Excuse my language but I have just had a really shitty few days and the aftermath has left me desperately trying to fight off that grim, grey, heavy blanket that is hovering above my head.
I know that it’s trying to make me believe it’s the softest, cosiest blanket there is and how lovely it would be if I just folded it round me and went to bed, then all would be better with the world. But it’s now an old adversary and I know that it would tuck me up really tightly and hold me there, powerless to shrug it off until it decided
to relinquish its folds and let me out again.
It is because of kindness and comfort that I am writing this today. To be honest I don’t really want to be sitting here trying to think of interesting things to say about food, but the gentle souls of some people, generous enough to take the time to give a hug and offer some soft, encouraging words have helped me smile a few times this morning, making keeping the blanket at bay a little easier.
Two ladies, neither of whom I know very well at all, have passed on that little bit a human kindness that we all need every now and then to remind us that we are indeed all human and that there is compassion left in this busy world.
One lady whisked me off out of the house to visit a poultry market in the middle of the nowhere, full of wizened old Norfolk men with accents as thick as treacle and looking suspiciously at us two women on our own. Probably not to everyone’s taste I admit but it is the sort of thing I love. Looking at the amazing array of different breeds of hens and cockerels, ducks, geese and even rabbits for sale made me feel very much alive and grateful for the impromptu offer of friendship.
On the way home I bumped into another lady in our local shop who handed me a bunch of flowers. “For you” she said with a warm smile and then promptly gave me a lingering hug which of course bought a swell of tears to my already sore eyes. A gesture I couldn’t have bought with any amount of money.
So to go with all this comfort and warmth, today I have a humble crumble recipe which is absolutely delicious and is the type of dessert that warms the soul and cheers the mind.
I made this with those almost unnaturally perfectly round plums out of the supermarket which don’t normally have much taste, err on the wrong side of tartness and refuse to go ripe no matter how long they hang around for in the fruit bowl.
Left to macerate in sugar for a while to release their juices and cooked with a knob of butter they produced a dark dense fruit layer, the plums holding their shape but soft and sweet.
For this recipe the smaller rolled oats are best, not the large jumbo ones which I like to reserve for flapjacks. Personally I like using wholemeal flour for a crumble, but you can use plain if you prefer.
I actually ate a bowlful hot, just left to cool enough so it wouldn’t take the skin off the roof of my mouth and then remembered I had a pot of clotted cream in fridge. That was for seconds.
This makes a lovely deep crumble with plenty of crumbly and unctuous top and deep juicy, fruit layer. Perfect for a comforting reminder that we all need a helping hand sometimes.
Thank you. You know who are are. Bless you.
- For the topping
- 150g wholemeal plain flour
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g rolled oats
- 70g light brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- a handful of slivered almonds
- For the fruit layer
- 800g plums, halved and de-stoned
- 4 tablespoons soft brown sugar
- knob of butter
- Preheat oven on 180c
- Put the prepared plums in a deep oven proof bowl
- Sprinkle with the sugar and knob of butter
- Using fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add oats, salt and sugar and mix together.
- Put the mixture on top of the fruit and level off.
- Sprinkle over a handful of slivered almonds (optional).
- Cook for approximately 40-45 minutes until golden brown and fruit is cooked.
- If using the slivered almonds, check after 30 minutes and cover with foil if the almonds are browning too much.