A silky smooth, mildly cheesy soup, which isn't overpowered by the cauliflower. It makes an elegant dinner-party soup served with crisp Melba toast.

1 large cauliflower
1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups vegetable stock or water
175g/6oz farfalle
150ml/'/4 pint/2/3 cup single cream or milk
freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
60mi/4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper

For the Melba toast
3-4 slices day-old white bread
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
1.5 ml/l/4 tsp paprika
Serves 6
Cut the leaves and central stalk away from the cauliflower and discard. Divide the cauliflower into similar-size florets.
Bring the stock to the boil and add the cauliflower. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until very soft. Remove the cauliflower slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor.
Add the pasta to the stock and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Drain, reserve the pasta, and pour the liquid over the cauliflower. Add the cream or milk, nutmeg and cayenne to the cauliflower and blend until smooth.
Press the soup through a sieve then stir in the cooked pasta. Reheat the soup and stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste.
Meanwhile make the Melba toast. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Toast the bread lightly on both sides. Quickly cut off the crusts and split each slice in half horizontally. Scrape off any doughy bits and sprinkle with Parmesan and paprika. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until uniformly golden. Serve with the soup.