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Rosehip, Apple and Blackberry Soup

I was mooching around the house today and felt the desire and need for comfort food. I popped out to check the freezer and discovered a bag of frozen Rosehips, a mix of our native hip, Canina Rosa aka the Dog Rose and the introduced Asian species, Rosa rugosa, the much plumper and tastier Japanese Rose. Keeping the Rosehips company was a bag of frozen Blackberries & knowing that I had a bag of beautiful apples, a mix of eaters and cookers (thank you Andrea Barbel) Blackberry & Apple Crumble with Creme Anglaise (posh and proper custard) sprang to mind, as did Rosehip Soup or Nyponsoppa as it's called in Sweden (I believe the Swedes thicken the soup using potato or other flour, I prefer not to).

I prepared the crumble ingredients first, cooking the apple & blackberries in a little water to soften them slightly before making my crumble topping to adorn the fruit. After draining the cooked fruit I was left with a small amount of liquid, I considered turning that into a jelly but that felt overly time consuming and the results didn't quite outweigh the energy consumption, sod it, I thought, pop it in the soup.

Rosehip Soup is probably the easiest soup to make in the world, though some would say it's not a true soup. It's caused mini-dilemmas for some who've tried this in the past, everyone's enjoyed it but due to the slight sweetness, it doesn't, for some follow the traditional 'soup format' we're culturally accustomed to in the UK. I'm going to call it a soup but it really doesn't matter what you call it. Given that my girlfriend Jodie is feeling under the weather, I thought this soup would go some way to alleviating her symptoms and raising her spirits, as would the crumble; I'm also making a warm duck salad for mains

To make the soup. Serves 4.

1 pint of Rosehips
1 Litre of filtered or Spring Water
200ml of Apple & Blackberry Liquid (if you're not making a crumble just stick with the Rosehips)
Sugar or Honey to taste
4 Cloves
2 Star Anise
Ground White Pepper
Sliced Almonds

Bring the water to the boil, add the rosehips and simmer gently for 10 minutes, remove from the heat. Mash the rosehips in the water with a masher, leave for another 10 minutes. Pass the contents through a wide sieve and then a fine mesh sieve into a clean pan (some pulp will make it through, to prevent that just place a small piece of muslin cloth in the fine sieve to catch the pulp). Add the apple/blackberry liquid, sugar/honey to taste (you don't want it over-sweet, you're not making a jelly of syrup - though you could), the cloves and star anise and gently heat through on the lowest hob setting to help infuse the flavours of the two spices (try to avoid it boiling up). Once satisfied with the taste and aroma, add sea salt & ground white pepper to taste and serve with sliced almonds. 


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