Sunday 26 February 2012

Roasted soup & baked crisps – how’d you like them apples?!

Recreating Jamie Oliver's roast apple and squash soup

The only apple I’ve ever been tempted by is the Big one more commonly known as New York City. 

Admittedly, if I had a fear of doctors I'd be sure to note the fruit’s apparent silver bullet-esque protection and dose myself up daily. But eating an apple doesn’t excite me – it’s not colourful like a kiwi or a strawberry, or flavourful like a mango or a banana. Indeed, if it had been me there in the Garden of Eden, I’m fairly confident that I would have been able to resist the snake’s charms to try the fruit of the loins of the tree of knowledge, and stay blissfully ignorant.

My previous ploy to make apples more appetising had mainly involved hiding them under a thick layer of sweet crunchy oats as part of a warming crumble. Secretly I knew that any nutritional value was being negated by all that sugar though, so as part of my new year health kick I decided to test out a couple of new recipes in the hope of being tempted to eat the forbidden fruit after all.

First up was a roasted apple and squash soup from Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook Jamie's Great Britain. Particularly in winter, making a batch of homemade soup is the ideal way to fill yourself up at lunchtime whilst keeping both costs and calories low. I liked the idea of combining my favourite vegetable with my least favourite fruit, and this also ticked off me of my 2012 blog goals of making more use of my mounting  cookbook collection.

In order to keep the soup as healthy as possible, I only added a couple of tablespoons of single cream, and I also swapped the coriander seeds and chilli for a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to provide some delicate scenting instead of a hot spiced kick. This soup might have been slightly less luxurious than the Naked Chef’s original version, but the roasted squash and apple flesh still produced a smooth and rich consistency, plus a perfectly-matched combination of flavours. I decided I’d willingly whizz up these ingredients into a vast vat of soup at the weekend to save myself time during the working week.

To accompany my soup I rustled up a plate of sweet and crunchy baked apple crisps, which I’d first spotted on Pinterest. Not only was this recipe incredibly easy, but the result was unbelievably impressive – it was as if the humble apple had stepped into the oven as the mild-manned Clark Kent and been transformed within minutes into the mesmerising Superman! 

These apple crisps are so versatile that I could certainly imagine myself eating them daily – they would be delicious dunked into a dip as a dinner party canapé, crumbled over yoghurt and berries for a healthy dessert or simply popped onto a plate for a sweet snack.

Roast Apple and Squash Soup (serves 4 to 6)

1 butternut squash (1kg approx)

3 good eating apple

1 large onion

1 or 2 fresh red chillies

4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and bashed

olive oil and seasoning

a pinch of coriander seeds

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped

800ml organic vegetable or chicken stock

150ml single cream

Big butternut squash to be chopped and roasted

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds, then cut into chunks and put in a large roasting tray. Peel and quarter the apples, removing the core. Peel and roughly chop the onion (I used shallots for extra sweetness) and add to the tray, along with the apple segments and the crushed garlic cloves.

2. Drizzle over the olive oil, add the herbs and spices to the dish, then season with salt and pepper and toss everything together to ensure an even coating. Cook in the oven for around 45 minutes until the apple and vegetable mixture has turned golden.

#Project366 day #3 - Roasted squash, apples and shallots ready to blend into soup

These roasted chunks of apple and squash looked so appealing that I selected this snapshot for Day 3 of my #Project366 challenge!

3. Put some of the roasted mixture into a liquidiser (squeezing the garlic flesh out of its skin first). Add a ladleful of stock, blitz until smooth then place in a large pan. Blend the rest of the stock and vegetable mixture together, then add to the pan and bring to a simmer over a low / medium heat.

4. Pour in most of the cream, add extra seasoning and stock if required and simmer to your preferred consistency. Serve with the remaining cream and your preferred choice of toasted seeds or nuts (I used flaked almonds).

Baked apple crisps (serves 1)

Baked apple crisps sprinkled with cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Core a medium apple and slice into rings about a quarter of a centimetre thick using a mandolin, wide vegetable peeler or standard knife – the key thing to be careful of is protecting your fingers from the blade!

2. Dust both sides of each apple ring with about a teaspoon of cinnamon, then lay the slices out onto a baking tray.

3. Pop the tray in the oven for around 10 – 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices, ensuring that you flip the rings over halfway through once the edges begin to curl up so that both sides turn crisp.


  1. no sugar on your apple slices? i am astonished

  2. oh and katy..i try it now..with sugar too ;-) lets see..thanxx for your inspiration ;-)

  3. Hi, I found the crisps were sweet enough without adding any sugar, but I guess it might depend on the type of apples you use...why not try it both ways and let me know which you think is best! :-)

  4. Hi, thanxx i already eaten them up..normally i would not eat two apples a day..;-) i sliced them and then added sugar and cinnamon on both sides ;-)

    YUMMY..and i am proud of having eaten 2 apples LOL

  5. Love apples and love squash, so this sounds like a great combination!

    1. The soup tastes great Kavey - I made another big batch at the weekend using a bit of low-fat yoghurt instead of the cream to make it even healthier! The sharpness of the apples is balanced out by the rich flavour of the squash, then you get a hint of the herbs / spices (I'm still leaving out the chilli for now). Hope you give it a go and enjoy it!

  6. Love squash soup, I just need a man to clean and cut the butternut squash for me!! ;)

    1. You don't need a man to do that for you Julia - I'm sure you're strong enough! I also used a couple of small squashes when I made this at the weekend (instead of one large squash) and that probably made the chopping / cleaning a bit easier? Glad you like the sound of the soup!x