Being a lucky bod growing up in the English countryside, some of my earliest memories are of warm summer days spent in the garden between tall forests of runner beans, and discovering muddy potatoes in the ground. The best part was always eating them, knowing that they had come out of our earth in our garden.
While I have to admit that the runner beans no longer seem quite so tall, and having gone through various different fruits and vegetables over the years, potatoes are sadly no longer on the list, I still love the idea of eating something grown organically a few feet from our house. Runner beans always have and always will be a fixture in the veggie patch, but this year, fruit has been the star of the show.
I don’t know whether it’s just us, or whether the early hot weather this year has sped everyone’s produce up, but all of our fruit seems to be in fast-forward mode, with no signs of slowing down.
The strawberries and cherries came (by the boxful) in early June, and we were inundated with them until mid-July. All that remains of them now is a satisfying stash of homemade strawberry jam (that’s not a complaint, I promise!). The raspberries are still coming, but less so than they were a month ago, and I find myself topping up on my favourite berries from the supermarket, so I can enjoy them with breakfast every morning. (It’s a tough life, I know…)
Now in August, we’re faced with autumnal fruits, which should be weeks away yet: plump black brambles are growing thick and fast over the back fence, and we have even managed to enjoy a few early cooking apples that fell off the tree…what?! I just hope that it’s not all over by September.
The good side of this however, is that I am now enjoying a spoonful or two of sneaky early crumble – and as my boyfriend is adamant that he does not like cooked apple, I’ll just have to enjoy all of it…what a shame! (Disclaimer: I will not be enjoying it all at once, no matter how tempting that may be.) I’ve included the recipe below, just in case you find yourself in the same predicament…
Mum’s Apple & Bramble Crumble
This dessert is a long standing favourite of mine, and an ultimate comfort food as autumn sets in and the leaves turn golden. Having taken the opportunity to have an early one this year, I thought I’d share mum’s recipe. It’s a classic crumble with no frills, and very simple and easy to do. It just needs a little bit of prep and planning to allow for the baking and cooling time before you enjoy. (And I hope you do enjoy!)
Serves 4, cooking time 30-45 mins
4oz plain flour
2oz butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp demerara sugar
3 medium cooking apples
2 handfuls brambles
5 tsp caster or granulated sugar
You will also need 1 tbsp lemon juice and some cold water
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C or 170˚C fan.
- First make the crumble topping. In a bowl, run the flour and butter together between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumb consistency.
- Stir in the demerara sugar, set aside.
- Rinse the brambles and allow to dry.
- Fill a large bowl of jug with water and add the lemon juice.
- Peel, core and slice the apples into thin slices ½ – 1cm thick. As you slice them, add the apple to the water to stop it browning.
- Once all the apples are sliced, drain thoroughly, and place in a pie dish with the blackberries, layering with the caster sugar.
- Cover evenly with the crumble topping.
- Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Test it by inserting a knife into the centre of the crumble.
- Allow to cool slightly, and enjoy with vanilla ice cream, custard or cream.