Someone’s Mum’s Simple, Yet Superior, Apple Crumble

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1 cup flour

¾ rolled oats, not quick or instant

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp. cinnamon

5 cups thinly sliced peeled apples

 

FOR THE SAUCE:

½ cup white sugar

2/3 cup filtered water

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 tsp. pure vanilla

2 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbs.water

 

  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water, vanilla and lemon juice.
  2. Bring to a boil then quickly remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch/water slurry, stirring till slightly thickened and shiny.
  3. Combine the first five ingredients listed and press HALF of crumbly sand gently into a buttered 9” x 9” baking dish.
  4. Add the sliced apples and pour sauce over everything, then press the remaining crumbs lightly on top.
  5. Bake at 350 F for about an hour but check at 50 minutes. All we’re looking for here is a crisp topping and tender apples underneath. Serve warm or room temperature with plenty of cream, custard, vanilla ice cream or hell, all three.
  6. ***NOTE: The vanilla is KEY in this recipe so do not omit. If you have no vanilla in the house, consider making some of Jamie Oliver’s Vanilla Sugar which is fantastic to have in at all times. You will also then be able to whip off the lid to inhale deeply whenever you like. Basically, (from The Naked Chef), Jamie adds used vanilla bean pods to a container of sugar and then whizzes up the entire thing in a food processor to make a supremely vanilla-y caster sugar.)

 

Apples

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So I went to pick up some peaches yesterday (we went through the large container I got last week very quickly after sharing with Frasier who’s been over to nobly assist The General with some technical issues) and was told that the peaches are done for the season!

Not earth shattering news I understand but I was saddened that The Season had ended so suddenly for me, at least, and worse still without my noticing that it’s now close to the end of September …

Since I had also gathered all the ingredients to make a peach crumble/crisp/buckle or something equally comforting the next obvious choice was to get some really decent apples.

And then I started thinking about all the stories in my life associated with apples and thought I’d thrill you with a few highlights.

Food is, after all, so interwoven with memories.

It’s a very primitive, important thing. Continue reading

Weathering

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Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face
catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes
with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:
that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young for ever, to pass.

I was never a Pre-Raphaelite beauty
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.
But now that I am in love with a place
which doesn’t care how I look, or if I am happy,

happy is how I look, and that’s all.
My hair will turn grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well

that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among lakes and fells, when simply
to look out of my window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.

Fleur Adcock, Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe Books, 200)

I have always liked this refreshing poem very much; it speaks to me on many levels yet there is an overall feeling of progression and acceptance here that I have never, as yet, really been able to pull off.

I’m also not sure if I should even want to strive toward not giving any thought  to a thickening waist; in fact, I have a bit of a personal dread of “just letting it all go” since it seems so defeatist and awful to me — especially if you are with someone you love, it seems disrespectful not to try, somehow.

Does this make me shallow – or merely insecure?

I suppose there’s a distinction to be made between being “indifferent” to mirrors and actively avoiding them (can we talk about the “Fun Fair” mirror in the bathroom at my office where everyone looks faintly elongated and greenish?)

I’ve never been one who can simply wash my face and head out the door with wet hair, I always feel I’ve had to try a bit harder than other people.

Perchance I will never be that girl who thumbs her nose to all artifice and feels okay with it.

That said?

This poem still resonates and I will continue to read it many times.