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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…


Even in a haze of volcano ashes the season for pic nics has finally arrived.

So yesterday we had the great pleasure of having tea in the garden (yay first time, even if it involved extra blankets)

Apart from vast amounts of tea, the main ingredient of this event was Crumble.

For those who do not know this delicacy: it is the simplest thing on earth and also the most satisfying. What could possibly be better than warm fruit, topped with crispy sweet topping from the oven?

A raspberry experiment...

Originally it was my Irish uncle Frank who taught my brother Olivier the recipe when we were little, but over the 4 years in London I have practiced and perfected. (kids love the messy mixing of the topping, the messier the better!)

The main lesson is that it is the combination of ingredients is where the real skill lies.
If the fruit is more soggy (raspberries) > add more flower to the topping
If the fruit is more dry (old apples) > add more butter.

If the fruitis more acidic (mango) > add more sugar.
etc. etc.

Then there is the quality of the ingredients:
Chunky moscova or demerara sugar and whole grain spelt flower are brilliant in the topping, while older apples or a variety of different kinds usually help the filling. Raspberries amp up the flavour of the pie,  but are more acidic and need apple to balance.

Rhubarb with Lavender honey...

Thirdly there is the addition of something extra.
The bog standard Apple crumble is brilliant already.
But if you want to make crumble really exciting, try using fresh ground cinnamon bark instead of powder. (It is an amazing difference) Cardamom is also a great addition to apples and it also works well with raspberries.
Or experiment with honey:  drizzle lavender honey over rhubarb. Or try Lime blossom honey on apples, yum!

If you are really adventurous you could try my New England version (merging a peach cobbler with crumble) adding lavender flowers to peaches. Truly a brilliant combination.
Vanilla pods and Pears are also great friends. (but make sure not to make it too sweet)

Newton's Pride

There are millions of possibilities, each one better than the next.

I remember really enjoying one of my more successful dinners, where one of the guests had brought his own apples… There we all were after the main course, peeling and assembling our own pudding… Ha. The Apples were an ancient race called ‘Newton’s Pride’ and how proud we were of the result 🙂

Sorry I am getting hungry again…

PS. thanks sooo much Bella for climbing in through the bathroom window when we locked ourselves out yesterday. And thanks Victor for letting us in… Hope you both enjoyed the adventure and the crumble. 🙂


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