Baked Cauliflower and Juniper Soup

. May, 2015
Baked Cauliflower and Juniper Soup

The lesser-practised technique of roasting cauliflower whole brings out a distinctly different flavour, one that is nutty and more caramel-like. It is enhanced in this recipe by brown butter and fragrant juniper. Adding the cream is optional. Enjoy with some rye bread or buttered crispbread on a cold day.


4 dried juniper berries
1 tablespoon flaked salt
600 grams (1 Lb 5 Oz) whole cauliflower
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
around 600 Ml (20½ Fl Oz) chicken stock
50 grams (1¾ Oz) brown butter 
100 grams (3½ Oz) crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
Pinch of white pepper
Rye bread or seedy crispbreads, to serve



Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Using a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries with the salt.

Remove most of the leaves from the cauliflower, keeping a few around the base. Rub the juniper berry mixture and the oil over the cauliflower. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Check that it’s cooked through by piercing the thicker stems with a sharp knife; they should be tender. If it’s not quite ready, reduce the temperature to 170°C (340°F) and cook for a little longer.

Remove from the oven and break apart the florets, reserving the thinner leaves for a garnish.

Blend the cauliflower, adding the stock gradually. It should have a fairly thick consistency, so you may not need all the stock. 

Add the brown butter, crème fraîche or sour cream (if using) and a pinch of white pepper, and blend again. Check the seasoning before serving with bread and garnished with the reserved leaves.

This is an edited extract from The New Nordic by Simon Bajada, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $45 and available in stores nationwide.