Savoury Apple and Lemon Thyme Crumble

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This hearty, warm dish is best known as a desert, consisting of stewed fruits like apple, blackberry, peach, rhubarb, gooseberry, and plum, which is topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, flour, and sugar. It’s best served with custard, cream or ice cream on a cold and rainy winter’s day.

The Crumble gained popularity in Britain during World War II. Due to strict food and supplies rationing, housewives started to substitute the flour, butter and sugar topping with bread crumbs. This quickly became a much more affordable option for making pies and so, the savoury crumble started to make a regular appearance on dinner tables, using vegetables instead of fruit with small pieces of meat (as a treat for special occasions) and gravy. Apart from being cost-effective the humble crumble was also popular due to its simplicity.

In memory of those war-torn days and the fact that Britain faces stringent austerity measures, here’s a personal take on the savoury crumble.

Filling:

10 X Large Granny Smith Apples (or any other variety) – unpeeled and diced into large cubes
3 X Large spoons full of Garam Masala
50 grams of cubed butter
2 X hands full of fresh Lemon Thyme – finely chopped
1 X teaspoon Cayenne pepper
25ml Olive Oil
Salt to taste
250 grams of strong mature Cheddar Cheese or hard Goats Cheese

Method:

Switch your oven on to 180 degrees Celsius.

Put the apple cubes and butter in a saucepan and heat on a high temperature on your gas top. Stir well until the butter is melted.

Add the Gram Masala, Cayenne pepper and Lemon Thyme. Keep stirring.

Turn the heat down to simmer and add the olive oil and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes and stir intermittently.

Crumble Topping

While your filling is simmering, get cracking on the crumble topping:

10-15 X Bread Slices – chose a high quality bread and don’t remove the crusts
1 X Large spoon ground Nutmeg
60 grams Parmesan cheese

I use a small kitchen coffee grinder to make my bread crumbs. Dice the bread slices into small cubes and grind away.

Add the Nutmeg and Parmesan cheese to the crumbs and mix thoroughly.

Scoop your apple filling into a baking dish and lay it out evenly. Add the Cheddar or Goats cheese cubes and cover with the crumbs.

Pop your crumble in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Serve with a succulent roast chicken (always organic!) and gravy. Consider a South African Nederburg Shiraz-Pinotage to accompany your meal. This medium-bodied red wine with its luscious tones of berries and black pepper is a perfect complement to round off this rustic take on the traditional Sunday Roast.

Indulge a little bit!


Credits.
Image: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes
Recipe: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes


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Sexy Bread & Butter Pudding

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Probably the most unpretentious dessert and sadly this Victorian nursery food is often described as blandly milky and comfortingly stodgy. The Bread and Butter Pudding has as many versions as there are generations in a family. Much as this dessert cannot be thrown together at the last minute it certainly is a time-saver and one that allows you to add your own personal culinary stamp on it, without causing too much harm to any unforgiving pallets.

By adding a few spices and berries this old lady of desserts can easily be turned into sexier.

The Pudding

1 X Loaf of good quality artisan bread
(fresh bread does it much more justice than day-old stale slices. Ask the baker to slice it for you.)
Butter
Ground cinnamon
600ml Coconut milk
300ml Single cream
3 X Cardamom pods
1 X Vanilla pod
300 grams Dried berries

Method:

Set your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Remove the crusts and cur your slices into triangles and butter each triangle – only on one side. Arrange your triangle slices in rows, in a baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on each row before you stack the next one.

Add the coconut milk and the single cream together in a saucepan. Bring to simmer and add the cardamom pods. Leave to simmer.

Split your vanilla pod and squeeze the vanilla into the milk mix. Leave to simmer for ten minutes. Turn off the gas top and let it sit until it has cooled off.

Add the dried berries and pour over the bread slices in the baking dish. Leave for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the milk mix.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops of the bread triangles have a golden crust.

Custard

While the pudding is baking, prepare a cold, sweet strawberry custard.

Ingredients:

12 Ripe strawberries
100ml Single cream
300ml Coconut milk
20ml Dry sherry

Method:

Halve the strawberries and liquidize to pulp. Add the single cream, coconut milk and dry sherry. Mix well in liquidizer.

Serve with ice-cream and garnish with blue berries and cinnamon.

It’s rich, subtle, creamy and sensual. If you don’t fall in love with this decadent temptress, then you must have a heart of stone.

Indulge a little bit!


Credits.
Image: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes
Recipe: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes


Pear and Grape Summer Salad

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A salad is the easiest and most creative dish one can quickly rustle up. There are no ‘prescriptives’ and you don’t need to be a culinary genius to get the right mix of flavours and textures. In fact, I create the recipes for my salads while I’m walking down the fresh food aisle, so it rarely happens that I recreate the exact same salad twice.

This Pear and Grape salad is perfect for a lazy lunch on an early-summer’s day… and it will probably provide you with 2 of your five-a-day.

Ingredients:

Baby spinach leaves
One semi-ripe pear
Dark purple grapes (taste them in the supermarket and find the sweetest variety)
A semi-ripe avocado
Avocado or Olive Oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Mozzarella or a strong mature Cheddar cheese
Half a cup of croutons

Halve the grapes, peel the avocado and slice into thin pieces, dice the pear into chunky cubes and break the cheese into bite-sized clumps. Toss everything together and drizzle with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. For an extra bit of bite you can also add a cheeky pinch of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle with croutons.

