friday feast: fly soup and apple brownies

Please help yourself to a cup of tea and an apple brownie (spiders and centipedes optional).

On this crisp and clear Halloween Eve, we’re serving up a tasty poem by London-based author Elli Woollard.

I love noshing at her wonderful blog, Taking Words for a Stroll, which is a gold mine of fun, whimsical, silly and nonsensical rhymes, sure to put a smile on your face and make you want to indulge in some wordplay of your own.

One never knows just what Elli will write about next — ducks? vikings? cats? farting mermaids? I admit I was first drawn to her foodie poems. Who could resist such titles as “Kitchen Bullies,” “Feeling Like Cake,” “Best Biscuit Race”, “The Joys of Toast”? Here’s a poet who’ll riff on cheese even though she doesn’t personally care for it. Oh, and did you know there’s a “Shortage of L’s”? Nasty business, that. I don’t ike it one bit. 🙂

When I saw “There’s a Fly in My Soup,” I knew I just had to share it here. Soup — my middle name! And since it’s almost Halloween and all, it’s a good time to swallow a few flies, spiders and other creatures with rascally relish. Bugs, birds and goats never tasted so good.


by Elli Woollard

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

I think there’s a fly in my soup.

It’s floating around on some carrot it’s found,

And it seems to be covered in gloop.

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

Thanks for removing the fly.

But now there’s a spider, much larger and wider,

That’s just sort of lounging on by.

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

Now this is just getting absurd!

Look at the beak going peck at that leek!

It seems to be some sort of bird!

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

No, no, I am not having THAT!

The bird’s disappeared, but it’s ever so weird

As now there’s a great fluffy cat.

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

Now there’s a dog in my bowl!

It’s lazing about by a piece of cooked trout

And it’s having a nice little roll.

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

I just heard a very loud bleating!

Yes, it’s a goat, and it’s learned how to float,

And of course it’s preventing me eating.

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

Just look at what’s in my soup now!

It’s sitting there chewing and merrily mooing;

A bloomin’ great black and white cow!

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

The cow’s been replaced by a horse!

No, no it’s not trotting – it seems to be yachting!

It’s sailing around in the sauce.

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

A lady’s just sitting there wallowing!

Please ladle the lady away from my soup.

Just think of the things she’s been swallowing!

Waiter! Waiter! Waiter!

I’ve had quite enough, so goodbye!

I’ll make this quite clear; next time I’m here

Please – simply leave me the fly.

~ Posted by permission of the author, copyright © 2015 Elli Woollard. All rights reserved.



Elli: The poem is, of course, inspired by the classic ‘waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’ jokes, and ‘There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” (which I’ve written another poem based on, although in my version the old lady swallows a bike, followed by increasingly bigger vehicles). It suddenly came to me that I could combine the two, in a waiter who tries to deal with a fly in a customer’s soup by introducing a spider to eat it, and so on and so on, until the customer is left with a bowl of soup with a woman sitting in it!

As for soup recipes, I’m very much of the ‘throw a few things into the pot and see what happens’ persuasion – I don’t follow recipes as such. The food I eat is basically vegan, so it’s all vegetable soup. Last night, for instance, I made a soup from onions, red bell pepper, carrots, vegetable stock and fresh coriander (cilantro) – I fried the onions, red pepper and carrots in a tiny bit of oil first, then added the vegetable stock and simmered for 30 minutes or so, then added the coriander (cilantro) and whizzed it all up in the blender. It was extremely delicious. No idea what quantities of anything I used though!


Elli Woollard grew up in central London, and lives just a few streets away from her childhood home. Slightly more excitingly, she also lived for seven years in Thailand. A graduate in social anthropology (with a bit of Burmese language, now largely forgotten, thrown in for good measure), she has worked variously as a teacher of English as a foreign language, a copywriter, an editor and a freelance Thai to English translator.

Although she has always written bits and pieces, she got into writing seriously following a mortifying incident in which her youngest son broke Michael Rosen’s glasses. In addition to writing picture books she also writes children’s poems. 

Elli lives with her four crazy but wonderful children, her meteorologist husband and two guinea pigs. She does not live with a cat, although the neighbour’s moggy (‘Six Dinner Sid’s Sister’) seems to think otherwise. Her books include the popular Woozy the Wizard early reader series and the recently released picture book The Giant of Jum, illustrated by Benji Davies.

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Fly Soup isn’t terribly filling, so I suggest inhaling a few apple brownies on the side.

As is my annual Fall tradition, I tried another recipe from Amy Traverso’s The Apple Lover’s Cookbook (W. W. Norton & Co., 2011) — truly the only collection of apple recipes anyone ever really needs.

