Strawberry, raspberry and apple crumble aka mixed fruit crumble

Now I was lucky enough to be taken to Warsaw in Poland this week by my wonderful boyfriend J. I have plenty to tell you about my trip but while I sort out my photos I thought I’d share this recipe with you.

Now this recipe makes fruit taste absolutely wonderful – even those watery strawberries you sometimes buy when they’re not quite in season. I ended up making far too much crumble topping compared with the fruit I prepared but I froze the rest, ready to make another. Crumble is a fantastic dessert all the year round; you can use whatever fruit is in season, you can scale the size of them up or down, its warming and hearty and deliciously filling. I made this for when I went to my Uncle’s house for Sunday lunch and his only criticism was that I didn’t make a bigger crumble. (Next time, I promise!)

I would suggest using more fruit than I did – maybe double the quantity. The oats add crunch and texture and are packed full of nutrients. While nobody could argue that this is healthy, it’s certainly better than some desserts. You can make the fruit part in advance, or even do what I did and cook the crumble 5 minutes less and then reheat in the oven just before serving. It really is that versatile.

To make this you will need:

(For the fruit base)

1 punnet strawberries

1 punnet raspberries (or half a bag frozen raspberries)

1 apple

Caster sugar

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract (or a vanilla pod)

 

(For the topping)

110g butter

110g Demerara sugar

150g plain flour

50g porridge oats

 

(Serves 4, with extra crumble topping for freezing)

 

Peel and chop the apple and cut the strawberries into bite sized pieces. Add all the fruit to a pan. Cover the fruit well with the sugar (you can adjust the amount of sugar later). Add the vanilla.

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I seem to cook a lot with fruit, purely because it’s so pretty and colourful!

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Sugar do do do do do do

Heat the fruit on a medium heat. Keep stirring the fruit and it will start to thicken after a few minutes. When the fruit starts looking more juicy taste the juice and add more sugar if you think it needs it.

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When juice starts to be release you know its half way to being ready.

Leave to cool for a while in order for the fruit to thicken more. At this point your whole kitchen should smell wonderfully fruity. Embrace it.

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To make the crumble topping preheat the oven to 180°C. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and give a mix so everything is dispersed thoroughly.

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Brown sugar!

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Add the butter. Rub the dry mixture into the butter so that it forms “breadcrumbs”.

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Put the fruit into an oven proof dish (I like to use pyrex dishes). Top with your crumble topping.

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Put into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crumble is golden and crunchy on top.

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I cooked it for a further 5 minutes from this point

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Serve hot with whatever you fancy. My Uncle and cousin like custard, my Auntie and I had a bit of cream and coconut ice cream. After roast chicken dinner and this crumble we were all feeling pretty full. Luckily I’d had a tiny lunch which made everything taste all the better.

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Yum yum yum

I hope you like this recipe as much as I enjoyed making it.

Food gawking

So, I haven’t quite jumped onto the instagram bandwagon yet (I probably should for blogging purposes). However, having more than a passing interest in food, I tend to collect photos of beautiful food in every form. A lot of these pictures are things my friends have made or are meals in restaurants I’ve reviewed. I hope you enjoy having a look at my food (and a couple of non food) adventures.

Some information about where I ate out at Wagamama and So! by clicking on the links.

The Cake and Bake Show, Manchester

As mentioned in my previous post I was at the Cake and Bake show at the weekend first with J, then accompanied by my parents. It was nice to go and absorb some knowledge and buy some cool kitchen stuff (zombie biscuits will be a definite blog post). I particularly liked all the demonstrations from various people in the food industry and as much as anything else I was inspired to get a bit more creative in the kitchen and even attempt my own bread – something I have been putting off for years. In addition, I can safely say I will take on board a lot of the tips given, especially about icing cakes which doesn’t happen to be a strength of mine.

J and I also spent a considerable amount of time watching the people of Billington constructing their gingerbread village. J was pretty freaked out by the gingerbread boy. To be fair, it was almost as tall as me and reminded us of something from Doctor Who.

This is a highly edited selection of the photos I took from both days.

Oh and if anybody is interested I bought: zombie biscuit cutters, vanilla bean paste and a piping nozzle for cupcakes. My wonderful parents also treated me to a whizzy whisk (a hand whisk) so hopefully you will see lots more recipes involving it!

Also if you happen to be attending the London event make sure you watch any Bake Offs involving previous “The Great British Bake Off” contestants. The funniest half hour of my week was watching Cathryn and Brendan making cookies (mainly because of some seriously sticky cookies and the children judging the competition).

Edinburgh part 2 – Tigerlily (So I procrastinated a bit with this post)

So you know from a previous post that J and I had a weekend away at the end of January to celebrate our 5 years together. Well I have a second restaurant review for your entertainment and enjoyment. I didn’t review every restaurant we visited as it does get pretty wearing I think for friends, partners and family when you are taking pictures of their food and saying “Don’t eat that! I need a photo for my blog!”. I did, for a variety of reasons, put off writing this for some time as we are now half way through March. Silly me!

Anyway, the staff at the Tigerlily (which is a boutique hotel with a fabulous restaurant) were completely lovely and managed to fit us in despite our lack of booking. The menu was lovely and pretty fashionable looking (not that I really know all that much about food fashion) making it difficult to choose. The restaurant was beautifully decorated and somehow it felt really intimate despite being really busy, mood lighting and the way it was all set out was probably something to do with this.

