Dedicated vegetable growers will be able to make an entire Christmas dinner from the garden. I am dedicated but not sufficiently organised or successful to do that. However, we did manage to have Howgate Wonder apples for every meal on Christmas Day: some fruit salad for breakfast, some pieces of apple as part of a snack lunch and in both the red cabbage (a family tradition, cabbage from the farmers’ market) and the Christmas Pudding for the main feast. We also had our own Brussels sprouts, rosemary in the roast potatoes and bay leaf in the bread sauce.
For Boxing Day, being vegetarians, we had no turkey bones to make soup, but instead made ‘Heaven and Earth’ soup, made of yet more Howgate Wonder apples and a few potatoes. This soup is one I discovered this year in search of uses for my apple glut and creates a quite surprisingly delicious soup. Recipe here
Heaven and Earth soup
- Potatoes (quantities 1:3 apples to potatoes -my recipe used 2 enormous Howgate wonder apples and 6 enormous potatoes, making one massive pot of soup, but smaller amounts would work just as well)
- Vegetable stock
- 1tblsp vinegar
- 1 onion
- A sprig of rosemary (or other herbs to taste)
- Peel and chop the potatoes and apples into small cubes
- Put in a large pan with enough stock to cover
- Add the vinegar
- Bring to the boil and cook slowly for about 45 minutes
- Mash the potatoes and apples, or whizz in a whizzer, leaving a few chunks of potato and apple
- Chop the onion and fry in a little oil or butter with the rosemary
- Add to the soup
- Season to taste
Recipe adapted from ‘A Harvest of Apples’ by Ruth Ward (Penguin 1988). The original uses chicken stock and bits of bacon. My recipe replaces these with vegetable stock and a sprig of rosemary.
Meanwhile the apple tree is having a little winter rest, here on Boxing Day morning with only one leaf remaining.