There is frost on the windows this morning. This is a sure sign that I can indulge myself for (hopefully) the next few months in my love of wearing far too many of my different coats at any given opportunity. I do have too many. My wife has banned me from buying any more but I always manage to sneak one in. I am the Imelda Marcos of the coat world - well, after Liam Gallagher anyway.
Back in the kitchen, it is soup time. What with this credit crunch malarkey and the need for people to keep warm on cheap sustainable food over the winter, there is nothing better than soup to turn to. Whether it is a 'bottom of the fridge' soup in which you chuck everything into the pan, or a refined 'posh' soup using only the very best ingredients (smoked salmon and black truffle soup anybody?), soup is easy to make and accompanied with some crusty bread, becomes a meal in a bowl.
This soup uses what are in my opinion two of our very best seasonal ingredients at the moment - parsnip and apple - amongst a bumper selection of great autumnal produce. Some strong Cheddar cheese takes down the sweetness a tone or two and that is needed, especially if you decide to use some of the older and larger parsnips that have had a lot of their starch converted into sugar. So make a bowl and be happy that the cold snap has arrived. I know I am - so I'm off to get me coat.
Parsnip, Apple and Cheddar Soup
1 large Bramley apple
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre hot vegetable stock
150g Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
1 - Pre-heat the oven to GM6, 200C.
2 – Peel and halve the parsnips and place into a baking tray. Score a line all around the apple and place into the baking tray. Finally, peel and quarter the onion and put that into the baking tray. Drizzle on the olive oil and coat the fruit and vegetables.
3 – Place onto the middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes, or until the onion and parsnip are golden and the apple has gone soft.
4 – Scrape out the apple flesh and put into a blender along with the onion and parsnips. Pour over the stock and blend until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a clean pan.
5 – Grate in the cheese and stir until melted through. Taste for seasoning. Serve in bowls with more grated cheese on top.