Oh So Sweet Crumble!

Pots.

Stalks.

In my last post I wrote about my rhubarb troubles and how the power of nature forced me to pull my first stalks of 2012. On that windy day I went home with a fistful of ‘fallen’ rhubarb and only one thing on my mind…

CRUMBLE!

Stopping off at the shops, I picked up some strawberries, ground almonds, cream and mascarpone – a crumble plan was forming, I was excited! Yet, it would be another two days before I got around to making it.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

The filling/jam: 

2.75 pounds/1.25 kg rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch/2cm pieces
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup of apple juice
5 1/2 cups of sugar
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of dark rum (optional)

In a large pot, mix the rhubarb, berries, and apple juice. Cook, stirring frequently over moderate heat, until the rhubarb is cooked through and tender.

Add the sugar and lemon juice (you can add the rum now), and cook, uncovered, until the jam is thick and passes your chosen ‘jam set’ test. I use the ‘back of the wooden spoon test’. Leave to one side.

The crumble topping: 

3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
4 tbsp cubed, chilled, butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup porridge oats

Mix the flour and butter together with your fingers until the mixture is crumb-like. Then add the brown sugar, ground almonds and porridge oats. 

The mascarpone cream: 

1/2 cup mascarpone 
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
 

Beat all the ingredients together until light and fluffy, and the cream forms soft peaks. 

Finishing: 

I used La Fermière pots to make individual servings. Place the filling/jam into each pot and top with the crumble. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 25 minutes at 375F (190C). Serve with the mascarpone cream. Sweet!

Crumble and cream.

Red Onion Relish… Not!

Lotsa shallots.

Not a red onion in sight.

I had been planning for a while to make use of the remainder of this year’s red onion crop before the rot set in. So this weekend I decided to go for it and make Caramelised Red Onion Relish. Unfortunately the onions were rotten (I really need to work out a successful drying and storage system for next year’s crop). Shallots to the rescue! Luckily most my shallots were still in good condition so I decided to use them in the relish instead.  

Below is the recipe I used, substituting shallots for onions and Rioja for Shiraz. I also doubled everything in the recipe. There was a large queue in the Tesco off-license, so I ended up buying the ‘extravagant’ Rioja Reserva in O’Briens which was reduced to €12. I used 500ml of wine in the recipe and ended up with two 250ml jars of relish. That makes it a gourmet relish in my book. I had a small taster while I was cooking it and it wasn’t bad, but the real test will be in a couple of week’s time when I try it with some homemade burgers.

Caramelised Red Onion Relish

Ingredients:

2 large red onions, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup dry red wine (I used a Shiraz)

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 fresh bay leaves (optional)

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon each)

Instructions:

Stir the onions and brown sugar together in a large, heavy bottomed enamel pot. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the onions are very soft and deep brown in color (about 25 minutes). If the onions stick while cooking, stir in 1/4 cup of water and stir vigorously, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the wine, vinegar, and herbs. Turn the heat to high and bring the onions to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove the relish from the heat, pick out the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Pack the relish into hot half pint jars, seal, and process for 10 minutes.

Shallots and sugar.

The final product, alongside some other weird concoctions.