Monday, 19 January 2015

Marzipan Crumble

Some evenings in January just demand it - a delicious fruit crumble.

My house-mate Clare came up with genius idea of adding a little marzipan to the crumble, so every few bites you get a delicious sticky, sweet, almond-y mouthful which might just cure your possible vitamin D deficiency when eaten on these long winter nights.*

There are no rules about making a crumble. This is home cooking at its best.

I chop up a selection of fruit (whatever I have lying around, on this occasion it was apples and plums), into equal sized small-ish pieces, and simmer them for about 15 minutes in a touch of water and some sugar. I don't tend to measure the sugar, you can taste if you need to add more once the fruit has cooked down.

Crumble - nowadays I estimate the amounts for the most part, once you've made a few crumbles you really get a feel for it, and in any case, it's very difficult to mess this up; just don't forget the sugar!

More or less: 100g butter, 100g flour, 50g oats, 50g sugar. Rub the oats, flour and butter between your fingers. Stir in the sugar. I feel my way around this more often than not, adding more oats, flour or sugar as I see fit.

Put the stewed fruits in the bottom of a baking dish. Then (here is the best part) cut your marzipan into little cubes and scatter over the fruit. Add your crumble topping and cook in a hot oven at 180 degrees or so for about 20 minutes. Serve in your prettiest china and with lots of cream.

Eat it, and go to bed dreaming of home...

* Not true.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

New Year health stuff

I know we call ourselves 'Girls who like to Gorge' - and I know we're also all sick of hearing about gluten free, chia seed-packed, no fat, no fun, healthy eating (or maybe that's just me) - but there is something about the New Year that makes me want to cut out the rubbish and ramp up the old fruit and veg intake. Lately I've made a habit of occasionally treating myself to a Wagamamas after the gym - usually I get out quite late, don't want to cook, and crave something fast that's not totally going to wipe out my exercising efforts.

My most recent discovery has been their donburi dishes - big bowls of rice, meat and veg. I chose brown rice because I actually prefer it to the sticky white option; I also ordered a massive clean green juice. What am I becoming? Anyway, it was totally delicious. What you're seeing here is the restaurant's beautifully presented version, but I did try and recreate it at home using long grain rice, chicken breast with a plum sauce, fresh grated carrot and a sprinkling of coriander and sesame seeds. Yum.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Ottolenghi Aubergine pahi

OK - so picture this, it's the first Sunday of the new year. It's cold and dark outside, you don't want to go back to work after the Christmas holidays. You need something delicious, satisfying and comforting which doesn't weigh you down. You know it has to be from a bowl so that you can cradle it whilst watching repeats of Miranda on your sofa.... This Ottolenghi aubergine and red pepper Sri Lankan dry curry type thing is just the ticket. It's hot and sour and really packs a punch, the aubergine goes all silky and unctuous, and suddenly you remember: life is awesome. So. Awesome.

Ottolenghi's recipe can be handily found here: on the guardian website.  There are a lot of steps, the frying and the salting - worth it? Yes. You will be handsomely rewarded for following the steps to the letter. Do you really need to use all that oil? Yes. I used cold pressed rapeseed - very nice, and apparently it's reasonably healthy.

Here are some cheats: I used dry curry leaves, still good. I made the spice paste without the use of a blender, just a good old garlic press and a grater for the ginger. Blender = so much fiddling and tricky washing up!

This is most wholesome and delicious served at room temperature and with brown rice. Also, wonderful eaten cold the next day for lunch with a little pitta bread - take that Monday blues!

This curry really is just the tonic - so ready to kick January in the ass now*!

* Partly true. Mostly I will be lounging in my pjs with my new Ottolenghi.