? What if I’d thought things through a little more? Surely I’ve been cooking for long enough to be able to foresee these kind of outcomes? And finally, I’m your typical over-achiever and I don’t like it when things I do don’t turn out how I want them to.

Which brings us to this week’s recipe. Full disclosure, I was totally dialing this one in. It was a grey and rainy day in Seattle and I didn’t feel like going out of my way to the supermarket on my way home from work, so I arrived at this recipe by Googling the ingredients I knew I had in the house.

I was also coming off a 24 hour fast, which is something new I’m trying out. You start after lunch on one day, and break the fast at lunch the following day, attempting to keep 24 hours between those two meals. As I’d not had dinner the previous evening, you’d think I would have been highly motivated to ensure that what I was cooking this night was guaranteed tasty, but my energy levels were low and with this came a certain degree of apathy.

With the benefit of hindsight, I should have predicted that this recipe would be so-so. Standing alone each ingredient is fine, but what’s missing from the mix is something which would give this meal what my friend Ping would describe as *P💥💥M*. I should ask Ping for her specific definition of*P💥💥M*, but in my experience this is a you-know-it-when-you-taste-it element that elevates good food to great. Sadly, this meal was not even*P💥💥M* adjacent.

Having said that, there were some positive elements to this dish. It mostly contains items I always have in my kitchen – frozen peas, frozen green prawns, pasta, dried herbs, chicken broth, garlic. I added broccoli and spinach because I am a vegetable freak and there is always room for more veggies. It also took about 20 minutes from start to finish, and could be cooked in one pot, so if you can tweak it to have some actual taste, this could be a good mid-week standard.

(Note: I omitted the parmesan cheese because of my fussy lactose intolerant gut, but I doubt this would have saved it. Also cheese and prawns? Ew)

In the end, this meal just didn’t taste like much. The canned tomatoes needed to be cooked down before being added, and without doing so the pasta was watery and anemic. I should have added more herbs and seasonings – some paprika or sambal or harissa would have given it a bit more life. To be honest, adding some chorizo with the onion and garlic would have done a lot to steer this back towards Flavourtown – or even swapping out the prawns for chorizo entirely.

This was nutritious and edible and good for you and entirely unsatisfying, which is why it only gets two stars. I eat reasonably healthily, but refuse to eat healthy food if it’s tasteless, and would never recommend anyone else do it either. Tasteless food makes me sad and it never satiates me. I end up eating more when it’s bland in a flawed attempt to hunt down what I’m actually after – taste.

You could make this if you wanted to, but I suggest you try any other recipe I’ve posted on here first*.

*Recommendation bound by date of post. Who knows what horror lurk in our future?

Chickpea Pancakes and Dreams Come True

Soundtrack: Spotify’s #ThrowbackThursday Playlist

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want to make the recipe: Jumbo Chickpea Pancake from Oh She Glows


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

Guys. GUYS. You have to make this as soon as you can – I’ve even created a new category for my blog called ‘Make this immediately’ because of how passionately I feel about it. I vaguely followed this recipe from Oh She Glows but honestly, the only real rule you have to stick to is using equal parts chickpea flour to water. For one serving I used ½ C of each and it was a good size for breakfast.

But let’s take a step back and to see how we arrived here. While there are very few foods that I don’t like, I am surprisingly picky about breakfast. I’m vehemently opposed to sweet breakfasts – initially they make me feel sick, then about an hour later I’m hungry again. Cereal makes absolutely no sense – why would you put something crunchy into something wet? Jam should only be served with scones. Pancakes are dessert. But I digress…

Most mornings I have two pieces of toast (Ezekiel bread because it’s got loads of grains in it, and is about the only bread I can find in the US that’s not full of sugar). One piece has a soft-boiled egg with hot sauce, the other has ¼ of an avocado and some salt and pepper. It’s tasty, has enough bulk to keep me full until lunch (most of the time), and is healthy. But who wants to eat the same thing for breakfast every morning? I’ve been on the look out for savoury alternatives for a while now, and have tried out breakfast rice bowls, zucchini slice, and asparagus and goats cheese frittata. They were all delicious, but they need to be made in bulk and require a bit of time and forward planning.

The beauty of this recipe is that there is almost negligible preparation time, you can make it in a single serving, and use whichever vegetables you have to hand. I used thinly sliced onions which I sautéed in the same pan I then used to cook the pancake, eliminating any extra clean up (WIN!). I also had some coriander and basil hanging about, so these were thrown in too.

Basically, dump ½ C of chickpea flour into a bowl, ¼ t of garlic powder, a shake of chilli powder, ¼ t of baking powder (for lift!), some salt and pepper, and add ½ C of water, then whisk until there are no lumps. Add your choice of vegetables and mix until evenly combined.

Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with oil. When warm, pour the batter into the middle and spread out evenly. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes until it’s semi-set in the middle and you can flip without it folding or breaking. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the middle is cooked through. Serve topped with avocado, hummus, tomatoes, hot sauce, an egg, cheese, or whatever you fancy.

I will be making this again for breakfast tomorrow, and am a little sad I’m away this weekend because I’ll have to wait until Monday to have it again. It’s that good.

NOTE: It’s also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, high protein AND delicious. This is the dream, people.