As soon as there is a bit of a nip in the air, I start thinking about soup. Whether for lunch, dinner, or just a snack to ward off a couple of hunger pangs or an early autumn chill, soup is the answer. It's even better when it's easy to prepare.

This recipe is adapted from one given to me by a friend many years ago. It's thick and rich and very flavorful, thanks to a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne, but it's also just as good, and better for you, if you substitute the high fat ingredients.

Either way, this soup is a winner.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Serves six

1 large bunch of broccoli

4 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

5 cups chicken broth

One-half cup heavy cream

One-half cup milk

One-quarter teaspoon nutmeg

One-eighth teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Trim top clusters of broccoli for 1 cup, poach and set aside. Cut the remaining broccoli florets into 2-inch pieces and the stems into one-quarter-inch pieces, then place in boiling water to poach, about 5 minutes until crisp tender. Don't overcook. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Melt butter in a large saucepan, then add flour and whisk it into a roux, slowly whisk in broth until smooth. Add chopped broccoli pieces and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool for a few minutes, then process in a blender in two batches until smooth.

Return to pan and heat to a boil, then stir in reserved broccoli, heavy cream, milk, nutmeg and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until remaining ingredients are heated through.

Note: This recipe works well with soymilk or almond milk instead of the heavy cream and milk. The finished soup won't be as rich, but it is still very good and much healthier.