Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Curried Apple Soup and the Disappearing Tam

The other day, I happened to find a bag of apples being sold cheaply at the local supermarket and, for some reason, this soup was the first thing that came into my head. Strange, since I've not really thought about it for around 35 years.

Spiced apple soups have been around in English cooking for centuries but this particular version is a very 1970s dish. At that time curried soups seemed to be everywhere, at least in England. It was the 1970s when Jane Grigson launched the great classic that is curried parsnip soup on the unsuspecting world. Some of these soups were even served chilled, which was sort of cutting edge at the time. This is a recreation of one of those soups, although admittedly not a truly faithful reproduction. I'm sure that in the 1970s there would have been a lot more butter and there would certainly have been cream and not yogurt.

I thought about specifying the exact mixture of spices to use, but this was the 1970s and using anything other than curry powder would have been the height of eccentricity. You do need a fairly hot curry powder for this recipe, so a Madras mix should be fine. You could buy one or, if you happen to have a bit of time, I can thoroughly recommend making Michelle’s recipe over at ‘The Tiffin Box’ for this particular spice mix.

You could use any dessert apple for this soup but I’d avoid a really sharp apple such as a Granny Smith. After all, you could increase the acidity by adding lemon juice but it’s much harder to remove it. I used the variety Pink Lady in this case, although I have to admit that’s due to the bargain bag rather than careful planning.
Curried Apple Soup
This works well as a little appetiser served in a 1970s glass, but it can also be served either hot or cold as a light soup course. This amount will serve 2 – 3 people as a full-scale starter but quite a few more as a little pre-dinner treat.

1 small onion, finely chopped
650 g dessert apples, unprepared weight
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp hot curry powder
500 ml vegetable stock

To finish the soup each bowl should have:
     A dollop of Greek yogurt
     A small sprinkling of Greek basil leaves

Very slowly sweat the onion in a little oil until soft but not coloured. Meanwhile, peel, core and chop the apples into largish chunks. As you finish preparing them, drop them into a bowl with the juice of ½ the lemon and toss around to coat them.

Once the onion is soft, stir in the curry powder and continue frying gently for a minute or so, stirring. Add the apples and then the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the apples are very soft.  Allow the mixture to cool a little, then liquidise until very smooth. Add the other half of the lemon juice (unless the mixture already seems sharp) and some salt to taste. If you want to serve the soup chilled then place in the fridge until very cold.

Check again that it doesn't need more lemon juice and salt before serving. This is particularly important if you’re serving the soup chilled since the flavours will be a little dulled by the cold. Add a generous dollop of Greek yogurt to each bowl or glass and sprinkle over some fresh basil. The small leaves of Greek basil look pretty on this dish I think, but shredded leaves of the more usual basil will do fine.



Heading back to the seventies with a bowl of curried soup in hand did bring to mind this noteworthy bit of TV, which has now surfaced on YouTube. It’s an appearance by The Tams on a Christmas Top of the Pops programme in 1971 singing the slightly irritating song ‘Hey Girl Don't Bother Me’. The three Tams in a row carrying out the backing singing duties are unforgettable. The one in the middle might just have enjoyed a refreshing seasonal drink or two and eventually disappears altogether. Oh well, it was the 1970s – we had no internet then and had to make our own amusement.

15 comments:

  1. WOW, looks so GOOD :)
    I have a new post , plz come by :D

    XoXo
    http://abudhabifood.blogspot.com

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  2. Curried apple soup - yum!! I've had curried parsnips but think this must be even better! And love the Tams clip - almost a comedy sketch in itself :)

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  3. Well you have managed to introduce me to both curried apple soup and The Tams lol. I have to admit that the sight of a bag of apples would not make my mind race to soup but this sounds utterly delicious.

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  4. Now I have never thought of making just apple soup, sounds interesting. I do though always put apple into my curried butternut soup, also the zest from (preferably) a naval orange.

    Never heard of The Tams, but then I was in Africa in the 70's, and with my slow connection I can't play this either :-((

    Have a good weekend. Diane

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    1. An apple soup does sound a little unlikely, but I promise that it does work. I'm sorry to hear that your connection isn't quick enough for the Tams but I'm not very surprised that you haven't heard of them. With the best will in the world I don't think they can be said to have made a huge, lasting contribution to popular music. But maybe they did make a contribution to unintentional comedy.

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  5. Very nice soup. I'd say "minimalist" hence very much to my liking. I love the photo! I admit, I don't know curried parsnip soup, so I'll find out. I have harvested some baby parsnips from my garden, so I am open to ideas.

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  6. I've never tried such a soup but can certainly see that it would work very well - strong, simple flavours executed perfectly. It looks wonderful, I'm amazed that apples give such a vibrant colour to the soup.
    Wonderful clip, thank you for adding it!

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  7. I would have never have thought of making apple soup but it looks and sounds delicious - a great Halloween/bonfire night recipe. Thanks for the video clip - I don't know the Tams but ljust love those outfits!!

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  8. This looks delicious and we may well make it for our visitors this weekend - we are all of the vintage that would appreciate it !!

    Great video clip. I remember bopping away to this song in discos. Ah the good old days - love the pink leather suits. Do you think he fell off the stage ?!

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  9. Looks delicious Phil. I've never had apple curried soup before. I can see from the photo that this is a nice comfort soup on a cold winter day. You had me going about the singer in the middle hahahahahahaha! LOL!! Thanks for the laugh : )

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  10. Brilliant idea Phil! That curry with apple needs to be tried, I can visualise how the flavors complement each other - and a gorgeous photo, very inviting!
    greatly enjoyed the 70s song : )
    Ozlem

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  11. Brilliant idea Phil! That curry with apple needs to be tried, I can visualise how the flavors complement each other - and a gorgeous photo, very inviting!
    greatly enjoyed the 70s song : )
    Ozlem

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  12. This looks wonderful! I loved Jane Grigson :) your photo is mouthwatering
    Mary x

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  13. I've tried apple soup before, but not curried apple. It looks good. I too remember bopping away to this song! Love their suits and tams!

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  14. I knew about apple soup but I never knew about the Tams! A wonderful post as always and I love your photo and the 70's bowl. Karen

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