It is perhaps on this evening more than any other that I start to feel jealous of retired people. As I stare bleakly into the gaping chasm of another school year, knowing that from here on, the nights are getting longer, the days colder and my only available “free time” is likely to be spent sleeping-or not, depending on the whims of a certain small boy-I start to look upon them, the retired, with their gardening and their knitting, and their long Sunday lunches in the pub with no rising sense of panic that the working week is almost upon us and they still haven’t planned that lesson, and I envy them. It is, of course, the very last night of the summer holidays, and Autumn is most definitely here; which means two things.
1.) There is loads of fruit around.
I mean literally, LOADS. This time last year I was still relatively fresh off the boat from London, and though I had grown up in Bristol, I had completely forgotten just how much fruit there is, just hanging there in people’s massive gardens, at the sides of busy roads and interspersed with overgrown bits of bramble. Apparently fruit grows randomly on bushes. Who’d have thought it? It’s FREE FOOD, people, even if it is slightly unnerving that you know all the local dogs who’ve walked past and probably weed right into it.
2.) There are still plenty of things to look forward to: Strictly Come Dancing, Halloween, Bonfire Night and eventually Christmas. And all of these are an excuse to eat copious sweet treats (although it might make it that much more difficult to emulate the lifts in the former). Therefore, the best thing to do at this time of year is to drown our sorrows in saturated fat. Hence I give you: plum crumble.
The plums in this particular crumble (and very nice they were too) were provided by a certain pair of retirees (my aunt and uncle), who since retiring have taken up a myriad selection of hobbies including gardening. I am starting to think that gardening might be the way forward for a happy life and all round sense of contentment in general, which clearly means that either I am now old, or I have been taking the current dungaree trend far too literally and thinking I am actually Felicity Kendall from the Good Life, when previously I was definitely more of a Margot (I don’t even like the Good Life, but I do like Margot’s never-ending range of 70s middle-class fondue-party kaftans).
Now I will be honest here. I have made a few crumbles before, with variable results, so on this occasion I decided that the best thing to do would be to consult the wisdom of the Internets to see exactly what sort of quantities were required for your average crumble, so this recipe was adapted (somewhat liberally) from one on BBC Good Food. However, I ended up with rather too much crumble mix so I have changed the quantities a bit and also left out some of the ingredients that the local Tesco seems to regard as somewhat esoteric (any type of sugar that isn’t the white stuff builders have in the proverbial tea).
Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe.
For the filling:
- 650g plums
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- half a cinnamon stick
For the crumble mix
- 150g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- 150g granulated sugar
1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (is there any other temperature?)
2.) Halve and stone the plums, then arrange them in a suitable baking dish.
3.) Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar over them. Break up the cinnamon stick (preferably with a mortar and pestle, but ours was covered in garlic at the time and a knife worked just as well) and sprinkle liberally across the top.
4.) Place in the oven and bake for around 30-40 minutes, until the plums are looking suitably cooked (try not to do what I did, and completely forget they are in there after having a washing-related weather emergency and an important document missing presumed obliterated underneath a pile of clothes).
5.) While all this is happening, make the crumble mix. Mix together all the ingredients for the crumble mix in one of those great big ceramic bowls. What is it with those bowls? Is there a household in Britain that doesn’t have one. You know the ones I mean, I’m all like THIS ONE.
6.) Make sure you have done a good old job with the kneading, and all that butter is mixed in properly. You and any surrounding toddler should be caked in it by now if all has been done to the correct specifications.
7.) Mix a bit of the crumble mix in with the plums (obvs remove from oven first) and then spread the rest liberally across the top. Your end result should look something like this.
There is none left.
Note: This is not a sponsored post (OBVIOUSLY) and all opinions are my own. However, I was given a little freebie in the shape of these plums from my auntie and uncle’s garden. Hello, and thank you if you are reading! They were very nice.