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Creamy cauliflower soup – DHSPC #5

by Simone (junglefrog) on January 3, 2012 · 54 comments

in Challenges, Donna Hay Challenge, Food and Drink, Recipes, Soups


I’ve been having this one on my desk for a while now. I know Donna Hay is known for her light and airy photographs, but really, if you go through the magazines, you will notice that there are quite a few with beautiful dark and moody images. Maybe because it is winter, but I’m quite drawn to those.


Cauliflower soup

I think in general my style of photography is fairly light too, but lately I’ve been showing more of my dark side.. spacer So this gorgeous soup is just the thing I need to get over all those greasy oliebollen and champagne from New Years and to move on to a better and healthier me! Above you see my attempt and the one below is the one you need to try and create!


Photo; Ben Dearnley

And of course, you guessed it, it is also the new challenge for the Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge…. While a deceptively simple image, I think it is going to be tricky to recreate the same look and feel of the photo here. The original is shot by Ben Dearnley and styling is done by Justine Poole. The recipe comes from DHM #51. I know I struggled in finding the right balance of light, especially since there was hardly any light today to begin with. In the original there is light coming from the right, but it is brighter then what I got today. I might try and give it another go as the soup itself is truly delicious (love those crunchy Parmesan bits on top too!)

In terms of submitting your entries into the challenge, I am now using Linky Tool. You can click the “submit yours” below and enter the details of your post once it’s up. I have to approve it before it appears (to avoid spammers going in and having a ball) so it will not show up immediately. Once it is up, people can also like your image and that gives an indication of which photo is preferred. An indication, nothing more then that.. spacer Ultimately it is about the learning experience more then anything else.


The recipe is below:

Creamy Cauliflower soup

spacer Print recipe
Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Allergy: Milk
Meal type: Soup
Misc: Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region: Worldwide
From magazine: Donna Hay Magazine


  • 25g butter
  • 1 brown onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1,5 head cauliflower (or 1,5 kg, chopped)
  • 500g potatoes (starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped)
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 500ml milk
  • 125 ml single cream
  • sea salt
  • cracked white pepper
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme

Parmesan cauliflower crumbs

  • 100g cauliflower (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 20g parmesan (finely grated)


Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk, increase heat to medium and cook for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower and potato is tender. Remove from the heat and, using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Stir through the cream, salt and pepper.
While the soup is cooking, make the parmesan cauliflower crumbs. Place the cauliflower, oil and parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, oil and parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, stirring for 2 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Top soup with cauliflower crumbs to serve.
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Rules of the challenge are:

If you would like to participate in the challenge the rules are pretty simple and please follow them as per below:

  • Once a month (on the 3rd of the month) I will give you a recipe plus the accompanying photo out of the Donna Hay magazine. I will try to make it seasonal but can’t promise anything.spacer
  • You have that same month to produce your post. You can post it any day you like just as long as you finish it before the end of that month at the latest.
  • You have to  produce that recipe, alterations to the recipe are allowed to make sure any dietary restrictions are met. But only minor changes!
  • You have to cook and STYLE the recipe trying to replicate the photo as best as you can. If you think you can do a better job then the original photo, by all means feel free to make your own changes to the styling.
  • Shoot the dish and then write a blog post about it. It would be great to add notes on how you took the photo and how you styled the dish,  so that other people can learn too.
  • Link back to this months blog post about the challenge and link back to the Donna Hay Challenge page here
  • Leave a message on the post that is up here for that month, saying that you completed the challenge and link to the post on your site so others can find it too.
  • If you want to use the original photo in your blog post as well as the recipe be sure to link back to the Donna Hay website plus the photographers website. They will both always be mentioned in the monthly challenge posts.

Each month a winner will be picked who will be featured in the (soon to come) Hall of Fame page. If you like you can add a badge to your site saying that you are taking part in this competition. The badge is featured above and should link back to this page.

Above all this challenge is about having fun styling and photographing a dish by taking Donna Hay as our great example. You can join all months or whenever you feel like joining in. Using an example of the great photographers that Donna works with, I always find that it is a good learning experience to see how did they light the scene, where does the light come from and how did they manage to make it look so beautiful. Try and analyze all of that and then come up with your own version.

While taking food photos is all about finding your own style and certainly not copying anyone else, it does help to analyze how your hero’s do their job. It’s about learning to light and style a scene properly. In no way am I trying to suggest you copy another person style. Find your own unique style! This challenge is just a tool to help you along the way..



Related posts:

Cooking class lesson 2: crustacaens and shellfish
Sticky marmalade ham with cranberry relish
Lychee lassi and new look
Watermelon madness
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    Tagged as: cauliflower, dhspc, dhspc challenge, donna hay challenge, fresh, healthy, healthy eating, parmesan, Photography, recipe, vegetable, vegetarian, white

    { 51 comments… read them below or add one }

    spacer Astrid January 3, 2012 at 17:18

    Holy Guacamole! Now this one is tough! The soup sounds delicious tho and one of the favorite soups of yours truly! I see props shopping in my near future… I need a black bowl… LOL


    spacer Simone January 3, 2012 at 18:22

    O haha. Yeah it’s a tricky one. I’m also not happy with my attempt but no more time to do it again as I promised the post would be up today. If there’s anything left of the soup I will try again tomorrow maybe!


    spacer Alisonhouse January 3, 2012 at 17:47

    Lovely photos. This creamy soup seems delicious. I love your recipes in this blog. Happy New Year. Cheers


    spacer Simone January 3, 2012 at 18:23

    Thanks so much Alison and happy new year to you too!


    spacer Jenn January 3, 2012 at 17:48

    Gorgeous, can’t wait to make this! I agree with Astrid it def. will be tough, I think it may be time for more prop shopping for dark things spacer


    spacer Ann@Anncoo Journal January 3, 2012 at 18:04

    Happy 2012! Love these gorgeous photos. Still learning how to capture good shot from my new camera spacer


    spacer Simone January 3, 2012 at 18:24

    I but I think your photos already look pretty good Ann! Maybe time to join in the fun!


    spacer Laura January 3, 2012 at 18:23

    Going to the market today! Lovely recipe and nice change of style, I hope I can pull it off…


    spacer Simone (junglefrog) January 9, 2012 at 17:42

    Ofcourse you can! spacer


    spacer Rosa January 3, 2012 at 18:57

    A wonderful soup! I can’t wait to see the results…

    Happy New Year!




    spacer Simone (junglefrog) January 9, 2012 at 17:42

    Thanks Rosa and Happy New year to you too!


    spacer Móna Wise January 4, 2012 at 00:02

    I love cauliflower soup! We made a batch for a huge party the night before our wedding a gazillion years ago. I have used that recipe so many times and love it and it has no milk or cream :0)
    Happy New Year Simone. I am sure your photo challenge will be fab – like all of them xx


    spacer Simone (junglefrog) January 9, 2012 at 17:43

    No milk and cream sounds like a good option too Mona (a better one even considering my leaner attempts..lol)


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