Tag Archives: crumble

Mini apple crumble

With an apple I will astonish Paris.
~ Paul Cezanne

It was pretty in the early cooking stages; less so as it neared completion. No creative turn of my camera could make it look good; I gave up after a few tries. Certainly it did not look promising by the time I removed it, cooked, from the oven. It also clung a little heavily to the pan, meaning it did not look cohesive or inviting on the plate. Only its very delicious smell gave me the courage to serve it (gulp) to my flatmate…

So why am I posting this? Keep it real, right? There are days on which everything goes swimmingly in the kitchen, and days on which everything is ugly and your hands feel cursed. But I’m not just posting this to show I’m human…

See, once we bit into it, I decided this deserves a second try sometime in the near future (perhaps with a lightly greased pan and a higher baking temperature – incorporated below). I like having a recipe for a small dessert around (most dessert recipes always feed more!). And, more importantly, we were both surprised by its golden crunchy crumble crust (dare I say, perfect!) and tender caramelised apple filling… mmm.

    Mini apple crumble
    Recipe adapted, with a few modifications, from Sew Happy Geek
    Ingredients:
    2 apples (I used Granny Smith)
    1 tbsp caster sugar
    1/2 cup plain flour
    45g butter, cubed
    1/3 cup sugar (I used a mixture of 2 parts caster sugar, 1 part muscovado sugar – just under 1/3 cup)
    1/2 cup rolled oats
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    2 tbsp kahlua
    Cream or ice cream, to serve (optional)
    Method:
    Preheat the oven to 190°C*. Lightly grease an oven-proof baking dish.
    Peel and cube the apples, and place them in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of sugar. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, till they soften and are partially cooked.
    Meanwhile, rub the butter cubes into the flour with your fingers till it takes on the texture and look of breadcrumbs. Add in the cinnamon, ground ginger, sugar and oats, and mix well with a whisk or fork.
    Add the apples, any liquid in the saucepan and the kahlua to the bottom of the baking dish. Stir gently before spreading the apples out in an even layer.
    Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the apples, then place the dish in the oven to bake for approximately 40 minutes*, or until the top is cooked/golden and it all smells delicious! Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve with cream or ice cream, if desired.
    Yields 2-3 servings.

* The original recipe says to cook it at 180°C for 20 minutes. It emerged with a way undercooked crust for me after 20 minutes, so I increased the temperature to 190°C for a further 15 minutes, then 200°C for yet a further 10 minutes. I suspect 190°C is optimum crumble-baking temperature (based on a few quick Google comparisons too), and that a crumble takes more than 20 minutes to cook. Obviously you should also factor in your oven’s size and personality!

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Mmmmmmm crumble

I have an enormous fondness for delicious food. It’s very comforting.
~ Teri Garr

I turned 24 this week, and friends, family and circumstances have all contributed towards making it a truly splendid birthday. It does makes me laugh, though, to think about the fact that each year I get an extra number awarded to me; a number to stick on my age and recite with pride. To be able to say “Hey, I’m 24, no longer 23!” feels like a prize I don’t deserve, for each year, I am more humbled by people, by life, by myself; I am more conscious of just how much I don’t know.

I wonder if I’ll ever really grow up. There’s just so much to learn and explore.

About love and family, for instance. Recently, I spent an entire morning with my Dad. I didn’t realise how much I didn’t know about him as a man, a person. I didn’t realise just how much he loved me. I didn’t realise how he has grown so much in humility. We talked in the sunshine, sharing stories and secrets. We admitted our faults. We talked about dreams.

There were points at which I could not hold back tiny streams of tears; but they fell in the midst of such happiness.

It is a mistake to underestimate the ones we love, or to think we couldn’t know them better. It is a mistake to think that secrets protect us; the opposite is true. There is a powerful, magnificent freedom in truth – a glorious thing to really know and be known.

Recently, I also came to realise a few things about myself. The last few months have been hectic with lots of things happening – challenges in every area – country relocation, job uncertainty, relationships… I had wonderful moments in the midst of things, of course, but I also experienced despair, anger and other indescribable feelings.

