Thursday, 8 November 2007

Frugal - who am I trying to kid?! ...and a very good Pear Apple and Ginger Crumble

It's been a while. I started this post on Thursday of last week. I fear I'd got blogblock. I'd call it writer's block but that would be fraudulent. Could you imagine the reaction? I'd have the blog police on to me within a day! Receiving money for writing training courses and travel brochures doesn't really count towards being a writer or does it.... as it was for jobs that included things other than just writing I'm guessing it still doesn't count. I may go off on many tangents today so feel free to leave now or skip to the end for the crumble.

Early last week I had the pleasure of spending the morning with a lovely lady who taught me how to make a Sweet Indian Rice Dish. This was no gloopy rice pudding, it was dry, sweet and scented with cloves, cassia bark and cardamons. I'll post the recipe soon. (Thank you T, it was good fun and I loved learning to cook with you. I know other people would too!) I also got some history of how and why Sikhs celebrate Diwali. It was fascinating and you can click here, here and here to find out a little more.

I had every intention of recreating this rice dish for Diwali (The Hindu Festival of Lights). Celebrated last week around the world. Houses were cleaned, lamps lit, windows and doors opened to entice Lakshmi (the Hindu Goddess of Wealth) to enter. Unfortunately we had one child feeling sick and one with a temperature/really bad cold so there was no house cleaning and no Indian food for them. The hot snotty one is still that way. Something about starting pre-school that seems to do it every time! I spent Diwali evening with one of my oldest friends and her dog, we lit two candles and ate ready prepared Indian food from Waitrose...

I recently wrote about trying to be more frugal. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth that no sooner had I typed the words I seemed to spend the next few weeks being more wasteful than I have been in a long time. I think what triggered it was leaving the freezer door open over night and having to throw away, among other things, our huge harvest of frozen blackberries. Harvested over weeks from our garden and local hedgerows. I was thoroughly peeved and it obviously sent me into some kind of downward spiral. I don't think we should feel guilty for eating and celebrating food. The world is as it is, but I do think we should spare a thought for those who don't have it so and I certainly think I need a good talking to for being wasteful!

Have you seen the book Hungry Planet - what the world eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, originally published in 2005, or The Atlas of Food - Who eats what, where and why by Erik Millstone and Tim Lang, originally published in 2003? They're very sobering and well worth a read. Important too if you're teaching your children about food and cultures from around the world. Other people have written about the book Hungy Planet recently, Joanna is one, Kalyn is another some time ago, infact it was Kalyn's post on Blogher that prompted me buy the book. Click here for a link to Peter Menzel Photography and here for a link to a slideshow of pictures from the book.

Climbing down from soap box now... I've been looking at some pears in a cauldron from Halloween for the past 2 weeks thinking I must make some crumble before they walked out and made their own way to the wormery. This morning I finally shook the lazy cloak off! I got the pears, cut the bad bits off (as I'd left them for so long there were more bad bits than good bits). I was left with so little pear to make pear crumble that I had to use 3 apples to bulk it up and the last of a jar of ginger preserve (best before date April 2007 - my mother-in-law will be in shock, and possibly proud if she reads that). There would have been so much more of this delicious crumble if I'd only made it earlier but then I might not have added the apple or the ginger conserve. I'd go as far as to say that despite this rambling crazy post this is one of the best crumbles I have ever made.

Pear, Apple and Ginger Crumble
Approx 150g ginger conserve (we used Waitrose out of date, open for months in the fridge!)
2 pears (cored and chopped)
3 small apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
5 tablespoons of apple juice

Cup plain flour
Half a cup of butter (chopped into pieces)
Third cup of sugar (we used unrefined golden granulated)

Put the fruit, ginger conserve and apple juice in the bottom of an oven proof dish. Then onto your crumble mix. If you're lazy use a packet. If you're still lazy but have a couple of minutes to spare and no scales then put one cup of plain flour in a large bowl, to which add half a cup of butter chopped into pieces, Rub this together to make a fine breadcrumb like texture. Then add a third of a cup of sugar and mix. Sprinkle this over your fruit and cook in a pre-heated oven (175C) for 35-40 minutes.

If your children like ginger they should love this. If not, more for the grown ups!

It would appear the blogblock is unblocked! Get it back - I hear you shout!


Asha said...

Ginger crumble looks yummy.
That book is interesting, I will check it out.
I go thru' blog block too, create a whole post sometimes at the last minute ie Tuesday evening!!:D

slush said...

I am in love with fruity cakes right now. Ive made apple cake at least 3 times this past month. Jaos loves coffee cakes and crumbles. This would be right up his alley. Great recipe!