Enough scene setting, onto the food. I do apologise that the quality of the pictures isn’t the best. The “mood lighting” and me trying to be subtle made it difficult to get the perfect photo.

I started with tempura soft shell crab with wasabi mayonnaise and chilli and mango salad.

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I was really savouring these. The batter was perfectly crisp and the crab was divine. I could have eaten double the quantity but that says more about my love of battered seafood than portion size.

J had wild mushroom risotto, parmesan tuille and truffle oil.

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This picture really doesn’t do this justice. This was simply gorgeous, rich earthy flavours and perfectly balanced flavours. One of the best risottos I’ve eaten.

For my main course I had Szechuan pepper crusted tuna with bok choi and red miso.

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The tuna was cooked just how I like it. Rare in the centre and cooked but still tender on the outside. This was a great mix of flavours, especially the red miso which was unlike any miso I have tasted before. It was gloriously tart and really complimented the tuna.

J who had (more than once) said he fancied venison had Scottish haunch of venison with caramelised onion, barley, kale and juniper jus.

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The flavours of this dish were great. Really rich like venison dishes are supposed to be. J mentioned that the venison was a bit chewy, but as venison is ALWAYS free range it’s often less soft than other meats as the deer are run round in the wild allowing stronger muscles to develop. The meat had a lovely, rich taste though like you would expect it to have.

Now as a side note I should point out that J cycles and this was his last full weekend of eating what he liked without worrying. For dessert we decided to be really decadent and order chocolate fondue. We also discovered dessert wine (and a pretty amazing dessert wine at that). Looking at the restaurant menu it was called “Zuccardi reserva Torrontes Tardio.

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The fondue came with the above. somehow, even though strawberries are out of season and out of season strawberries are usually disappointingly tasteless to say the least. These weren’t, they were really tasty. I am of the opinion that Scottish strawberries are the nicest but my opinion may have been influenced by my Glasweigan grandmother taking me strawberry picking near Peebles one summer. I digress. Anyway, this dessert was glorious and we had lots of messy fun dipping the various items into the chocolate. The dessert wine was delicious and tasted citrussy, just like the wine list promised. J even piped up “goodbye chocolate” and he tucked in.

I will definitely visit both of these restaurants if I visited the city again. However, there are so many places to eat in this wonderful city I’ll always feel spoilt for choice and would obviously try lots of other eateries. I love Edinburgh as a city too, I have many happy memories of the places, both as an adult and as a child being taking around the Museum of Childhood with my parents, brother and grandparents. It’s a place I will keep visiting my whole life I think – even though the steps will inevitably cause a problem when I’m old and grey.

You can find out about Tigerlily here.

Bar and Grill Harrogate – Private dining fun

One of my little cousins (well not so little as he’s now 21 and has been towering over me since he was 13) celebrated his 21st birthday this New Years Eve. As my family love to celebrate special occasions by eating lovely food my Aunt and Uncle organised a pre birthday meal after Christmas at Bar and Grill in Harrogate. (Apologies for the late blogging, its so much easier eating the food, photographing it and then dozing off with a food baby than it is to motivate myself to write anything).

Anyway to set the scene, my Aunt and Uncle had booked a private dining room in Bar and Grill and it was an absolutely lovely experience being very well looked after by restaurant staff who were very pleasant and helpful. I spent a happy afternoon sitting gossiping with my mum and chatting to J and the rest of my family while eating delicious food. Unfortunately it isn’t very sociable going round the table photographing everybody’s food asking “what have you got there, eh?” so I just took pictures of what J and I ate. However, as a family of meat lovers, the majority of people had ordered steak anyway.

To start with I had asparagus topped with poached egg and hollandaise sauce:

How much does this poached egg look like a golf ball?

How much does this poached egg look like a golf ball?

Now I think asparagus and poached egg is a wonderful combination and I thought the hollandaise sauce was perfectly cooked.

J had smoked salmon which came in a citrussy sauce. It was absolutely wonderful, a must for smoked salmon lovers.

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To follow I had sirloin steak cooked rare. A nice touch the restaurant had was to come round and ask people how they liked their steak and to write it on the place cards so people got what they wanted.  The steak was beautifully seasoned and the veg was well cooked. The chips were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside (important as nobody wants a soggy chip!)

Steak

Steak

The steak looking way more exciting with fat chips

The steak looking way more exciting with fat chips

J had “Malayan chicken” which was Malaysian style chicken with sweet potatoes. He enjoyed it and what i tried of the dish was tasty.

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To finish, despite feeling pretty full I polished off a portion of sticky toffee pudding. The flavour of it was perfect, but as a personal preference I would have preferred a sponge with more dates in it – although I am aware that other people prefer different consistencies of the sponge.

Yum yum yum

Yum yum yum

J opted for candied orange creme brulee. I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to this but in my opinion it was tasty and the orangey flavour cut nicely through the custard.

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Creme brulee with shortbread – what more could a man want?

I would definitely recommend going to the bar and grill. The food was tasty, the staff friendly and helpful and the location is great 9ie a 3 minute walk from my house). I would definitely return as I’d love to try food from their normal menu.

You can find out more about Bar and Grill Harrogate and other locations here.

HereDeixis – In linguistics, deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information.