Monday, 10 September 2007

The re-wilding of Mrs SBW

The weekend saw a return to the regular weekend schedule; kids to drama class and vegetable shopping in the market afterwards. On Sunday I really wanted to see The AJS & Matchless Owners Club’s show at the Woolwich Arsenal, theses bikes are very good looking and were real giant slayers in their day. The display circuit was very short but it was still good to see and hear these museum quality bikes on the move.
I admit, I also thought I’d pick up a few brownie points by spontaneously taking the kids out. To my surprise Mrs. SBW offered to come and pick us up afterwards, she too had an agenda “let’s pick some blackberries for a crumble”.

Oxleas Wood is that rarest of things, an ancient deciduous woodland within the confines of a city. Most of the 8,000 year old woodland is on the southeastern slope of Shooters Hill, which overlooks London. On the 72 hectares grow Oaks, Silver Birch, Hornbeam and numerous coppices of Hazel. Being inner city woodland, litter has ‘sprouted’ everywhere you look. The kids loved it and even put 1-2% of the blackberries they picked into the tub. They were covered in juice by the time we headed for home.

Lets get crumblin’

Put your medium sized ovenproof dish into the oven and turn the oven up high
Peel, core and chop your apples. Rinse your berries in cold water.

There are many different ideas as to how to make a crumble, in this recipe I’ll show you the quickest and I think easiest method. The ruination of many a crumble is letting the stewed fruit juices soak into the uncooked crumble mixture. Don’t panic! I have a way round this! Miss out the stewing.

Once the apples (3+ per person) are chopped, chuck half of them into the pan.
Sprinkle the berries over the apples and add the remaining apples on top.
The apples and berries will get hot and some of the juice they make as they cook will evaporate the rest will sink to the bottom, away from the topping.
Yes it’s that simple!

While all that’s happening lets make the crumble.
In a big bowl put
Two parts flour – the 00 stuff from Italy is best – but whatever you have will be fine.
One part sugar – I use half and half, white and brown sugar
One part butter

For a medium sized pan each ‘part’ would be two ounces (50g). Squidge the flour, fat and sugar together until they make an ‘almost pastry’. A crumbly mix of, crumble.
Now sprinkle the crumble over the top of the hot fruit.
Slam the oven door shut with a confident swagger.
Cook until you’ve finished the main course or it looks done, which ever comes sooner

If you like a very think crumble topping treble the amounts.
Ground hazelnuts included with the flour are really good.
The better the ingredients the better the results.

Serve with crème anglais or my favourite, regular custard out of a packet.

Last word to Mrs SBW
“I keep finding purple spoons in the dishwasher, I hope you don’t think your eating anymore of my crumble”