Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5

cauliflower soup 1

Snuggle up on the couch, cover the feet with your favorite pair of socks and hold the bowl of soup as it warms you up. Nothing is more comforting than a creamy soup on a winter night.

It might be raining or snowing in some parts of the world but we are facing a confusing winter in California. Some days make us reach for something cool and refreshing and the very next day, we prefer to spend the whole day in bed with a book and hot coffee or soup.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5 1

It’s funny how I could never like cauliflower even though I eat it almost every other week. I have tried new recipes with it, liked what I made and yet, it’s not my favorite veggie. I would have never tried making a soup with cauliflower if this challenge didn’t call for it.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5 2

Lets talk a little bit about the challenge. Simone has been hosting Donna Hay Photography Challenges for a while now and this is the first time I decided to give it a try. It’s not an easy challenge but if you enjoy food photography and want to learn more, you should participate! For this challenge, we had to make a cauliflower soup (recipe was provided) and try to replicate the original photo from the magazine.

We all know that replicating anyone’s work is a crime but this challenge is different! It allows us to learn, come out of our comfort zone and try new things. Needless to say, giving credit is very important. The original photo that you see below was taken by Ben Dearnly and styled by Justin Poole. The photo appeared in Donna Hay issue #51.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5 3

At the first look, it looked simple but as I started styling and arranging, I realized how tricky it was – the light on the soup, the reflection on the bowl, the dark shadow and how the napkin was wrapped.

This is what I did! I used a black board as the surface, kept another black board as the backdrop and it helped in adding a strong shadow. I didn’t have any blue ribbon and hence, used a brown jute thread to wrap the spoon. I let the light in from the right and didn’t use any reflector. To create the white circle, I spilled some soup and used a spoon to get that shape.

I am not very happy with the final result but this is the best I could come up with. It was very challenging but I enjoyed it!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5 4

I didn’t make any major changes to the original recipe except sprinkling some chilly flakes on the top for a little bit of heat. I didn’t have fresh thyme and hence, used dried ones. If you like soup, then this is a must-try recipe – creamy, smooth and so flavorful. Recipe from Donna Hay Magazine as seen on Jungle Frog Cooking

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5 5

cauliflower soup 4 1

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 big potato, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoons  dried thyme
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter in low heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the saucepan.
  3. Cook until the onion has softened. It should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Then, add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and let it cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the potato and cauliflower are softened.
  6. Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf and use an immersion blender or a food processor to purée it.
  7. Sprinkle some chilly flakes and garnish it with some fried cauliflower or parmesan cheese or croutons.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5 6

Did you enjoy this Creamy Cauliflower Soup – Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge #5? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Nadia
    January 26, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    I love it!!!! Im going to try it out.And your photography looks great!

  • Priscilla M
    Priscilla M
    January 26, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Your pictures are lovely! And the soup looks very inviting, too…

  • Ambika
    January 26, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Wow!! Absolutely loved the photos. Rustic, yet sophisticated. Will check out the Donna Hay challenges, I want to learn so much more!!

  • pavithra
    January 26, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Awesome !! you have done a great job. Everything came out so good, really pretty. LOve all the shots 🙂

  • Grishma
    January 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Beautiful! Love all the shots…great job done Kankana!

  • Reem | Simply Reem
    Reem | Simply Reem
    January 26, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Beautiful Kankana!!!
    I must say you have a gift of photography…..
    Love each n every pick, specially where u tied rope on the spoon…

  • Vijitha
    January 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Beautiful!!! Wonderful styling

  • Raji
    January 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Beautiful work the dark tone pictures a lot.

  • Athena
    January 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Awesome, you participated in the challenge too! Your interpretation looks fantastic, love the addition of the chili flakes. That last photo is spectacular with the warm reds and browns. Perfect styling and photography.

  • Manju
    January 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    wow…I have always loved ur photograhy and this one again is a stunner!! I love these kind of creamy soupd, should try this one sometime…


  • chinmayie @ love food eat
    chinmayie @ love food eat
    January 26, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    You have done fabulous job Kankana! Love your soup photo! This challenge sounds so interesting. May be even I should give it a shot sometime to challenge myself with different food photography styling/lighting 🙂

  • Richa@HobbyandMore
    [email protected]
    January 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    love the clicks kankana.. i am just beginning to appreciate what goes into great food photography. Love this soup too, perfect for the current cold wave.

