With all the hectic activities during the festive season with meals and visits aplenty, the tendency for simple but delicious food becomes even more to the fore. Wow ! what a mouthful – not the words but first up this delicious summer take on the popular and yes, most English of desserts. So, I know it’s cold up there in the northern hemisphere, but it isn’t here in sunny Cape Town, so why not a summer crumble. A little digression, but what I love about being here is cheaper access to all these fruits that were expensive in Europe, like blueberries, so whenever I get the opportunity, I buy them. For this simple recipe, you need:
Handful of blueberries
4 apricots, cut in half
3 apples, peeled and diced
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
For the crumble
200 self-raising flour
80g cold unsalted butter
80g of caster sugar
Start with the fruit – prepare them and put into your oven dish (nothing bigger then 30cm by 20cm and let them marinate (or should I say, let them get to know each other)
For the crumble, mix together the butter and flour together and mix until it resembles mini bread crumbs and then add the sugar.
Put the oven on 200C and once ready, crumble the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown and serve with ice cream.
Never one to follow convention, I put dessert first and share my take on the classic Italian bread, Foccacia. Well ! instead of the traditional flat version, why not mini-versions made using a giant muffin tray. For the bread, start about 3 hours before you intend to serve and mix together 10g of instant active yeast with 1 dessert spoon of sugar and 250ml of luke warm water. If it bubbles up in 5 minutes, Yayhay ! it is ready and can be used. Pour it into a big bowl containing:
400g of plain flour
half a teaspoon of salt
50ml of olive oil
rosemary sprigs (optional)
Mix together and knead (or if the kids want to get involved, get them to do it). For kneading, flatten out and fold up the bread from all 4 corners like an envelope and continue doing this, flattening out each time for about 5 minutes and finish off by rolling into a ball. Place into a slightly greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hours. After which, take out and knock out the air and divide into six equal bits, placing a rosemary sprig in each one. Place them into giant muffin holes in a muffin tray, cover again and leave for another 30 minutes. Put oven on 220C, place the bread in and bake for about 10 minutes. It should be very firm on top when you knock it with a knife and sort of hollow sounding.
ITS READY BUT, let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve by sprinkling some salt and olive oil on top.
If you want to be traditional, flatten out, place on a baking tray, cover and let rise for 30 minutes, as opposed to giant muffin trays. You can punch holes into your foccacia with your fingers and place the rosemary sprigs or chopped olives or tomatoes, topped with mozzarella (see below).
Don’t be daunted, this bread is really easy to make.
Bread, inspired by a recipe in Simply Italian by Sophie Braimbidge