Food & drink

James St recipes: Celebrate autumn's harvest with cheesy cauliflower soup and pear and chocolate cake

Niall McKenna

Cheesy cauliflower soup

THIS week's recipes celebrate all of the lovely autumnal harvests coming into the shops.

It is a great time of the year for seasonal produce, therefore, we wanted to honour this within these dishes.

The first is a quick and easy lunchtime soup that is extremely comforting on those wet and dull days. It is a very easy recipe to master and another great way to use up your left-over cauliflower.

The second is a tasty pear and chocolate cake. This is a rich and delicious dessert and with the arrangement of the pears on top, it is sure to impress your guests this autumn.

This quick and simple recipe is perfect to get the kids involved in baking, making it great for all the family to enjoy

For more information, or to book an experience at the Waterman Cookery School, visit


Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

(Serves 4 small bowls)

1 onion, chopped

1 pinch of smoked paprika

1 small cauliflower, remove florets

800ml of vegetable stock

160g of low fat cheddar cheese


Start by chopping up the onion. Add a dash of oil to saucepan and heat on the hob.

Next add the onion and smoked paprika to the saucepan and cook off for 5 minutes. Cook until soft and translucent, without letting it go too brown.

Add in the cauliflower and vegetable stock and bring to the boil, reduce and leave on a simmer until tender.

Add in the cheese and using a stick blender, blitz gently depending on if you like smooth, or chunky soup.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with a pinch of smoked paprika, serve.


Pear and chocolate cake

Pear and Chocolate Cake

(Serves 8)

50g of granulated sugar

2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into lengths

150g of dark chocolate

90g of unsalted butter, cubed

90g of caster sugar

90g of ground almonds

3 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder for dusting

Icing sugar for dusting


Start by combining the sugar with 500ml of water and place on the hob on a medium heat. Add in the pears and poach for 15 minutes, drain and leave to side.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of water and melt, add in the butter and once all is melted, remove from heat. Stir well and leave to cool, but not set, add in the caster sugar and the ground almonds and mix well.

Grease a cake tin and dust with the cocoa powder.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and mix in the cake mix until all is folded through.

Place the mixture in a cake tin and arrange the pear pieces from the centre out.

Bake for 40 minutes, check by placing a skewer in the middle and when clean, the cake is baked through.

Leave to cool, then remove from tin and dust with icing sugar and serve.

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