How to make three-cheese sourdough bread and a perfect winter-warmer soup to go with it

Few things in life are as mouthwatering as bread served from the oven – and we've teamed this recipe up with a glorious soup that's perfect for this time of year.

‘Hugely versatile and delicious, cauliflower can be the star of the show or simply a side act,’ says our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the soup or the sourdough is the star of the show in this pair of recipes!

How to make Melanie Johnson’s cauliflower soup with three-cheese tear-and-share sourdough bread

Ingredients (serves four)

For the soup

  • 50g butter (plus more for frying)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 500ml milk
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 30ml double cream
  • 50g chopped, roasted hazelnuts
  • 4 spring onions, green part only, chopped

For the sourdough

  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread – our favourite sourdough bread recipe is here, though you can of course use one bought from a bakery
  • 100g grated Cheddar
  • 100g grated Gruyère
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 sourdough loaf
  • 50ml olive oil

Method

For the soup

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the chopped onion and sweat it until soft and translucent.

Slice four, flat mini steaks from the cauliflower and set them aside. Roughly chop the remainder and gently fry with the softened onions before adding the milk.

Bring to a near boil and then pour in the stock. Continue cooking until the soup mixture is heated throughout, by which time, the cauliflower should be tender.

Remove from the heat and purée using either a blender or a stick blender before passing the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Set aside until ready to serve.

For the bread

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4.

In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, crushed garlic and rosemary and mix well.

Cut a grid into the top of the loaf of bread, taking care not to slice all the way through, so it remains in one piece.

Spoon the cheese mixture into the openings, then drizzle the cheesy loaf with olive oil and wrap it loosely in foil. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted through.

Finally, fry the little cauliflower steaks in butter until lightly browned, remove and sprinkle with seasoning.

To serve

Heat the soup until piping hot and spoon into bowls, stirring in the cream to create a marbled effect. Top each bowl with a cauliflower steak, scattering them with the roasted hazelnuts and chopped spring onions.

Finally, unwrap the warm, cheesy sourdough and enjoy.

Cauliflower soup