Hi! It’s been another long pause between drinks (or posting). Please be assured, I hadn’t gone troppo; just life took the rev out of my extra-curricular activities. So let’s crack along before I’m distracted again.
There has been talk of the family’s appalling scone making record; no-one seems to be able to emulate Mum’s ‘quick as a flash’ scone making prowess. It may be that ‘speed’ is the critical element. So – this may help: I came across a 1960 Good Housekeeping pamphlet in the rabbit warren of Pamela’s hand-built cookbook. Please let me know if the recipe below works for you, as I haven’t had another go recently.
I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment and so the white sugar and white flour packets have been banished from the pantry. This also means that many of Mum’s recipes for puddings, pies and cakes are out of the question at the moment. HOWEVER – you can substitute with wholemeal, organic ingredients – she’d always support that.
Crumble was a big favourite round our family table; mainly due to an abundance of seasonal fruit from the garden and also it was quick. It’s a healthy dessert, as long as you don’t load up with too much brown sugar, and simply delicious as the crunch of the crumble meets the soft tart fruit and the silky touch of a dollop of fresh organic cream or ice-cream. Yum!
Mum’s recipe adds a bit of zest to your usual crumble, making it seem like you’ve created something deluxe without the effort. If you don’t grow your own fruit, I suggest a visit to your local farmers’ market to pick up whatever is in glut – the traders may have reject fruit that you can pick up for a song too – no harm in asking.
My last mini-ultra-quick-and-healthy recipe today is the Banana Oat Bites (aka Bobs) – these pop in the mouth lifesavers have diverted me from far worse indulgences and stopped a gap in a late afternoon hunger emergency. Ticking all the boxes, these little babies (sorry for the Jamie Oliverism) couldn’t be faster, particularly if you are a hoarder of black bananas in the freezer, as I am.
Heat oven to 180C (approx 350F). Whizz 2 cups of porridge oats in your food processor, til they resemble a rough flour. Squeeze in 3 large bananas and whizz again. Grease a baking sheet or layer with baking paper. Dollop teaspoons of the mixture onto the tray and bake in oven for 15 mins. It should make approx. 24 bites – each bite being about 50 calories.
Additions: Today I’ve added a teaspoon of vanilla essence, a small handful of dark chocolate bits and a tablespoon of shredded coconut. You could add sultanas, other dried fruit like cranberries, peanut butter, nuts – whatever you fancy, but of course they’ll up the calories a wee bit.
The instructions are a bit slim but here goes:
Heat oven to 180C (approx 350F).
Chop about 4-6 big sticks of rhubarb and put in a saucepan. Grate in a thumb of ginger and add the zest and juice of an orange and a lemon. Simmer lightly til the rhubarb just begins to soften. Don’t boil it or you’ll have mush.
Spread out into a pudding/baking dish or into ramekins ( I like to do small individual ones, as they look good to serve up at a dinner party and keeping a few extra in the fridge are great for the kids’ after school tea.)
For the crumble: whizz together in a food processor 1 cup of wholemeal plain flour (white may taste better but this is healthier!) with 1 cup of your favourite muesli (failing that a cup of porridge oats are good), a tablespoon of ground or slivered almonds and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then add in 1 cup of fair trade dark brown sugar and chopped up cubes of 6oz organic unsalted butter. Whizz until mixture looks like hefty breadcrumbs. Spread across your fruit and bake in oven for 15-20 mins.
PLAIN OVEN SCONES (Good Housekeeping Breads and Buns, 1960)
Heat oven to 230C (approx 450F).
8oz flour (try half white, half wholemeal), ½ tsp salt, 1½ oz butter, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp bicarb of soda, ¼ pint of milk + egg or milk to glaze. (If using baking powder instead of tartar and soda, use 2½tsp).
Sieve all dry ingredients and rub in the butter. Add all the milk at once – mix lightly and quickly (Mum used a knife) to a spongy dough and then knead slightly. Roll out to ¾ inch thick, cut out, brush with egg or milk and bake in a hot oven for about 10 mins til well risen and golden.
To make these sweeter, you can add a tablespoon of sugar and/or a large handful of dry fruit, e.g. sultanas, currants. I also like to make herby ones, by throwing in a large handful of parsley, chives and maybe basil or coriander. Grated cheddar cheese or small cubes of feta with a sprinkle of dry chilli flakes are good too!
Good luck everyone – please comment, post or email me with how your scones, crumble or bobs turned out!