And I often find I used something that expired. Its a wonder I havent poisoned us all by now. xo

Deborah said...

I checked that book out from the library quite some time ago - it was very interesting and very humbling to read.

The crumble sounds amazing - I haven't baked in over a week and really am itching to make something!!

Aimée said...

Sorry to hear about loosing your garden harvest and blackberry stash. That's too bad.
A totally yummy looking crumble, though! I bet it tasted great!

Joanna said...

Thanks for the link

The crumble looks great - I've been making apple crumble for the past couple of weekends.

It's too late now, and probably rather irritating to say it (sorry) - but I read on a blog a few days ago about making jam all year round from bought bags of frozen mixed fruit ... it seemed so obvious that it was hard to think why I'd never had that thought. But perhaps yours were too far gone ... such a shame, and SO easy to do


Kelly Mahoney said...

I'm trying to be more budget friendly. It's hard when I live alone because I can't eat fresh produce fast enough before it spoils.

Kelly-Jane said...

Your crumble looks yummy, and it sounds lovely too, anything with ginger gets my vote!

Hope your boys are on the mend now.

I've had my own share of the lazy cloak recently, must be the time of year or something.

For what it's worth I think bloggers are writers - as opossed to authors of published books.


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Asha, I can't stop eating it. Glad to know I'm not the only one who does things last minute.

Hi Laurie, I'm the opposite. I sometimes used to put things in the bin the day before they were out of date.

Hi Deborah, it's a fascinating book. They both are.

Hi Aimee, Do you know. I meant to make something with them and left them on top of the cooker. I had the oven on and forgot about them, by the next day they were mushy and mould had already appeared. Aarghh!

Hi Joanna, Not irritating at all. My mum said the same. I did mean to do cook them so I could then either re-freeze or something.. I now check the freezer door religiously.

Hi Kelly, That is difficult. If you have a big enough freezer, you could always cook the fresh stuff then freeze it. Then you could leave the door open and let it all go to waste just like me. You'd make me feel better...

Hi Kelly-Jane, It's definitely the time of year. The writing comment came about after reading a few things recently. I'll e-mail you the links when I get a moment. Couldn't help but poke fun at myself.

Thank you for your comments.
Amanda x

Annemarie said...

Ah, I hate having to throw out food - while I love enjoying it, I feel guilty if I squander it, and a freezer incident like yours would but me in a mood for days. Hope the kiddies are feeling better soon!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Annemarie, yes little Mrs Grumpy was the order of the day. The boys are much better thank you.

Amanda x

farmingfriends said...

I have more apples than I know what to do with so this recipe will come in handy - thanks. sara from farmingfriends

Anonymous said...

well, i'm glad you did not throw the pears away, the crumble sounds delicious and has inspired me to make one for hubby tomorrow, i have a dish of organic pears and apples which are just about past the use by, so thank you.
Love Mxxx

Nora B. said...

I've not heard of those two books, Amanda, so thanks for bringing them to my attention. Can't wait to see the Sweet Indian Rice Dish recipe.

Blogblock - I like that expression. And yes, it does appear that it's been unblocked!

The crumble looks so good! pear & ginger go so well together.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Sara, it was such a good combination. My friend tried it and loved it, she said her sister makes a pear and ginger cake. I'm going to get the recipe.

Hi Mum, it was lovely but I think I'd use my normal crumble topping recipe in future as that one seemed to come together too much after cooking. It was great when it first came out of the oven but the next day it was more like a dense cake. I will of course say this to you on the phone incase you don't read this.

Hi Nora, unblocked it certainly has been! tee hee! The books are great and the Hungry Planet one has just been released as a softback so it's a more reasonable price now.

Thanks for your comments
Amanda x

tash said...

I haven't read those books you mentioned, but you've given me the impetus to look them up - however my husband has managed to leave the freezer door ajar and we have had to cook almost everything in the freezer in 24 hours! We ended up with some things we could re-freeze once cooked but I was devastated as I, like you had stockpiled heaps of summer fruit for use throughout the season.

It's annoying but at least you found it before it went seriously bad!

Hope you have a lovely weekend, and your crumble looks fab!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes Amanda the crumble looks and sounds divine. I wouldn't call the freezer door being left open wasteful, I'd call that an accident and maybe a disaster. Things happen even when we are doing our best to take care, so don't beat up on yourself too much.

ames said...

Oh, that looks lovely! I've only ever made crisps with oats in the topping, but yours looks so smooth and fine I'll have to give it a try. I hope I can find ginger conserve in my area...

Thanks for stopping by my blog too ;)


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