I came face to face with some things I’ve never resolved. It was scary and tough, but it felt good to face them and deal with them.

A few nights ago, I cried heavily, only this time – the tears felt hopeful, and I did not feel crushed. After the tears, I saw only clarity.

It’s great getting to know myself. To explore. To know others. To seek. To find. To touch and wallow in life – thrills, horrors and all.

I do hope this journey never ends.

Before I sign off, I’d like to share a recipe for some delicious crumble (too good not to share – and thanks Matt, what a treat tonight)!

As always, recipe writing doesn’t come naturally to me – but there is great fun to be had in experimenting, so take the recipe as a guide and make your own yummy version!

    Sweet and spicy crumble
    Ingredients:
    3 cans of fruit (we used apricots, mangoes, pears)
    Light brown sugar
    Muscovado sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp chinese five spice powder
    1.5 tbsp amaretto
    50g fresh ginger, grated
    Crumble topping:
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 cups rolled oats
    100ml olive oil
    3/4 cup light brown sugar
    1 tsp chinese five spice powder
    Method:
    Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    Slice the canned fruit, and arrange the fruit slices in a flat layer on the base of an oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon, grated ginger, amaretto and sugars evenly across the fruit.
    In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the crumble topping until well combined, adjusting the quantity of oil if needed. Spread this evenly across the fruit mixture.
    Bake the crumble for approximately 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and it is bubbling inside. Your house should also be smelling wonderful!
    Serve with a generous scoop of French Vanilla ice cream. If you can, pour yourself a glass of sweet late harvest too – perfection!
    Yields approximately 5 servings.

The sweetest spears

One word, in this place, respecting asparagus. The young shoots of this plant, boiled, are the most unexceptionable form of greens with which I am acquainted.
~ William Andrus Alcott, The Young House-keeper

I love the pure, magnificent sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Oh, I do adore the golden spark of chocolate chip cookies and smooth decadence of berry cheesecake… but there is something so honest and good about earth’s bounty that sets it apart from anything flavoured/modified/processed.

A crunchy asparagus spear, for instance, is like a springtime shower to me. Fresh. Playful. Invigorating.

I chewed on one such stalk while cooking a slightly modified version of this dish from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries” tonight:
#47 Linguini with Asparagus & Prawns – Page 293

Modifications: I adjusted the quantities of ingredients to make half the amount of pasta, and used frozen cooked prawns instead of raw prawns, spaghetti instead of linguini, and port instead of brandy.

Hey, asparagus puree makes a good sauce base.

If tonight’s dinner was a musical, thyme was the soundtrack. The fresh thyme sprigs smelled amazing in this dish. I stood stirring and humming in the kitchen, bending down every so often to draw in a deep breath, eyes closed, head slightly woozy from its sweet, distinctive fragrance.

If I ever master the elusive technique of growing green things successfully, I will plant a herb garden. One thing I’ve discovered through this cook-through project is the absolute magic of fresh herbs. I can liken my fresh herb experience to the day I first tasted a chocolate truffle from a chocolatier. It seemed ridiculous that I had once been utterly satisfied with chocolate bars from the supermarket.

Oh, and prawns! I love prawns. Grandma’s prawns fried with chilli and black sauce. Prawn dim-sum in Chinese restaurants. Prawn tapas. All seafood, actually, is heavenly – the French apparently call it fruits de mer – ‘fruits of the sea’ – a gorgeous expression, don’t you think? Anyway, a bag of lovely pink prawns went into this dish… delightful.

The result was a sweet palatable pasta dish, simple, light and satisfying. All turned out well considering the fact that my first lot of pasta, in my carelessness, scalded me and disappeared down the insinkerator because I didn’t grasp the pot firmly while draining the water out. Tips: 1. Always keep spare pasta in the pantry. 2. When draining cooked pasta, hold on tight to that pot or use a sieve! :-)

Matt also baked us all a fruity crumble – a hearty tasty dessert, a sweet finish to our night!

PS. I’m really sorry about the quality of some photographs on my blog (especially those taken at night time under unforgiving artificial light conditions), by the way. I have a very basic camera which doesn’t like night as much as I do… and I don’t edit any of my photos before I post them.