Apple crumble

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LONDON – I’ve never been one to enjoy biting into an apple. It always makes the hair on my neck stand up. But I do enjoy the occasional golden delicious variety. However, when it comes to baking with apples, I’m a big fan.

One of my favourite recipes is apple crumble. It smells so great when it’s being prepared in the kitchen and it tastes so good. Here’s a recipe I’ve used since my varsity days. So simple.

Apple crumble

2 cans of apples (I prefer the tinned kind because they’re soaked in their juices and bake nicely)

pinch of salt

2 tbl butter, melted

1-2 tsp cinnamon

some cloves, whole

1 cup and 2 tbl sugar (I like to use a brown sugar)

1 cup oats

1 cup flour

1 cup butter

  • First, grease a baking tin. I typically use a lasagne dish. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • Pour the apples into a bowl and mix with cinnamon, cloves, salt, 2 tbl sugar and 2 tbl melted butter
  • Pour the apples into the lasagne dish
  • Mix the flour, oats, remaining sugar and butter till it resembles chunky crumbs.
  • Spoon this over the apples
  • Bake for up to 1 hour or until the top is golden and crisp.
  • Best served with vanilla ice cream or double thick cream

What else are apples good for?

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Scottish tablet

LONDON, ENGLAND – When I was in Scotland, I strolled up and down the Royal Mile. It’s a long street that connects Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, two must-see places. It’s also lined with tourist trap shops that try, in a rather tacky way, to sum up Scottish culture in a few necessary objects.The most popular of course is tartan. Then, next would be tweed, which isn’t cheap. But one thing you can buy that’s Scottish is tablet and it will only set you back £1.

No, Scottish tablet is not something to write on but rather the Scottish answer to fudge. It’s different in that it’s a bit crumblier, but it looks like the same old fudge you grew up eating. I’ll say this about tablet – it’s a mega sugar rush. I can’t eat it in large quantities at all. It’ s just too much. So Instead, I break off a bit here and there.

The good think about this recipe is that it only calls for 4 ingredients, so it’s easy to make at the end of the month when the money is thin. Take a look.

Scottish tablet

125 ml water

2 cups sugar

75 grams condensed milk

175 grams butter

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When I started making tablet, I hadn’t read the full recipe. I just started boiling the water and then chucked in the butter and away I went. I got a bit surprised when I saw that it said you needed to stir it for 20 -3o minutes by hand. I googled the recipe again in hopes of finding a shorter version. But the second recipe was almost identical in the time requirement. So I soldiered on.Scottish tablet8

My roommate said she liked it, but I think she was just being nice. It’s sugary folks. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Are there any Scottish recipes that you would recommend? Don’t say haggis!

Crowd pleaser: Texas fudge cake

LONDON  - I really haven’t been cooking or baking that much since I came to London. I sometimes think that part of the reason is that many ready meals are well done and sold at a reasonable prices and cooking for one can be sad! But a few days ago, I had a group of friends over for ‘lunch’ which turned out to be a more dessert than main course.

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I haven’t baked this cake for years, but pulled out the recipe because it’s easy to make. When I do bake this cake, people always want the recipe and so I thought I’d share it because it’s a crowd pleaser. So you’re probably looking at the photo and thinking, “these look like brownies”. Well, I’d agree. This cake typically rises to a few centremeters more in height, but owing to the fact that I have a somewhat temperamental oven, the cake didn’t rise as much but the taste was still the same.

Texas fudge cake  

Bring the following to the boil:

  • 1 cup marg/butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp cocoa

In a bowl mix the following:

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Then pour in the butter mixture and mix it all again.

Add and mix:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • ½ c milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda

This is a fairly runny mixture by the way. So don’t be put off by its viscosity. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes.

While the cake bakes, prepare the icing.

Boil together:

  • ¼ c marg/butter
  • ¼ c milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa

Turn down the heat and then add:

  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 c powdered sugar (sifted)

Once the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Then pour the warm icing over the cake. This is what gives the cake a dense, moist and fudgey taste. You can either eat it right away or let it sit for a while. I’m finding that food tastes better when it’s allowed to sit and rest for a while. Let me know how you get on with this recipe. Enjoy!

Knead, bake, eat

LONDON - I love bread. So much. I’m always filling up on bread at restaurants leaving me unable to eat my main course. Fresh bread and quality butter spread thick and then smothered in raspberry jam…that makes me so happy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week my roommate baked home made bread roles. And of course she shared them with me. I watched her make it and it is a bit of a sticky recipe, and does take up a bit of time, but, she soldiered on and finished the job. We waited eagerly for them to be ready and then finally tucked in. The nice thing about these rolls was that they were better the next day and they also didn’t dry out quickly. You should give it a go or get your friend to. Here’s the recipe:

White bread roles

Mix together and let stand 10 minutes.

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/8 cup dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Then, scald

  • 2 cups of milk and cool to lukewarm. Add this to the yeast.

Add

  • 4 1/2 cups of white flour and mix for 5 minutes.

Then add and mix

  • 1/8 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup butter/shortening
  • Add 3 1/2 more cups of white flour and mix for 15 minutes.

Place dough in a large plastic bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until double in size. Punch down and divide into equal portions. Allow to rest 10 minutes.

Knead the dough (you may need to add some flour to stop it sticking to your fingers) and pound it flat then use a rolling pin to decrease the air bubbles and form into rolls. Place on a greased cookie sheet and grease the top of the rolls. Allow dough to rise again in pans. Place rolls into preheated 375 degrees  oven for 10 minutes–then turn down to 325 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool.

Enjoy!