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!