  • Rosa
    January 26, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    A delicious soup and gorgeous clicks! I love your take on the original picture.



  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    January 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Such cozy pictures and soup to accompany in winter!

  • Zee
    January 26, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I think you have done a great job replicating that photo and I also think that your’s look better 🙂

  • jeyashrisuresh
    January 26, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    creamy and yummy soup to have for this cold weather. great clicks

  • Anita Menon
    Anita Menon
    January 26, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Such a wonderful photography project. You seemed to have beautifully executed it. Great job done, Kankana.

    The cauliflower soup looks so hearty, just what we need here in the blistering cold of Bahrain

  • aarthi
    January 27, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    yummy soup

  • nisha
    January 27, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    that last pic is mind evrything about it..and as for soup..i suck at making it and depend on those canned ones whenever i need some 🙂

  • Tiffany
    January 27, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    I can relate to the confusing winter… it feels more like spring here in DC! Delish looking soup and beautiful pics!

  • Maureen
    January 27, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    This is too beautiful to eat. OMG what lovely photography!

  • Kiri W.
    Kiri W.
    January 27, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    Glorious soup, and wow, any of these pictures would be sort of the Holy Grail to me. Gorgeous, gorgeous photography.

  • Kalyani
    January 27, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    looks delicious and wonderful clicks ……….

  • sukanya
    January 27, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    Ohh.its truly beautiful Kankana, loved your last shot, well styled, you should write more often on food photography, will help a lot to newbies like me.

  • Simone
    January 27, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Yeah! I’m so glad you participated in the challenge Kankana! And truth be told I LOVE your second photo in the red pan. I seriously think that is better then the original. As for your take on the original; you should be extremely pleased with yourself. I love the use of the rope around the spoon rather then the blue ribbon and that bit of background coming through works brilliantly too. I am quite impressed with all the results of the challenge this month. Everyones image is different in a way, still resembling the original but all with their own twist! Thanks for joining in!

  • Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades)
    Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades)
    January 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Stunning pictures! And I was planning to make this soup for dinner today and saw your post here…coincidence? 🙂

  • Priya
    January 27, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    What a wonderful challenge to take up! I love your shots and the pop of red makes it even better. I think the use of earthier colors and textures convey the warm, cozy dinner feel a lot better than in the original 🙂 I’m glad I found this post because you have now inspired me to challenge myself too.

  • Soni
    January 27, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Beautiful and great pics as always Kankana!I love the way you described in detail how you had to create the effects while taking the pics.The soup looks delicious and has just the perfect consistency for a warm, cozy comforting, feeling.Have a great weekend 🙂

  • erin @ yummy supper
    erin @ yummy supper
    January 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Hey Kankana, what a fun challenge! I bet that was a hard project to recreate that Donna Hay pic. I’m glad you shared with us.
    I have to tell you that I really liked your series with the red accents. The red pot is an especially good prop, especially with such a neutral colored soup. I think the last image is my favorite.

  • Shumaila
    January 27, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    The pics might not be similar but I still love your version! Love the red hues. You are doing wonders in your photography and styling! Thanks for sharing the tips on how you created those effects. ANd the soup looks delicious:)

  • Kiran @
    Kiran @
    January 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Are you kidding me? You did a great job with the styling’s!!! Lovely bowl of soup and gorgeous photos, Kankana 🙂

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    January 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    I love cauliflower but only fresh:) however that soup look and sound amazing Kankana. I think you did better than just good on those photos, very very professional and I have to say I like your much better!!!
    Hope you are alright my friend?! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  • Kala
    January 27, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    This looks and sounds ever so delicious. Especially now it’s so cold outside.

  • Tadka Pasta
    Tadka Pasta
    January 27, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Those are gorgeous photos. Love them all, Kankana!!

