Tag: crumble

winter is coming


Well, rather, autumn is here, and we’re back to more suitable cooking for the season.

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend; I made bread, pizza dough, and peanut butter and choc chip cookies on Saturday (recipes to come, I promise, but I’m still tweaking a bit), and on Sunday I did lamb and veg soup (or at least the components thereof), plum, apple and five spice crumble.

The soup involved roasting off £1.20’s worth of lamb bones from Morrisons, then boiling them down for stock, then picking the meat off them. There was actually enough meat for two big pots of soup, so some has gone in the freezer. Then I very finely chopped ¼ swede, 1 leek, 2 carrots and 1 courgette (takes bloody ages, but I never feel the food processor does it as well), and put them in the medium slow cooker with a glug of olive oil, and about ½” of water. Then this morning I married up stock, lamb and veg, together with 1 litre of veg soup left over from *last* week. That will do us for lunches for this week, with some crispbread or whatever.

The market stall in Hull was selling 2lbs of plums for a quid – rude not to, really. So I bought them, a *huuuuge* green cabbage, a cauliflower, and two Bramleys, for £3. Most of the plums went into a crumble – I say “most”, because I couldn’t fit them all into the pan. How I wish I had room for another freezer.

I halved them, and laid them flat in a heavy based frying pan, sprinkled with five space, and added about 1″ of water. Simmered until they were soft, then decanted them into a dish, and cooked the syrup right down. Added a peeled and chopped Bramley, topped with a oaty crumble mix and … nectar.

Pete constructed a pizza on Saturday – I use 500g of flour for dough, and it makes three pizzas for us, and freezes well. He used some smoked salami that we discovered in Aldi (along with various other stuff), and very nice it was too.

Sunday we dined on venison steak and braised red cabbage (both out of the freezer), and potatoes roasted with olive oil and rosemary. And the aforementioned crumble. It’s amazing how little meat we want these days – a 300g venison steak was plenty between us, and we used to eat 400g steaks each in the day.

This week, we will be mostly eating cabbage, I suspect. And soup. 🙂

a spicy plum crumble

A bit like bananas are in this house, are plums. In that I buy them, but don’t eat them. So there were eight going a bit scrotal in a bowl, and a couple of (very) wizened Bramleys in the veg drawer in the fridge. It was a cold day, Rainageddon was forecast (though didn’t arrived, because the Met Office appears to be unfit for purpose), and I planned a day in the kitchen. This crumble was part of it.

We don’t like sugar in our fruit, and we’re not very precious about peel either. So I just halved the plums and took the stones out, and chopped up the Bramleys, skin still on (but I did take the core out :). These went in a bowl, and we mulled what to add; in the end, we decided on cinnamon, and I sprinkled  maybe a couple of level teaspoons’ worth over the fruit.

Crumble mix is easy:

3 parts flour (white or brown, whatever you fancy)
2 parts marg or butter
1 part sugar

Bung it all in a food processor and whizz. I generally add something else at this stage – hazelnuts, chocolate drops (works very well with pears), or generally porage oats, which give a lovely nutty flavour.  About 3 tablespoons’ worth, probably. Porage yesterday, and a heaped teaspoon of ground ginger.

Pour over the fruit, bake at 180C for 45 minutes. Gorgeous.

Sunday cooking

I’m desperately trying to make some space in the freezer for the festering season, and also the weather here is utterly vile, so I had a bit of a Reactive day yesterday.

Chicken Pudding

I had a rather small tub of chicken pie filling – chicken left over from a roast, with bacon and veg in a white sauce. It wasn’t really enough for a respectable pie. So I chopped up a big leek, and sautéd it down in some olive oil. Half the leek went into the soup pot (more on that later) and the other half to bulk up the pie filling.

Then I made a suet crust with 6oz wholemeal flour, a bit of baking powder, 3oz of low fat veg suet (I know, I know, but it’s healthier), and some water. Lined a greased bowl with 2/3rds of it, popped in the filling, rolled the rest out to a lid. Topped with a piece of folded tinfoil, secured with a rubber band, courtesy of the postman, and bunged it in the slow cooker for 5 hours. We ate it accompanied with buttery sprouts and a really, honestly, tiny number of potatoes roasted in duck fat. And there’s half a pud left for later this week!

Plum and wizened apple crumble

I had a punnet of plums to use up, and three very wrinkled apples from the fruit bowl; they weren’t particularly nice apples to eat, but I couldn’t bear to just chuck them. I cut the plums in half, and laid them flat in a shallow pan; sprinkled them with some five spice powder, added half an inch or so of cold water, and then – in a spirit of experimentation – a tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur. These plums were quite hard, so it took about 12 minutes to soften them, turning them occasionally, and while they were cooking, I chopped the apples into fairly small dice. I did core them, but peeling them seemed like too much hard work.

