Thursday, 24 March 2011

Of crumbles and cushions

I have been making cushions from vintage ties and scarves today.
I know this is a lot to ask but I need you to imagine that chair is a Louis Ghost
Old ties and scarves often have holes in them – ties wear out at the sides and scarves get pin prick holes (possibly from brooches actually. Now that has given me an idea, I must show you my brooch collection sometime), so, the nice thing about making cushion covers is, you can just lop off the bits with the holes, patchwork it all together and there we are, frankencushions from eras when we were Not Afraid Of Colour. I love a geometric pattern, me. The scarf ones are just sewn together, the tie ones are machine quilted and I am experimenting with different quilting patterns on the different ties. The downside of this is that the sewing room is covered, yes, covered in tie scraps and is making me twitchy. So I am having a break to share my crumble recipe with you.
Look, it was dark, I had to balance it under the halogen light
Rhubarb is coming into season at the moment for we in the UK, so you will be able to pick it up cheaply at markets and greengrocers, and if you live in one of the towns which has been taken over by the Great Beast Tesco and you don’t have a market then you can get it from the supermarket as well (I do find fruit much, much cheaper and better from the market, though, if you are lucky and have got one). The nice thing about rhubarb crumble is it does not require that you engage your brain to cook it, indeed a brain is probably a disadvantage, which is perfect for me as by the time I am thinking about cooking pudding I am usually fit for nothing more than slumping in front of the tv sniffling at the poor abandoned puppies on Animal Cops Houston and reading Gardeners' World magazine.

Rhubarb Crumble, serves about 3-4 people

For the fruit layer:
1 lb (about 500g) rhubarb
about 1.5/ 2 oz sugar.

Cut the rhubarb stalks (not the leaves) up into small chunks. Put them in a pan with the sugar (you can use any kind of sugar, go and find something that needs using up in the back of the cupboard!), and cook partly covered over a low heat until the rhubarb is soft enough to eat (about 15-20 mins). In my experience rhubarb stays hard until you have given up, then turns into mush within 5 seconds, if this happens don’t worry, you can have rhubarb mush crumble, it will taste the same. Remove from heat and leave to cool while you do the topping.

6 oz plain flour, OR wholemeal flour, OR half and half flour and porridge oats
2.5 (or thereabouts) oz butter/ margarine
3 oz sugar (not icing sugar, something a bit crunchy).

Rub the butter or margarine into the flour. If you have a toddler, dog, cat or anything that may need physical intervention, he/ she/ it will need it while you have your hands covered in butter. Or the phone will ring. Anyway, rub it in as best you can, then stir the sugar through. Put the fruit into a pyrex or ceramic dish (or something similar), and spread the topping over it. Cook at 180 degrees C for about 40 minutes until it looks slightly browned on top (you can leave it for longer if you need to). Eat with cream. (Also, crumble is an excellent vegan pudding, because you can make it with margarine, and if you make the topping with half oats I love it with Oatly).

In my experience men love crumble. Men love crumble, women love brownies, however we cannot base a theory of gender preference on my acquaintance and also don’t go down the pleasing men route as it does not lead to happiness for anyone.
Eaten and gone
Keith, who provided coffee and distraction during a bad dream that lasted for four years, says you can also make savoury crumble. This seems strange and wrong to me, but, apparently you do this by cooking any veg, plus onion and garlic, in a white sauce, then putting on the crumble topping (presumably without sugar) and cooking in the same way. I have a swede in the veg box that I don’t know what to do with so perhaps this is my opportunity, I may try it and report back.

Have I sold you on crumble or do you have a more exciting rhubarb recipe you would like to share? In which case do feel free because I am very fond of rhubarb and will be all (virtual) ears.


Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to see what Houston is known for on your blog :-/ but confess we have lots of stray dogs. Sad face.

I love rhubarb when other people cook it; have never handled it myself I don't think. Crumble sounds delicious, yes please, how far do you deliver?

Maria S said...

I used to share a house with several other vegetarians, and one of them used to make a mean vegetable crumble. I think the recipe was in the original Cranks cookery book (which means I must have it somewhere in the house...). Mmmm. But given a choice I'd prefer rhubarb. Or gooseberry. Or cherry. Or apple...

Anonymous said...

mmm crumble. We also had crumble today, plum and pear but I make a flapjacky topping, with oats, ground almonds, cinnamon, a bit of sugar maybe some mixed fruit and nuts (whatever I have hanging around..) and a bit of marg mixed up and pressed on top. It's very nice but enrages Steve (my partner)as it is NOT crumble...
I used to make a very nice bean crumble but I got the recipe off a Dead Kennedy's album sleeve and the recipe left with the useless emotionally crippled man. It was a price worth paying.
See the food drew me out again - I am, essentially, greedy.

Rachel said...

I'm currently listening to a radio show presented by a DJ whose mum cooks chicken crumble. Sometimes he's eating it during the show, but not right now.

There's rhubarb in my garden, but the stems are still very short, and growing frustratingly slowly! For added indulgence, cook the rhubarb in a little sweet wine, such as mead or madeira, or possibly other wines beginning with 'm'.

Unfortunately, my man doesn't like crumble, or possibly does like crumble but doesn't like stewed fruit. Either way, I'm just going to have to eat it all myself ;-) Equally unfortunately, he does like brownies.

Marushka C. said...

We had a bed of rhubarb when I was growing up and the only way I have ever managed to like the taste of it is in a pie mixed with strawberries and lots of sugar. Now that I have given up sugary treats, the rhubarb crumble gets past this mental block and looks very tasty. Cake, how I miss thee.

Bonnie said...

Susie, get yourself some ginger - the stuff that comes in syrup in a glass jar and is horribly expensive - and chop finely, add to rhubarb after stewing and drizzle a little bit of the syrup over it, then add the topping.

Et viola, ginger and rhubarb crumble - delish.

Denise said...

Rhubarb comes in season around June here. Conveniently the same time as strawberries. I always make pie with both.

CraftyCripple said...

Just a quick note to let you know I've nominated you for an award. I've blogged about it here:

Anonymous said...

Love your cushions and rhubarb crumble, so thanks for your recipe ... ;0)

Shirl x