Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Comforting apple crunch
I've been having a bit of a drama with my Christmas tree. On Sunday I set out to choose one - not too big this year as I was determined not to repeat my usual trick of selecting one that a) I am unable to lift and b) does not, in any way, fit into my small one-bedroom flat. Having selected the perfect specimen, I was feeling suitably smug as I hauled it from the car into my sitting room. I grappled with the stand and set it up and then delved into the cupboards to hunt out the decorations.
Now, you have to understand something here. I get very overexcited about Christmas. I'm like a small child really. Decorating the tree is a 'big thing' for me. It symbolises the start of the season of merriment and puts me immediately in festive mode each time I come home from work and turn on the lights. Ah. The lights. Therein lies my drama. I got them out. I plugged them in. They worked perfectly. I arranged them jauntily on the tree. I plugged them in again. Let there be light, I said (in my head, of course. Had I said it out loud, I might have felt a wee bit foolish). Unlike the good Lord, however, there was no light. Not even a faint glimmer. Unable to decorated the tree until the lights were on and working, I sank into a deep gloom...
Three days later, my tree is still naked. I have been to a huge number of shops (Woolworths, Sainsburys, Asda, Peter Jones... even Harrods) and have not found a single set of plain white lights. It seems there has been a run on said lights ('would Madam like multi-coloured icicle-shaped lights instead?' 'No she would not'!). Today, I plumped upon plan b. I'd identified the rogue bulb, I would simply replace it. In Woolworths I was thrilled to find replacement bulbs for my much loved plain white lights and raced to the checkout to pay for a set before other shoppers could get there greedy hands on them. Once I staggered up the hill home with my suitcase I raced over to the tree before even taking my coat off. I rummaged in my bags but alas, no sign of the bulbs. Not in my pockets either. It appears that I left them, all £1.29 of them, on the counter in the aforementioned shop.
I am currently drowning my sorrows with a glass of Kumeu River Chardonnay. Jolly good it is too. I'm in need of serious comfort after the disappointing light situation and have headed towards a hugely simple favourite comfort pud of mine.
For me, comfort equals stewed apples. I think my mother used to give me stewed apples a lot as a child as I associate them with her. This is the pudding I make when I fancy a bowl of apple crumble but can't muster the energy (not that much is required) to get busy with rubbing the flour together with the butter and sugar. Here, you simply top the apples with buttery, sugary cubes of bread and grill until crunchy. Divine.
Before I elaborate (not that much elaboration is required, you understand) I must ask an important question. Have you taken a look at all the marvellous Menu for Hope prizes offered by food bloggers the world over? If not, why no? Do consider buying a raffle ticket, it is for a great cause. Click here to read more and see my post below to read about the fabulous prize I am offering - a private wine tasting for 8 people in your home. If you live near or in London and are tempted, remember to quote prize number UK05 beside your donation!
Apple Crunch - serves 4
1lb cooking apples
2 tblsp caster sugar
grated zest 1 small lemon
2 slices white bread from a firm loaf
5 level tbsp demerara sugar
1. Peel, core and slices apples. Melt butter in a saucepan and add apples sugar and a little water.
2. Cover and cook on a lowish heat until soft and squishy.
3.Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.
4. Remove crusts from bread and cut into small cubes.
5. Melt butter, stir in cubes and sugar until bread is fully coated.
6. Spoon apple into a shallow dish and pile the bread on top...
7. Grill until golden brown and enjoy with cream, or preferably custard!
Wine notes - I would choose either a sweet Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Perhaps a Coteaux de Layon or Vouvray. Otherwise, I'd go for a late harvest riesling from Germany or South Africa. Plenty of sweetness but enough acidity to match with the cooking apples.