I transferred the plums to an ovenproof dish, then bunged the apple into the liquor and softened it over a fairly high heat, so that the liquid reduced. Poured the resultant gloop over the plums.

Crumble topping was standard for this household – 2 parts wholemeal flour, 1 part porridge oats, 1 part sugar, 1 part marg. Blitz in the Magimix, pour on top of the fruit, pat it down. Bake at 180˚ for about 45 minutes. Serve with double cream. This pud will do us three evenings, as we try not to eat too much sweet stuff.

Meat loaf

We haven’t had a meat loaf for ages, and it’s a really nice thing to eat on a cold winter evening (it’s -5˚ here in Hull as I type, and it’s only just 4 p.m.!).

I’m not really a purist about these things, I just bung in what I have. So there was a pack of sausage meat, seasoned with sage and onion, that I got from Fields of Anlaby when I collected the goose last Christmas (!), a pack of pork mince, and a pack of beef mince. Probably about 700g in all. I found a pack of stuffing mix in the pantry, which bore a legend of “best before Oct 07” (oh dear). We opened it, and sniffed it, and it seemed OK, so I made it up with boiling water.

Pete finely chopped a couple of shallots, and then manfully mixed the meats and the stuffing by squidging with his (clean) hands, and he bunged in some tomato ketchup and some Lea and Perrins Worcester sauce. We pressed the mixture into two silicon loaf “tins”, put them in a bain marie, and baked at gas 4 for about an hour.

I left them overnight to cool right down, and today I turned them out of the silicone, and cut each one into three – that 700g of meat has made 12 portions; they don’t look big, but they’re solid meat.

Wrapped the portions in tin foil, and put them in the freezer (well, five of them – we’ll eat one tonight, probably). They can come out, and be cooked in the foil for a nice quick supper. Eat with a nice gravy, or even baked beans if you’re in a rush – who needs supermarket ready meals?!

blackberry and apple crumble

blackberry and apple crumble

At our old house in Somerset, we had stacks of brambles at the bottom of the garden, and I really do miss them – I must make an effort this weekend to go out and find some blackberries.

However, Sainsburys yesterday had a couple of punnets of cultivated blackberries (not at all the same, but still) in their reduced section, at 99p per punnet, so I grabbed them. I knew there was a cooking apple in the fridge that needed eating, so we were hot to trot!

The Magimix now has a nice shiny new blade, as I lost the old one – no, I don’t have the slightest idea how that could have happened; we’re always very careful with it, as it is exceeding sharp, but there you go – lose it we did.  I imagined it would turn up as soon as I bought a new one, but there’s still no sign of it, which contravenes all laws that I know of.

Anyway, I digress. I peeled, cored and chopped the apple, and dumped it in a pan with the blackberries, a tiny bit of water (about 1/4″, I guess), and a couple of teaspoons of honey, and cooked that down until the fruit was soft, then decanted into an ovenproof souffle dish.

Into the food processor went 6oz of wholemeal flour, 3.5oz of butter and 3oz of caster sugar (any sugar will do – I’d normally use demerara, but the jar was empty and I couldn’t be bothered to rummage for the spare packet).

Whizzed these into a breadcrumb like consistency, then added 2oz of porage oats, and blitzed. Poured the mix on top of the fruit, patted it down and cooked at gas 5 for 40 minutes.

Served with cream. This will do the two of us three days, as we try not to devour such things too quickly.

plum and apple porridgy crumble

We had some plums going scrotal in the fruit bowl, so I cut them in to quarters and destoned them, and put them in an ovenproof dish. They didn’t look enough, somehow, so I got a Bramley out of the fridge and peeled and chopped it, and into the dish it went.

Added a drizzle of honey (I much prefer fruit cooked with honey to sugar), a couple of star anise, a decent grating of fresh ginger, and about 1/2″ of water, and zapped it in the microwave for 4 minutes to kick start the cooking.

Made a crumble topping of 6oz plain flour, 2oz porridge oats, 3oz demerara sugar and 3.5oz of margarine, blitzed to crumbs in the Magimix. Patted it down on top oF the fruit, and baked at gas 4 for 45 minutes.

Needless to say, I got all the bits of star anise in my portion, but it was worth it. Trust me.

supper with friends

We’re frantically busy at the moment, what with house reorganisation, lots of work, and kittens to attend to. The latter had us inviting four friends round for supper and a KittinFest on Saturday.

