Recipe: Blackberry & Apple Crumble

Confession time: I’ve never been a fan of cooked fruit. Actually, I’m not really a huge fan of fruit in general, much preferring to get my five-a-day from vegetables. Despite my mum regularly making crumbles throughout my childhood, it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve accepted anything other than a bowl of custard (yep, on it’s own). This year I was actively looking forward to Autumn and the hedges brimming with blackberries just waiting to be picked.

Now, this recipe is perhaps a bit more faff than a standard crumble recipe. I used to just chop the fruit, throw it into a dish with a spot of sugar (and perhaps a dash of slow gin). Rub together butter, sugar and flour, heap on top of the fruit mixture and bake. Simple, took about five minutes and the results were good. This, however, takes it one step further. The fruit is stewed beforehand, lightly so it doesn’t turn to mush, but enough so that all the flavours come together that little bit more. The topping is pre-baked, so there’s whilst there’s a bit of comforting stodge, it’s not leaning towards the glue-y raw flour end that I was always coasting before. It’s still super-easy, it still is pretty quick to put together. It’s our go-to Sunday evening treat right now. Served with a generous helping of fridge-cold cream, eaten wrapped in a blanket in front of a film. You can’t get more hygge than that!

Recipe – serves 2

  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 90g unsalted butter at fridge temperature, cut into pieces
  • 300g cooking apple (usually one large Braeburn), peeled and cored
  • 30g brown sugar
  • a large handful of blackberries
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • cream, to serve

Tip the flour, caster sugar and ginger into a large bowl. Add 60g of the butter, then rub into the flour until the mix resembles. Sprinkle the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at roughly 200C, or until lightly golden and smelling gorgeous.

Meanwhile prep the fruit. Pop the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and melt together over a medium heat. Cook for 3 mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel. Chop the apples into roughly 2cm dice, then add to the caramel and cook for 3 minutes. Add the blackberries and cinnamon, and cook for a couple more minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave to stand.

When ready to serve, spoon the fruit into an ovenproof dish, top with the crumble mix, then bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Serve with cream (or vanilla ice cream!).

And now here’s a disclaimer – I actually put W on crumble-duty the vast majority of the time. It’s just so much yummier when someone has cooked it for you – and he makes far less of a mess (hence why I finally managed to photograph these!).

Are you a fan of fruit crumbles? What’s your favourite fruit combo?

Recipe: Mango, Lime & Chilli Ice Lollies

One thing I love is curling up in the evenings, with a good book or girly chick-flick on the TV, tucking into a bowl of ice-cream. I can’t resist (half price!) Ben & Jerry’s, I have a major softspot for Peanut Butter Cup. But ice-cream doesn’t like me.

 photo Mango Chilli and Lime Ice Lollies 3_zpspkydk4oe.jpgFor one, I’m slightly lacto-intolerant. Whilst previously I could avoid milk and indulge every now and then, it does seem to be getting slightly worse. My occasional bowl of ice-cream is now closely followed by a few days of bad skin, and my stomach certainly doesn’t thank for me it. Thankfully I’ve come up with a few delicious alternatives that don’t leave me spotty AND are healthy enough to enjoy a couple of times a week. The first is these ice-lollies.

Sweet, refreshing and slightly spicy, these Mango, Lime and Chilli ice-lollies are perfect to stash in your freezer. Quick and easy to make, and completely delicious – my kind of recipe!

 photo Mango Chilli and Lime Ice Lollies 2_zps1c2wvjtt.jpgIngredients (fills 6 standard lolly moulds):

  • 4 ripe mangoes
  • Half red chilli, very finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • A tiny bit of sugar to taste (I didn’t include this as my mangoes were super ripe and sweet)

Peel and chop the mangoes, then tip into a blender. Whizz until completely smooth, then pass through a sieve into a large jug. Stir through the chilli and lime zest/juice and taste to decide whether it needs any sugar. Pour into the lolly moulds and freeze until solid.

