Tag Archives: dessert

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?!

a sort of goulash

goulash-ishWe had friends coming for supper on Sunday evening – lovely, as I love cooking for people, and don’t do nearly enough of it since we moved! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to cook, but I went to the butcher and bought some beautiful lean pork, and there was a big bag of mixed peppers in the fridge, so that was a start. I wanted to use some beans too, to pad it out, so found some dried butter beans on the pantry shelf on Saturday morning, stuck them in to soak, then cooked them in the slow cooker overnight.

I started off by deseeding and slicing thinly four peppers, red and yellow, and a huge spanish onion, and cooking them down in some olive oil. I added some cumin seeds and a splash of honey and some garlic, and it was heading towards Middle Eastern. Then in went some paprika, and we were off with goulash. More paprika followed, some fennel seeds, some caraway and then a jar of roasted peppers, sliced up. These give a lovely depth to a dish, and when cooked in the slow cooker, they sort of melt into the sauce. A carton of chopped tomatoes, some rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and seasoning, and the sauce was done.

This all went in the slow cooker (now devoid of its butter beans), and I diced and browned the pork, hurled it in the cooker, and then we just left it completely alone apart from the odd stir for about seven hours. The butter beans must have been very old – I know they accompanied us from Somerset – because they needed another 40 minutes on the boil, so they were added a bit later.

The dish was gorgeous – it made six servings, and four have gone in the freezer, as unfortunately our friends had to cry off due to illness.

supper 5 sept 2010We followed it with Molten chocolate cakes with raspberries and cream. There’s two of them left too. <parp>.

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.

gooseberry sponge pudding

gooseberry pudding

A friend of mine regularly sells produce from her garden to support the LibDems, and this week she was offering gooseberries.  I bought 10lbs (for a fiver!) – 6lbs have gone to make wine, 2 bags full in the freezer, and the rest I put into a pudding last night.

The goosegogs went into a bowl, and I put in a good sloosh of elderflower cordial (gooseberries and elderflower are a match made in heaven) and a little honey. I didn’t even bother to top and tail them!

I beat 5oz of marg and 5oz of sugar until it was light and creamy, then added 2 eggs and 5 oz of ground almonds bit by bit (egg, then half the almonds then egg then rest of the almonds) and a couple of teaspoons of vanilla essence.

Lobbed the mix on top of the fruit and scattered with quite a lot of slivered almonds, as I’d opened a new bag last week, and some of them didn’t fit into their airtight jar and I wanted to use them up.

Baked at 180˚ for 50 minutes.  Gorgeous.

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.