  • Eha
    January 27, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Here in Australia we may have to wait a few months before we begin thinking of cauliflowers and hot soups, but this recipe is most inviting and the photos even more so! Thanks!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    January 27, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Let me say just once WOW!!! I could say that another 50 times. Seriously you did AMAZING job! Your replicate looks great, just like the original, but I like Kankana version of the last photos. It’s simply beautiful. I’m so intimidated by the food photography and to be honest, I’m not at “comfortable” stage. I think it’s because I don’t practice and learn so I feel insecurity about not knowing what to do when pictures don’t come out the way I wish. I like how you are aggressively challenging your food photography. I admire you and I see your photos are drastically improving, which is so fun to see! Unlike you, I love cauliflower, so I’ll enjoy this recipe for sure!

  • Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    January 28, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    wow, i actually like your pic better! 😀 esp like the jute around the spoon gives it such a rustic old-world charm

  • sally
    January 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I think I like your photos better than the one from the magazine. The soup sounds good too.

  • torviewtoronto
    January 28, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    delicious looking soup and beautiful styling I like the idea of wrapping the wool around the spoon, thank you for the inspiration

  • Courtney
    January 28, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I didnt take the bay leaf out before I put it in the blender 🙁 Did I just ruin the whole thing??? 🙁

  • Anzz
    January 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    The styling looks fab..! Great food pics are a class apart and you sure jumped right in the category..! lovely recipe..!

    My event- Valentines Day Special

  • Dawn
    January 28, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    What a beautiful bowl of soup. And it’s not really that heavy either. I love this recipe.

  • Ira Rodrigues
    Ira Rodrigues
    January 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    well done for the challenge!
    i love your photos, especially the mood that you created, it very cozy and comfort for the winter.

    i always love couliflower 🙂 the chilli flakes really bring alive to both, photo and the soup, bravo!

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    January 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    I had some kind of feeling that this will end up on top 9!:))) Pictures are too beautiful, and recipe too tasty & they made great pick!!!:) Congrats again sweetie!

  • Asmita
    January 29, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    What a delicious soup and the photographs are beautiful!!!

  • a spoonful of yumm
    a spoonful of yumm
    January 29, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    i love the first & second images….so beautiful !

  • Maja
    January 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Kankana, this was challenging, but so beautiful! I wish we have something like that here! Your soup looks wonderful, and photos are incredibly lovely!
    We have Cauliflower soup this week too, only I added roasted garlic 🙂

  • tigerfish
    January 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Oh how I agree with the confusing winter here! Some nights, a thick blanket keeps us nice and warm while asleep but then chuck the blanket aside on other nights when we actually sweat a little while sleeping. Hmmm…..

    Love your creamy cauliflower soup. Again, it’s reminding me to get the immersion blender.

  • Sudha
    January 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    I kept chuckling over the phrase you’ve used – ‘confusing winter’ – you do have a way with words,Kankana!And what a marvelous job you’ve done!The smoky and rustic background lends such an interesting touch to your photos – kudos for all your efforts:)The cauliflower soup looks tempting too – this is new to me,since I’ve never had cauliflower soup before.Sure calls for a quick try!

  • Elies_Lie
    January 29, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    I loves cauliflower and soup at the same time, so it will be a great tiem for me to enjoy it for breakfast or dinner!
    Loves ur photos and the way u switch the brown thread in ur spoon 🙂
    I do loves food-photography and learn from book and other blog, but never have a courage to challange my self like u did today, congrat for ur great work and courage, keep it up girl! and again… kongratz ont he Foodbuzz top 9 today! YaY! 😉

  • Maggie @ kitchie coo
    Maggie @ kitchie coo
    January 29, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Wow, what a fun challenge! I am going to check this out. I just got my first DSLR and am learning, very slowly, how to use it. Your photos are phenomenal! Nice work. This soup looks darn good too, but I do really love cauliflower! Glad I ran across this post and great to “meet” you!

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    January 30, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    This rocks! Just beautiful and i love cauliflower. Its not used enough in my opinion! Pinning this one!

