I've been going through a bit of British Cookery stage lately. Perhaps fuelled by the fact we're moving closer to the dream of installing a Rayburn wood stove (built by Aga!) becoming a reality. There's something about these autumn days that has me reaching for the books of English favourites like Nigel, Monty and Sarah, Jamie, Nigella and Patrick, Dominic and Cass for some nostalgic comfort food.
With Victorian sponges, toad in the hole and kippers on my mind, coupled with the fact of the abundance of apples and blackberries in our garden, we've been eating plenty of crumbles lately. Served with a dollop of our favourite yoghurt, why it's positively a health food that can be eaten most nights with a clear conscience.
However, I admit to not having found a really good crumble topping yet, so we've been having a crumble bake off, each night trying a different crumble recipe. Pitting Monty against Nigel, Jamie against Nigella.
So far, the results are inconclusive, Jamie wins points for containing nutritious oats, Nigel is certainly a front runner at this stage, whose crumble has an almost shortbread texture, due to his refusal to be parsimonious with the butter. Both Nigella and Monty's versions are perfectly acceptable crumble toppings, but none really hit the mark.
Funny enough, it's my neighbour who makes the best crumble I've ever had, it's super crunchy because she cooks the topping on a baking tray in the oven first. Seems I didn't have to go far after all to find the perfect recipe. Still, proper British cookery is something I should perfect before the arrival of our hydronic stove. I wouldn't want her to get homesick. Luckily I have p.l.e.n.t.y. of time to practice!