I didn’t really have time for an elaborate meal, and I knew there was a stack of pork steaks in the freezer, and pears in the fruit bowl that needed eating up, so here’s what we had:

Pork and leeks in cider and cream

Chop up some pork steaks into bite sized pieces, and brown them in a large frying pan (one that has a lid is what you need),  some olive oil and butter.  Set aside, deglaze the pan with a bit of cider and pour that in with the pork.  Add more oil, and sauté as much leek as you like.  Put the pork back in, with more cider, add some chopped sage, and season.  Put a lid on, and cook over a low heat for about 1 hour.

Then fish out all the bits, and bubble the cider right down until there’s not much liquid left.  I actually added more cider, because it didn’t taste quite apple-y enough.  Then bung in a carton of double cream, and return the meat and leeks to the pan.  This can then be heated up when your guests arrive.  Served with sauté potatoes, and carrots, cauliflower and broccoli gently steamed.

Pear and chocolate crumble with  a hazelnut topping

Peel, core and slice up pears.  I added a couple of apples too, because I didn’t have quite enough pears (I found one later in the kittens’ toy basket, which was slightly surreal).  Add a little grated fresh ginger, a tablespoon of water, and a generous, but not ridiculous, scattering of good quality chocolate chips (I get mine from Costco).  Make a crumble topping of 7 oz flour + 1 oz hazelnuts, 4 oz marge or butter, and 4 oz of sugar (whatever you like – I did a mix of soft dark brown and caster, as that’s what came first to hand.

Put the fruit in an ovenproof dish, cover with the crumble topping, bake at gas 5 for about 45 minutes.  Serve with double cream.

Nice quick supper for friends – not showy, but they ate it all 🙂

kiwi fruit and apple crumble

kiwi fruit

using up: kiwi fruit, windfall apples

The veg box from the week before last (!) included four kiwi fruit.  Neither P nor I are enamoured of these little hairy chaps, and the only things people suggested we do with them were pavlova (Pete doesn’t like meringue) or cheesecake, which I couldn’t be bothered to make.

We still had a fair few windfall apples left, so this is what I did.

Peeled, cored and cut out the worst bruised bits of the windfalls, and put them in a pan with some water, and simmered gently for about five minutes.  I did this because I thought there was too much for one crumble, and I was going to freeze the balance.

P peeled and sliced the green things.  We drained the apple, and put a layer in the crumble dish.  There didn’t seem to be a lot of apple left at that point, so we added the rest (none to freeze).  I grated some fresh ginger over the top, and added a drizzle of honey, then we piled on the kiwi fruit.

Then a crumble mix: 6oz plain flour, 3oz brown sugar, 3oz butter, and about 1oz of hazelnuts went into the Magimix.  Whizzed it to breadcrumb texture, put it on top of the fruit, then into the oven at gas 4 for about 45 minutes.

It was … OK. We ate it, and we will finish the rest.  But we still don’t really like kiwi fruit.

plum (and pear) crumble

plums and pears

Using up: plums and a pear

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re not good with fruit.  we buy it, and are full of good intentions, but somehow we don’t actually *eat* it when we should.  So there was a punnet of six lovely golden plums sat by the fruit bowl, *looking* at me.  And a lone pear.

I cut the plums in half and removed their stones, and cut the pears into eighths; I’m afraid peeling wasn’t on the agenda.  I put the fruit in an ovenproof dish with about a tablespoon of water, then zapped it in the microwave for 2.5 minutes to start it cooking.  Then I added quite a bit of fresh grated ginger.

Crumble is easy – 2 parts flour (or equivalent*) to 1 part fat and 1 part sugar.  On this occasion, I used 5 oz of flour and 1 of walnuts, and whizzed it in the food processor with the butter, then added the sugar.  Put it on the fruit, pat it down, cook at gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes.  We ate it with good vanilla ice cream.

*Other things to substitute for some flour are porridge oats, or ground walnuts.

rhubarb crumble

rhubarb crumble

As always, bits of this are fairly random.  Serves 4 if they’re not overly greedy.

Take 3 good sticks of rhubarb, clean, trim, and chop into chunks.  I do mine in different sizes so you get a different texture when it’s cooked.  Some might say this was accidental, but it’s not.  No really.

Put into an ovenproof dish, and add a couple of dessertspoonsfull of elderflower cordial.  Or a bit more – I just went sloosh.  Sprinkle with some golden granulated sugar – probably the same sort of quantity, but we don’t like stuff too sweet.

In a food processor,  put:

150g plain flour
100g porridge oats
100g butter
100g soft brown sugar

Blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Keep an eye on it, but don’t worry if it goes a bit lumpy; you can always recrumble it with your fingers.

Spread this over the rhubarb, put in a pre-heated oven at gas 4 / 180C for about 45 minutes.  Best eaten warm, ideally (in our view) with good vanilla ice cream.