sweet potato, apple & chestnut soup
cycle route
[walnut, sweet potato, pumpkin] mini handpies

I made soup! It's pretty much as autumnal as food is possible to be, which is fortunate as apparently seasonal changes are pretty much an overnight deal over here, and the temperature - as far as I can tell - has dropped 10 degrees (C) within about a week. Which, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because the temperature was 35C last week and it was a little ridiculous; but it's certainly disarming when you go to sleep on a summer night and wake up on an autumn morning and your first reaction is, 'how long was I sleeping?!?'.

I like serving soup in teacups. It makes me feel dainty. 'Dainty' isn't something I particularly aspire to be that often - I'm usually otherwise engaged with being fierce and fabulous - but it's good to know I can pull it off when necessary. 

Except - wait, is brown soup not your thing? Not even with star croutons which excuse me are the best thing I've ever seen in my life? Maybe you're here because you entered last week's giveaway and I promised I'd post the winner yesterday but then got distracted in a bar (it happens). No worries, no worries; I'm back on schedule and pickin' winners with random number generators.

Comment number 8 was left by Anonymous, but fortunately she included a Harry Potter analogy in her comment (that isn't the reason she won...) so I can fairly confidently say, Helen, this shit's yours. If you entered, thank you so much! And I'll hopefully be holding other giveaways in the near future because it's still a shiny new concept to me, so stick around.

If you're not Helen - and I believe most of you aren't - that's okay. There's still soup. And I bet you live somewhere that sells parsnips - which the original recipe this comes from called for - so things are not all bad for you. I made it with white fleshed sweet potatoes (the Japanese kind, that are purple on the outside), but only after I combed the town for parsnips and wept salty tears into my saucepan. You don't have to do that. You can go the parsnip or the sweet potato route, and leave all melodrama aside. It's pretty much your call.

Sweet Potato, Apple & Chestnut Soup
450g (1lb) [peeled weight] white fleshed sweet potatoes (or parsnips)
1 onion
1 small apple (I used half one enormous Japanese apple)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
150g cooked & peeled chestnuts (use a prepared vacuum pack of chestnuts)
600ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme
 Peel & cube the sweet potatoes, onion and apple. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the chopped veg and garlic and allow to soften but not colour, for about five minutes. Add the chestnuts, vegetable stock and thyme, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook gently on a low heat for about twenty minutes, until softened.

Allow to cool a little before blending the soup until smooth, then add salt and pepper and a dash of soy milk if you like. If you prefer a thinner soup, add a little more water or broth.

 What are you doing with your Sunday afternoon? I'm going out to Oktoberfest in Nagasaki City in half an hour or so... I know it's not October (or even Oktober?), but this doesn't seem to bother anyone else. I don't know what to expect beyond beer, but as I've finally found a place to get film developed locally, I'm shooting on my film camera again, and that means you'll almost definitely get to see what goes on. That's provided I don't overdo it on the beer and drop my camera into Dejima Wharf.

Have a good Sunday :) xxx


  1. Ah, I wish it was easier to find chestnuts here. I've spent my Sunday in the forest close to a lake, and found some chantarelles. I'm pretty sure they will find there way into my dinner somehow. How fun with Oktoberfest, enjoy the pretzels!

  2. Tell you what I would like to see more of. More emails from you to me. Lest I should sent you a photograph of a sociopathic anteater.

    Love Georgie

  3. p.s. said anteater will TERRORISE YOUR NIGHTMARES.

  4. I want to see more of you REPLYING TO ME ON TWITTER. And your apato!! AND the scenery! and your face.

    Alison X

  5. Hi! Your blog is awesomeeeeeee! I grew up in the US, but I'm studying in Manila right now so I totally feel you right now. I started cooking for myself however your cooking adventures are totally blowing me away.

    Omg if I ever visit Japan I want to hang out with youuu! Lol thanks for the the recipes + words +pics

    -Daphne (Manila, Philippines)

  6. Am I annoying you yet? Am I? Am I? Wrinklist.

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