Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Crumble perfection

Thank you all so much for your museum suggestions - what a great list we came up with between us! I want to go to ALL your favourite museums. The random number generator came up with the number SEVEN, which is Ali who added the Oxford University Museum of Natural History to the list. I want to know how, despite having grown up in Oxford, I have never even heard of this museum! I will be putting that right the next time I visit my parents or my brother & his family who all still live in Oxford - do any of them know about this secret museum too, I wonder?? Ali, please email me your address and I will get your parcel in the post to you as soon as possible.


This week I have mainly been thinking about food. In this house we all love a bit of crumble. Both G and I have cooked it for years. But each time we make it, it never seems to be quite as good as a crumble should be. You know - a gooey, fruity, sticky, crumbly crumble - just like the one your mother or your grandmother used to make when you were small. We come close - our crumbles are good - but they never seem to be quite as wonderful as the ones in our memories.

At the weekend, C shinned up our tree to pick the first bowl of 2009 cherries. He carried on picking, and climbing further and further up the tree until he was absolutely certain that he had enough for a cherry and apple crumble. I didn't really fancy making a crumble in the pulsating temperatures of last weekend, so I was fobbing him off with phrases like "Oh, you need LOADS of cherries to make a crumble, darling" and "I'm not sure there are enough ripe cherries yet for a crumble".

Then he fell out of the tree. Fortunately while I was not looking, and fortunately into the middle of the sweet orange bush. He limped inside with a scraped elbow and a sprained ankle and asked rather pitifully if his bowl had enough cherries for a crumble yet? Goodness, the guilt. I had my apron on and the mixer going before he'd even hobbled off to the sofa.

I vaguely remembered the last crumble G had made had rather a good topping. It was the plum crumble from my favourite summer recipe book, Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook. So I took the topping from that book and paired it with the filling from Annabel Karmel's Family Meal Planner. And you know what? It was The Best Crumble I Have Ever Made. Really. The Sarah Raven topping is heavy on the butter and gives a cakey, rich crumble - crucially not too dusty nor too oaty. I substituted almond flakes for hazelnuts but otherwise did exactly as she said. The secret to Annabel Karmel's filling is that she just briefly stews the fruit for a few minutes in a tablespoon of brown sugar to soften and sweeten it by precisely the right amount. Together these women work magic, I tell you.

Of course, there are no pictures. Like Driftwood's pavlova, we ate up every last scrap before I could get my camera out. Yum!


  1. Oh yum. Today I made a STRAWBERRY STREUSAL. Oh. My. You will love it more than life itself. Unlike you and Driftwood I have taken the photo but left the recipe at work so cannot blog yet! I shall just leave you with the temptation instead. It is fruity, sticky crumbly and GORGEOUS. Heeheeheehee....x

  2. I think (and I could be completely worng, and it all might have changed now) that you walk through the Museum of Natural History to get to the Pitt Rivers. And it had lots of bones. And was utterly fab - a deserving winner!

    Your crumble sounds fab. Goodness me, yes.

  3. That's my favourite crumble topping too!

    And how excited am I to be the winner? As for directions, Val is right - you go through the Museum of Natural History to get into the Pitt Rivers.

    Off to e-mail you...

  4. oh I hope the poor tree falling boy was healed with the most delicious sounding crumble in the world -- and hee hee, I'm so glad it's not just me that doesn't take photos xox


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