What I like about this salad is its texture and the mixture of flavours – the sweet grapes against the soft oily avocados, crunchy pear cubes and rich hazelnuttiness of the smooth cheddar pieces melting in your mouth… Delicious!!!

Enjoy the salad with a Viognier. This dry white wine has the perfect combination of floral and fruit aromas to triumphantly end the symphony that is about to explode in your mouth.

Indulge a little bit!


Credits.
Image: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes
Recipe: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes


Kick-ass Chunky Chicken and Apricot Salad

This time of year – May to July – there is a tremendous choice of fruits and vegetables in UK supermarkets. It’s one of the positive things about the confusion between seasons – not knowing whether it is spring or summer. For those who don’t live in the UK or who haven’t visited during this time of year, our weather really is a game of potluck every day… One wakes up in the morning with clear blue skies and a golden sun hanging luscious and sexy in the sky, only to find that by noon pewter clouds have highjacked the skies and ambushed all aspirations of going to the beach…

Anyway, enough of the weather.

My Kick-ass Chunky Chicken and Apricot Salad, is a favourite among friends, probably because, like the weather, it’s a bit of potluck… I have never use exactly the same ingredients twice. That’s part of the fun, I suppose. I love the bursting summer flavours of this salad and the fact that it is packed with Superfoods.

Ingredients:

Two heads of Butter lettuce sliced in long laces
Three handsfull of fresh watercress
Three handsfull of rocket
4 Apricots sliced with the skin on in 8ths
1 Avocado sliced in 8ths
1 Cup of dried or fresh cranberries
3 Cloves of fresh garlic crushed or thinly diced
1 Cup of halved black grapes
150grams Feta cheese
Olive or Avocado Oil to taste
4 Organic Chicken breasts sliced in large chunky pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste (I prefer cayenne pepper for this recipe. In fact, I almost always prefer it over ground black pepper.)
Two spoons ground Ginger

Method:

Roll your chicken chunks in the ginger and add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a spoon of Olive Oil in a skillet on your gas top. Wait till the oil begins to shoot (you’ll hear this). Add the chicken chunks to the hot oil and turn the chunks quickly till the outsides are golden brown. Once golden brown, turn the gas top to a low flame and leave to cook through. Turn every now and then.

Toss the butter lettuce and other leaves in your salad bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of avocado or olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the garlic and cheese.

Once the chicken is fried and cooked through, add it to your salad and finish of by breaking the feta cheese in pieces over the chicken. Finally, add the garlic and give your salad a final good turn.

I serve my Kick-ass Chunky Chicken and Apricot Salad with Lefse (Norwegian potato pancakes) and a glass of Pouilly-Fume. This wine has an unusual flavor for a dry white wine. Its strong smokey flavours of musk, perfectly compliments the chicken, apricot and ginger… Take a bite, have a sip and see what I mean…

Indulge a little bit!

Kick-ass Chunky Chicken and Apricot Salad

Kick-ass Chunky Chicken and Apricot Salad


Credits.
Image: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes
Recipe: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes


Fruity Gluten And Dairy Free ‘Cheesecake’

Earlier this week, after weighing me and taking my blood pressure, my doctor quipped: “You weighed 76kgs in February 2012. You now weigh 83kgs. Best you look over your shoulder because it looks like something is catching up with you…”

So, with this ‘obesity crisis’ looming in my head, I was eager to try this Fruity Gluten And Dairy Free ‘Cheesecake’, packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

Ingredients

Base:

250 grams macadamia nuts
100 grams dates
45 grams desiccated coconut
1 X Tablespoon Rosewater

Filling:

400 grams cashews (soaked for at least 30 minutes and drain)
2 Lemons – juiced and pulped (keep the skin)
150 milliliters Maple syrup
150 milliliters Olive Oil
1 X Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
200 milliliters Coconut milk
2 X Tablespoon Rosewater
Pinch sea salt
1-2 punnets fresh strawberries or 150 grams frozen berries

Preparation:

1. Base: Place all the ingredients into a large blender and blend until the nuts are well fine and a moist dense dough is forming. Press into 20cm spring form cake tin and place in freezer.

2. Filling: Place all ingredients into a large blender (apart from the lemons skins you are keeping to one side), and blend well until smooth and thick.

Of course, the ingredients suggest that this is not a cheesecake, but once the filling’s ingredients are mixed properly, the result will be a slightly textured creamy filling that looks like cheese.

Pour the filling into the base and allow to set in the freezer over night.

Serving:

30 Minutes before serving, remove the cake from the cake tin. Decorate your cake with additional fruits and nuts of your choice. Grate the skin of the lemon you kept aside and sprinkle the zest over your ‘cake’ for a dash of colour and extra zing. Allow to thaw a little before cutting.

Indulge a little bit!

Fruity Gluten And Dairy Free 'Cheesecake'

Fruity Gluten And Dairy Free ‘Cheesecake’


Credits.
Image: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes
Recipe: FR Lubbe, Little Red Shoes