Blackberry and Apple Crumble

As the nights are drawing in and the days  begin to become a bit chillier its time to bring  the comfort food recipes back out of hibernation.

Crumble has to be one of my top 5 ultimate easy peasy comfort puddings. Here on the farm, ‘traditional’ fayre is still order of the day, and there is nowt wrong with a good old fashioned crumble.

Apple crumble on its own is pretty tasty, but combine it with the early autumn tang of ripe blackberries and it reaches another level of yumminess!

blackberry

Brambles or blackberries are pretty easy to find. Most people will have some bramble bushes nearby, even in towns. I can remember doing it as a child around the mean streets of west London, and I often see people brambling along grass verges in town or around carparks.  Just make sure to pick those that are a little higher up to avoid picking up an extra ingredient -dog wee! In addition, if you take your little ones Blackberry picking they can tick off number 21 on the National trusts list of things to do before 11 and 3/4’s .

DSC_0505 (1)

We lucky enough to have a small apple orchard on the farm, full of 100 year old trees that still bear fruit yearly. Granted their offerings aren’t the sweetest but pour enough sugar on and they are perfectly edible! Eating apples are fine to use, as are cooking apples.

For this recipe I used

  • 6 apples (approx. 1kg in weight)
  • approx. 200 g of brambles.
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar.

You can vary the quantities of apples, brambles and sugar to suit your needs and tastes.

First step: gather your ingredients, remove the butter from the fridge and allow it to soften. Preheat the oven to 180 (I’m using a fan assisted oven, so you might need to adjust cooking temp/time to suit your oven. As Mary Berry says, they are all different!)

DSC_0509 (1)

To make the filling

  • Wash, peel and core your apples, then roughly chop.
  • Place them in a saucepan and cover with a small amount of water. A couple of tablespoons should be adequate.
  • Add one or two tablespoons of sugar and leave to stew on a medium heat for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally to prevent them sticking to the pan.
  • Whilst these are cooking wash and pick over the brambles, removing any stems or leaves (or bugs!!).
  • When the apples have softened remove from the heat and add in the brambles.
  • Pour into a ovenproof dish ready for baking.

Creating the crunchy, crumbly topping.

DSC_0510 (1)

  • Cube the butter and then using your fingers rub it into the flour. This is a good time for little helpers to get involved!
  • You want the mixture to resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
  •  Do not be tempted to overwork the mix! You will end up with a stodgy, sticky thick layer that won’t cook well and will taste doughy. As soon as you have something that looks right, step away from the crumble!

DSC_0511 (1)

  • Top tip: Pour the crumble on top of the filling and don’t pat it down, leave it heaped.
  • Cook at 180C for 35-40 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown.

Et voila!DSC_0512 (1)

Serve with custard or ice cream (or if your feeling gluttonous, both!).

 

 

Day 21-A feast for the senses, part 2.

 

I love soup. I could wax lyrical about its good points for days. There is something particular delicious to be found in a steaming bowl of soup accompanied by crusty bread and maybe ‘un petit Morceau’ of cheese. There was a period during my student days when all I could afford was the ingredients for homemade lentil soup.

Nettle soup is something I’ve been wanting to try for ages, but have never found the time to do it. That’s the great thing I’m discovering about 30 Days Wild, it gives me an incentive to find time to spend in nature, doing things I love and enjoy. Seeing as the recent deluges and warm weather have blessed us with a bumper crop of nettles, I decided that tonight I would be dining on foraged goods.

I used this recipe from the Wildlife trust, which was very straight forward. One slight problem-no rubber gloves. I overcame this by wearing two pairs of latex gloves, which worked a treat. Then I set to work turning this

DSC_0333 (1).JPG

Into this.

DSC_0334 (1).JPG

 

C and JoJo were excused from tonight culinary experiment. Whilst they tucked in to pizza, I savoured my soup. It was delicious, if a little leafy! The nettles do taste similar to spinach, but with a less metallic flavour. It also smelled wonderful! I think a touch of garlic would have added something to the recipe, and I omitted the butter from my version. This recipe makes about 4 servings (big bowls, could stretch it to 6 if portion size is smaller). Next time I’m going to make a farmhouse loaf to accompany it.Give it a go and let me know what you think!