Sunday, May 13, 2007
Growing up, I was exposed to an entire bevy of literary reads that ranged from mythical legends to cottage tales and the world of magic & suspense.
Afternoons and nights were spent with my nose buried in pages thick with imaginative stories that never failed to enchant me.
Yes, I was that sort of kid - the bookworm. haha. You could try but you can never pull me away from a book. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl ranked high on my hot favourites list, and I have them to thank when it comes to finding a reason for my love of the literary word.
Both authors honed my imagination and I can never forget those stories with an English slant. The more I read Blyton's tales, the more I became enamoured by the traditional countryside setting that she most often uses. Think hot piping chimneys, gnomes, elves, lovely grannies and who can forget: pies and crumbles! Yes yes... there's always a hot apple pie cooling by the window sill and sometimes a hungry kid or elf will come stealing the pie.
I probably didn't think much of it then, but looking back, I think this is perhaps one of the many reasons why I've always wanted a quiet peaceful lifestyle like that. A quaint English cottage complete with fireplace and chimney, fine china tea cups with a pretty tea pot to match (not forgetting scones, raspberry conserve and clotted cream), an apple tree, a wooden swing, plus a sparkling pond/lake with elegant swans and a tree house, oh not forgetting a bird house with seeds for the little robins and sparrows and whoever who wants to 'visit' (squirrels included).
SOUNDS very much like a far fetched fantasy but I've got to say; this is really what I have in mind eventually. Oh, forgot to mention a lovely French kitchen! Complete with copper pots, ramekins, cocotte and a KitchenAid. I will have a huge oven and and and a wood fire oven for my thin crusted pizzas. Geez I really am dreaming big. What can I say, I'm an ambitious young lady. I'm thinking of afternoons spent baking, and enjoying my homebaked scones, croissants and apple crumble over English Breakfast Tea or Vanilla Tea for that matter, with my neighbours and friends.
What's with me waxing lyrical about my cottage-y dreams on this food blog? ha, I don't know, really! I was just reminded of it when I set out to try this simple apple crumble recipe a few days ago. When you're sick, and you're stuck at home, there's nothing much you can do but cook, and bake!
Seriously! I get so bored that I just wake up and open my recipe books, trying to see what I can whip up - that's my major source of motivation to get well soon. And I'm glad to say that this 'therapy' of sorts has worked! hahahaa.... sounds hard to believe but it has. I attribute it to lemon chicken risotto, apple crumble and some other foods (like fish porridge and soup noodles :)
Boy am I back into the whole baking and cooking frenzy. I just made onde onde and banana bread yesterday. My onde onde is purple!!! And I'm soooooo excited about it. Am going to rave about it in my next post. It's all natural, mind you - i used no artificial colouring. Stay tuned to find out what the secret is (actually, it's not that much of a secret if you know your groceries. hahaa). The banana bread turned out fine too! but more about that later.
I'm supposed to be talking about apple crumble now, which I love by the way. Then again, what's new huh? Dessert must be my second name :) Anyway, this apple crumble is dead easy to make. When baked, the natural juices and sugars from the apples secrete and the end product makes for a soft, tender bite. I used green apples so mine was a mixture of sweet and tart. I added extra oats to the crumble mixture because, well, I love oats and I like my crumble crunchy. You don't have to add that much sugar too. Go with what you're comfortable with. Besides, don't forget that the apples have its natural sweetness too.
Bake this for your mum for Mother's Day today if you still haven't got a clue on what to cook/bake for her! :)
Oh, and to all the mothers, and mothers-to-be in the near or distant future, plus my own mum - Happy Mother's Day!
700g (1 ½ lb) peeled and chopped cooking apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
50g (2oz) sugar
50g (2oz) plain flour
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the crumble:
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
50 g (2oz) rolled oats50g (2 oz) wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
15 g ( ½ oz) margarine
Preheat the oven to gass mark 7/220 degree celcius (425 fahrenheit).
Toss the chopped cooking apples in a bowl with the lemon juice.
In another bowl, combine the sugar, plain flour, lemon zest and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples then put the apples in a 23cm (9 inch) pie dish
To make the crumble mixture, mix together the soft brown sugar and the rolled oats, add the wholemeal flour and cinnamon, then rub in the margarine
Spoon the crumble over the apple mixture and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.