A thrifty soup

Near where we live there is a large industrial estate – you can see photos of it at the end of this post – and every year, one corner of it is littered with bright red apples. A cluster of tall, unkempt trees tower over one edge of the concrete, dropping fruit decadently onto the ground below. Every year I have vowed to taste this free fare, but this is the first year that I got down there with a string bag, ready for some serious scrumping.

I am not sure what variety of apples we have here; it seems to me that we are looking at a mongrel selection of self-seeded trees of indeterminate origin, or the run-to-wilderness remnants of a long-abandoned orchard. But the fruits which fall from the tallest, most sprawling tree are slim and stately in shape, and as they ripen, they make a stunning transformation from pale green to shining ruby.

Cutting into them reveals firm, pink-stained flesh, and the fruits taste crisp and very acidic. They don’t have much tannin in them as they do not brown quickly. But their flavoursome tartness lends itself perfectly to balance out the sweetness of something sweet…

Though the reduced section of Morrisons supermarket is not as pretty as the gently swaying apple trees, I was very happy with my 25p bag of parsnips and I knew at once that I was going to make an amazing white soup filled with the sweetness of the parsnips and the sharp bite of the apples. The result is hearty and sustaining.

Ingredients (serves 4)
Weight Watchers points per serving: 5

2 tbsps olive oil*
350g peeled, diced parsnips
400g peeled, chopped apples
135g chopped celery
150g butter beans (dried)
2 x chicken stock cubes (or vegetable if you prefer)
a pinch of nutmeg
2 tsps dried sage


1. Place dried butterbeans in a pan of boiling water and boil them until the beans are soft**. I do this step first, so that while the beans are cooking, I can chop and weigh all the fruit and veg.

2. Place olive oil, apple chunks, diced parsnip and chopped celery into a pot together and stir over medium-hot heat until the apples and celery are softened, and the kitchen smells like heaven. Grate in a little nutmeg – literally just a tiny bit – and stir in the dried sage.

3. When the beans are done, pour them and the water they were cooked in into the pot of softened celery, parsnip and apple. Add your chicken stock cubes.

4. Let everything simmer, adding water if you think necessary, or leaving the lid off the pan to let the mixture reduce if you think that’s needed. Once the parsnip is soft and cooked through, blitz in a food processor or with a handheld blender.


I am loving that this tasty fare will do me 4 meals, and that it cost me 25p! HUZZAH for scrumped apples and for all the luxury they bring to a humble old bag of parsnips.

One more pleasure to include in this post: a lovely wild flower, snapped on the way home from my scrumping mission. I think it might be from the solanaceae family… although the flower looks like a mallow, the leaves are much more like the potato family. Any ideas?

*I know this seems excessive, but the olive flavour is amazing with the apples, and if you use less, you can’t taste it! Everything else in the soup is so healthy that it balances out OK in the end, I reckon.

**NEVER salt the water for your beans as they won’t soften properly!

5 Responses to A thrifty soup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright statement

You may transmit content found on this website (excluding my knitting patterns which are protected under International copyright law) under the following conditions:

- You always attribute my work to me, Felicity Ford, including a link back to this site
- You do not alter my work
- You do not use my work for commercial purposes

To discuss any other uses of my work, please contact me directly on the telephone number and email address provided at the top of this blog.

Creative Commons License
All the work shown here by Felicity Ford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

From time to time I feature images, sounds or words on this blog which are not my own: in all such cases the original copyright owner is named. International copyright law requires that in order to republish their content, you must seek out their permission.

Thank you for respecting these terms and conditions.

Search Form