… it’s genuinely miserable weather out there… a proper January. The UK has been the brunt of some forceful weather over the Christmas period with a deluge of rain and winds that have been battering the west coast and we count ourselves very lucky over here in Belleau that we’re situated over to the east of the country and haven’t had the festive period turned upside down by flooding. One wishes to go into the new year looking forward with positive energy but it must be damn hard for those who have been so badly effected by this to feel quite so merry. Our thoughts have been very much preoccupied by those who’ve clearly been having such a grim time. We’ve been fortunate that whilst it’s been very wet and windy, these past few weeks have also seen relatively warm weather, which I guess is a blessing for those expunged so cruelly from their homes but today however, there is a bite of coldness in the wind. Today is snuggling up by the fire weather… today is pyjamas on all day weather… today is making the most of the twinkly lights on the tree weather… today is soup weather…
roast bramley apple, parsnip and cheddar soup
this is the second in my posts for the brilliant people at Bramley Apples and I was asked to develop a recipe for a soup… I love working with brands who set out to challenge the normal food conventions and the Bramley Apple people have been very good at setting the 6 bloggers taking part in this campaign quite serious challenges… it’s not every day that you think of using apples in a huge array of savoury dishes but here we’ve been asked to really think about how they will work in both savoury and sweet dishes and not just as an addition but as a main ingredient, starring in the dish in their own right. I have of course made many a parsnip soup and I had a suspicion that the sweetness of the parsnip would work really well with the bitter-sweetness of the bramley. Roasting all the vegetables together has given everything a wonderful nutty flavour and of course makes the whole cooking process really simple. The cheddar, which needs to be vintage or very strong, simply rounds the whole dish out adding it’s own nuttiness which compliments the apples beautifully…
… and if you’re still wondering if this combo of flavours works, then think of the classic orange and carrot soup… this soup has that wonderful fruity and earthy tang to it… totally divine!
The other bloggers taking part in the campaign are Maison Cupcake, Lavender and Lovage, A Mummy Too, Little Miss Katy and Chelsea Mama and we’ve been given 3 months each during the forthcoming year, with Sarah from Maison Cupcake and I posting recipes in the same months so hopefully we’ll be showing you how to use the wonderful Bramley in a glut of creative ways, so please do look out for our posts.
1 large bramley apple – peeled, cored and cut into large wedges
2 large parsnips – peeled and roughly chopped
3 new potatoes – chopped
1 medium onion – peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh lemon thyme of regular thyme
a splash of white wine – optional
1 litre good quality vegetable stock
150g strong cheddar – finely grated
pre-heat the oven to 160C
place all the veg and apples, along with the herbs and a good sprinkling of olive oil into a large oven-proof dish, season well with salt and pepper and mix it all together – using your hands is probably best here
roast in the oven for roughly 20 mins – you want a good dark golden colour on the veg and the apples will turn to mush
when your veg is gloriously golden, heat a little olive oil and butter in a soup pan and tip the veg into the pan, then drizzle a dash of white wine into the roasting tin and using a wooden spoon, stir around any caramelised bits that have been left behind and then pour this into the soup pan with the veg.
let the veg and wine bubble strongly for about 5 mins but make sure that you stir it regularly so the bottom doesn’t burn but that it all caramelises beautifully, then pour in the stock, place a lid on, turn down the heat and let it simmer gently for 20 mins then set it aside to cool till lukewarm
add a large handful of cheddar and then blitz it all together with a stick blender and serve with some finely grated strong cheddar
eat and of course, enjoy!