In the days since I last wrote, there has been a birthday. On Saturday night, eleven friends gathered in Honor Oak to wish our friend Dan many happy returns.
The venue was Sodo, a new(ish) restaurant specialising in sourdough pizza. There is a lot of good pizza in London right now, and although I was reprimanded by our waitress for my use of the ‘F’ word (Franco Manca), they are among those who lifted it from late night junk food to respectable dining option. Others include the magnificent Pizza Pilgrims, Homeslice‘s gargantuan offerings and, my personal favourite: The Gowlett in Peckham. The pizzas at Sodo were also very good, with that charred and flavoursome dough that comes with using a sourdough starter, and good toppings. We shared a classic anchovy/caper/olive pizza and one from the specials menu with five cheeses.
The following day, after both a late night and a troubled one (I blame the cheese), Ollie and I decided to have a quiet day at home which, for me, always means spending some time baking. I had some Bramley apples in the fridge, given to me the weekend before by my lovely friend (and apple dealer) Aimee, which would go to ruin if not used soon. With the dark nights drawing in and nothing to do except watch television, I decided to make a crumble.
Nothing screams ‘autumn’ like hot crumble and cold custard. I have this rule that a hot dessert must be accompanied by something cold (cold custard, cold cream, ice cream) and vice versa. Never hot-with-hot or cold-with-cold. Many disagree, but that is how I like it. This crumble is a very simple combination of chopped apple, chopped stem ginger, a little syrup from the ginger jar and a sprinkling of sugar, topped with an oaty crumble. I used four pieces of stem ginger as we both like it fiery. If I was making this for others, I would probably tone it down to three. Feel free to use a different crumble mix if oats aren’t your bag, or a ready-made one if you’re feeling super lazy.
Bake in your favourite dish. This crumble will serve about six people, perfect for a large family lunch. If you, like we, are a family of two, there will be lots for leftovers. Eat straight from the fridge with (hot) custard.
Apple and Stem Ginger Crumble
650g bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
4 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp syrup from the stem ginger jar
75g rolled oats
100g demerera sugar
100g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, stem ginger and sugar. Mix with your hands and arrange in the bottom of the buttered dish. Pour over the ginger syrup.
In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, demerera sugar and plain flour. Rub in the butter until you have a rough crumble, then sprinkle it over the apple mixture, covering it completely. Pat the crumble mixture down gently with your hands and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling at the edges.