Perfect as a ice-cream alternative, and these also add in a bit of sunshine to a cold January evening. Though seeing as W got the Kitchen-Aid ice-cream attachment for his birthday I may just have to play around with some dairy-free ice-cream recipes soon…
 photo Mango Chilli and Lime Ice Lollies 1_zpsbvnkqlg5.jpg

Have you even made your own ice lollies? What’s your favourite ice-cream flavour!

Lifestyle: An Ice-Cream Date

I love ice-cream, and I love date nights. Something that combines the two is pretty much my idea of perfection. Back when we were still at sixth form, me and W would quite often head out for a cheapy meal after I finished work on a Saturday. We’d always decline desert, and instead head to the cinema. Or, specifically, to the Ben & Jerry’s counter. Something about ice cream just finishes a night off perfectly, and there’s nothing more romantic than arguing over flavour combination and fighting over the last spoonful…! Whilst we were away in Oxford we discovered my dream place, and I’m gutted I didn’t know about it that first night. One trip just wasn’t enough…

 photo 2015-01-31 21.13.20_zpsxkqbhiwd.jpgG&D’s is justttt outsite the city centre, and is open 8am until…midnight. Yep, midnight! I so wish there were more places like this, relaxed, no alcohol, and open late. Perfect for chatting away, working on that bit of coursework or just relaxing. I’d be in there all the time if there was one local to me! They sell a huge variety of ice-creams (and also bagels and pizzas too, which smelt yummy!) and ice-cream related deserts, and all at pretty reasonable prices.

 photo 2015-01-31 21.13.00_zps4fk5wjdz.jpg photo 2015-01-31 21.12.35_zpsz2akpp5f.jpgI went for a couple of scoops of their chocolate ice cream (their Reese’s Pieces had just sold out) with Peanut M&Ms and hot fudge sauce. A hugely generous portion, the sauce was rich and smooth. But the ice cream! It was delicious. Chocolate but light, full flavoured but not sickly. Honestly one of the best I’ve had (and I kept a notebook scoring chocolate ice cream between the ages of 7 and 10!).

 photo 2015-01-31 21.28.46_zpsopvcga8z.jpgWill enjoyed a Cookie Monster Sandwich – two cookies of his choice (one chocolate, one Daim bar) surrounding a scoop of icecream. He agrees about the quality of the chocolate! And for one of the first times I saw a dessert defeat him…with half a cookie to go. We had already gorged on Byron that night though!

If you fancy what is in my mind the perfect at-home date, Hungry House are currently running a promotion whereby any takeaway order placed on hungryhouse of £15 or more will bag you a free movie or TV show from CinemaNow. Yummy food and free entertainment, what’s not to love?!

What was the last date you went on? Anndddd…what’s the best ice cream you’ve ever had?

Love Your Leftovers: Easter Egg Sundae

Now, I’m not too sure you can really classed any not-eaten chocolate as leftovers, but what I am sure of is that at some point you might want a different way to enjoy it. I know I do! Its been just over a week since Easter and my progress through my Eggs is remarkably slow (put it this way, I still have chocolate from Christmas waiting to eaten…) so I decided to make up a dessert as a treat for my and my boyfriend…enter the Easter Egg Sundae!

 photo 2014-04-24202547_zpsacd779aa.jpgJust use half an Easter egg as your ‘bowl’, add two/three/however many you can manage scoops of ice cream, and top with whatever other chocolate you have lying about. I’ve seen it done with a creme egg, but I’m on my last one so wasn’t about to share!

We used a Cadbury’s egg as our bowl, topped with a flake, and our ice-cream? It has to be Ben & Jerry’s! This was a new flavour, “All or Nut-ting” which I have to say I’m not a huge fan of as it tastes a little cheap. And now I’m on the subject of ice-cream, I might as well tell you that my favourite flavour has to be Peanut Butter Cup – perfection in a bowl!

 photo 2014-04-24202542_zpse344c3d1.jpgLet me know if you give this Easter Egg sundae a go, I’d love to hear your variations!