So far, I’ve made these recipes from this fabulous cookbook:


This week I was in the mood for something apple-cake-ish, something light and simple that would capture the essence of these beautiful Fall days. Amy explains why these treats are called brownies even though they don’t contain any chocolate:

This recipe is a favorite among my mom’s circle of friends, and everyone I know who has tried it raves about it. It gets its name from the fact that the cake is very moist and has a crisp top, much like brownies. Plus, it’s baked in a brownie pan and gets cut into bars. But the texture is much lighter than that of chocolate brownies, and the flavor is all fruit and cinnamon. This is such an easy recipe to make: a great standby for those days when you want a sweet treat without a lot of fuss, or when you remember at 9 p.m. that you volunteered to make dessert for tomorrow’s bake sale.

Once the resident leprechaun diced two golden delicious apples into 1/2″ cubes, the rest was smooth sailing and happy eating. Light, moist and cinnamon-y, these brownies are pure Fall, luscious and disappearing too quickly.





  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 large firm-sweet apples, such as Pink Lady or Golden Delicious (about 1 pound total), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack to the middle position. Generously grease the 11-by 7-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer at high speed or using a hand-held mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and apples and stir by hand until evenly combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined, another 30 seconds.
  3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and lightly firm to the touch, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then cut into 12 bars and transfer to a serving platter.

Yield: 12 bars




by Mr. Cornelius

Here’s the easiest treat of all to make. Simply dip some nutter butters into melted white chocolate, cool a bit on wax paper, then attach mini chocolate chips for eyes. Some people like to completely submerse their cookies into the chocolate, but I find it’s easier to handle them if you only dip them about 3/4 of the way in.


Mr. Cornelius plans to share these with the trick-or-treaters tomorrow night, when we’ll also have free books for them to take home.




♥ with love from ♥

Apple Dumpling (née Ramen Baby), Mr. Cornelius, and 50-something Paddingtons

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poetry fridayJone is hosting the Roundup this week at Check it Out. Fly over on your broomstick and check out all the tasty offerings on today’s menu. As they say in only the darkest circles, Boo-la-la!



wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts! Put on your most bootiful bibs and aprons, and come join the fun!



Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


57 thoughts on “friday feast: fly soup and apple brownies

  1. I want to come trick or treat at your house, Jama – yummy cookies and books! I love the way Elli’s poem grew and grew…no wonder she preferred the little old fly. Such fun!


  2. I love the preposterous humor and word play. “”Ladle the lady” Haha!
    All the recipes sound delicious- especially the apple dumplings with rum cider sauce. Mmmm….


  3. So many sweets and treats! We serve pumpkin soup at Thanksgiving but really should be a Halloween food – no flies or other beasts though 😉


    1. I’ve never had pumpkin soup — if it’s similar to butternut squash soup, I’d probably love it. A few insects in the bowl will add to the flavor. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful treat of a poem, Jama & Elli, love the idea of that spider lounging! The apple ‘brownies’ sound wonderful, especially as I am an apple lover, & it does sound delicious. What a treat for your visitors tomorrow night, nutter-butter ghosts & books! Happy Halloween!


  5. Elli’s site is fantastic! Love her wordplay and sense of fun. I’ve made cookie ghosts before…they do look more adorable when seated with a bear.


  6. Happy Halloween Eve to you Jama! Your blog posts are always uplifting and full of fun. This poem is wonderful! Thank you for introducing me to Elli. And I guess I’ll be baking today. Those brownies look simply delectable.


  7. Love Elli’s poem! I’m sure the waiter had to resign himself to not getting a tip after such a dining experience. Cornelius is a brave fellow cuddling a skeleton and a tasty ghost. Once again, great post, Jama! =)


    1. Cornelius mustered up all his courage to pose with those people. He claims the only antidote to nightmares is more cookies and brownies!


  8. I had three-fourths of a donut today, but I definitely would have preferred an apple brownie. (I gave in to overtiredness and the fear that I wouldn’t make it through the workday without glazed sustenance.) I will definitely seek out Elli’s site! Have a very “bat” day tomorrow! I “witch” I was around to comfort you with apple brownies if you do.


  9. So much fun! I love the poem you shared, and the food it inspired, especially the detour into Halloweeny treats. And sorry to have missed last week’s PF, especially as you were hosting. The sonnet I had planned took much longer than I thought it would. Blessings, Brenda


  10. Oh, gosh – that cross between “fly in my soup” and “old lady who swallowed a fly” – that was so fun!

    I want apple pumpkin walnut muffins now.


  11. Your recipes sound divine, as usual, Jama. Thanks so much for sharing Elli’s fun poem and the scrumptious apple brownies recipe!


  12. Well, then. After we finish up the apple crisp that’s in the oven, methinks we’ll be having some apple brownies!

    LOVE the poem! I’ll have to print it and add it to my collection of Old Lady Who Swallowed a _______ books! Very creative!!


  13. Ha!!! I love the poem and the laughs. I make apple cake often (what my family calls these apple brownies). Pumpkin and apples and nuts = fall!


    1. Yes, you would like those apple brownies . . . but there are very few things you don’t like when it comes to food . . . 😀


  14. I am making these brownies tomorrow! I love the cookie ghosts — I wish I could could have made them for my daughter’s school party, but peanuts are banned (so many kids now with allergies).


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