  • foodwanderings
    January 30, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    Love your exercise in Donna hay styling! 🙂 Great results!! Speaking of soup yum. I never had it before but I can;t shake broccoli soup out of my mind since last night, go figure. Come to think of it I also got cauliflower!! 🙂

  • Irena
    January 30, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Wow, what a cozy post, love it, cauliflower is one of our favorite soups, photos are beautiful, thanks for sharing:)

  • Juliana
    January 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Your cauliflower soup looks beautiful…like that you used milk and not cream….much healthy…
    I have one cauliflower in the fridge, therefore, this may be a way to go.
    Hope you have a great week ahead Kankana 🙂

  • Najla
    January 30, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Superb snaps !!! Love the rustic look you have given … 🙂

  • Alyssa
    January 31, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    What a fun challenge. I never thought I liked cauliflower until recently. I love each of your photos. I would love to make my food photography better, I think I’ll look into those challenges, it sounds like a lot of fun!

  • Vanessa
    January 31, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    This challenge sounds like so much fun! And that soup looks delicious.

  • nipponnin
    January 31, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Very stylish and very dramatic photos. I like them. Your professional quality photos I’m trying to learn. But is this a natural gift thing? Some have it and some don’t?

  • Aparna
    January 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Think all your pictures are really lovely. I like the warm tones in them and the use of grey with the black bowl and browns is beautifully balanced.

  • Priya
    February 1, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Oh nice to see Arvind, sell ur soup 😉 although it can sell itself with the props and the elements in your shots! California has always been unpredictable when it comes to weather. But the unexpected yet pleasant weather is better than cold winters.

  • Lindsey@Lindselicious
    [email protected]
    February 1, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I just had cauliflower soup for the first time and loved it!!! Your photos are A-mazing!!

  • Only Fish Recipes
    Only Fish Recipes
    February 1, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    soup looks so creamy n delicious…loved ur clicks too 🙂

  • Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything}
    Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything}
    February 2, 2012 at 4:36 AM

    I saw a couple of the photos in this challenge and somehow I find some, including yours, looking much better than the one in the magazine.
    you should give cauliflower another try. it’s really good. I’m loving it!

  • easyfoodsmith
    February 2, 2012 at 5:43 AM

    fabulous clicks (as usual!) and great post!

  • Charles
    February 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    To be honest, I think your photo is better than the original 😀 I’m the same – I find it difficult to enjoy cauliflower sometimes, but when it’s blended up or mashed up… count me in 😀 The soup looks fab – I often add butter beans in when I’m making cauliflower-based soups… they go really well.

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)
    Jennifer (Delicieux)
    February 2, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Simply gorgeous photos, and I agree with the other commenters, I think your photo is better than the original. I love the mix of the wood and warm tones with the dark.

  • Lynda - TasteFood
    Lynda - TasteFood
    February 3, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Wonderful photos! I love cauliflower, so look forward to trying the recipe.

  • Magic of Spice
    Magic of Spice
    February 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    The photos are gorgeous and the soup looks fantastic!

  • Baker Street
    Baker Street
    February 7, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Gorgeous! Comfort in a bowl. Would love to tuck in with a bowl of this delicious soup.

  • Ananda Rajashekar
    Ananda Rajashekar
    February 7, 2012 at 5:44 AM

    Now i would call this pics as dramatic and super stylish just like on food magazine …and your are not satisfied with results? you kidding me? cauliflower isn’t my fav either it looks so good that it is hard to pass!

  • Divya Yadava
    Divya Yadava
    February 8, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Hey Kankana! This looks like a really fun challenge and you really do have a gift and an eye for photography. I think you’re take on the original image is fantastic. I personally think it’s better than the original because I got hungry looking at your pic!

  • Fern @ To Food with Love
    Fern @ To Food with Love
    February 15, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Cauliflower soup is one of my favourites, topped with sauteed mushrooms! This looks thick and hearty…yum!! Beautiful photos!

  • Ambika
    March 5, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Congratulations on the DMBLGIT win!!!!!

  • beena
    March 19, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    Hey i am soooo tempted to try out this soup… it looks delicious…besides i loved the pics u have taken 🙂 awesome!