Thursday, 26 February 2015

Vegetable crumble-food for thought?

I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.O3Xhqpir.dpuf
I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.O3Xhqpir.dpufI don´t know why I thought
I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.O3Xhqpir.dpuf
My post student days in London were the heydays of healthy wholesome eating.De rigeur was khaki, beige and army surplus sweaters as was dictated to us by Liz Tilberis´s innovative "More dash than cash" pages in Vogue.Tilberis introduced the notion of affordable style.She searched high and low for unexpected fashionable finds that wouldn´t make a hole in our aspirational pockets.
she introduced the notion of affordable style. She searched high and low for unexpected fashionable finds that wouldn’t break the bank. - See more at: http://www.fashionschooldaily.com/index.php/2012/08/02/that-gal-is-liz-tilberis/#sthash.mszZuqBG.dpuf
she introduced the notion of affordable style. She searched high and low for unexpected fashionable finds that wouldn’t break the bank. - See more at: http://www.fashionschooldaily.com/index.php/2012/08/02/that-gal-is-liz-tilberis/#sthash.mszZuqBG.dpuf
Kitted out in our hearty oatmeal and mossy coloured fern flecked woolies we were not only ensured of being well insulated against the chill of our poorly heated apartments, but also of being perfectly co-ordinated with the earthy glaze of the Leach pottery soup bowls we fashionably supped from.And if we still felt the chill after imbibing a worthy leek and potato soup, there was always a lentil and cheese bake and a wholesome slice of banana bread. 
 Fashionable wholefood restaurants like Cranks,(purveyors of the best ever homity pie) were all the rage.Establishments such as this made their regular customers aware of the connection between healthy eating and uncomfortable seating. We squatted on stools at cramped tables in basements, dazzled by the stripped pine that surrounded us.Sadly this era, a way of life, a civilisation and so much more, has gone.Only Food For Thought and Neals Yard bakery remain as a reminder of wholefood days gone by.
The queues out the door of the former come lunchtime were a good yard stick of the popularity of a long-standing vegetarian cafe and restaurant.
Food for Thought was, and I believe still is, a Covent Garden institution. This basement vegetarian restaurant has been on Neal Street since 1974 and still has a well-deserved reputation for making it possible to enjoy delicious vegetarian food at edible prices.Not that I miss this retro lifestyle choice,but I have to admit I do occasionally get a pining for it.
 Back then, in the days before Pret-a-Whatever this was my preferred break from the humdrum of the magazine art room and a welcome escape from wantonly inhaling the vapours of cow gum.
Fashions change and it was au reservoir to cranky eating habits and Hola to politically incorrect Nando´s.Cranks was sold to Nando's Grocery Ltd in 2001. An era, a way of life, a civilisation and so much more, was over. Cook in sauces and piri piri chicken were to be the next big thing.No use for office lunches but I have to say these cook in sauces were tasty, and a divine saviour by way of enabling a meal to be cobbled together in minutes.This was just what one needed after being pushed busy-wise till some ungodly hour of the day when one was unleashed from office toil to go home. 
Cranks and crankiness wasn't something we only went out to do. We were cranky in the privacy of our own homes, too.Last week I thought I would return to that crankiness and try to recreate some of that wonder of sustainable living and self sufficiency.Yes It can be recreated in even the smallest of tiny domestic kitchens.I had a burning desire to return to the days of carrot cake and tray bakes.
Who could have thought a serious meat eater like me would have considered cooking vegetables with a crumble topping? Or perhaps a nut roast - its density akin to a plywood block or reconstituted sawdust.
Having been one who enjoyed this guilty culinary pleasure I don´t know why I thought crumbles have to be sweet. Less bother than a pie, vegetable crumble is a great way to use up what you have in the fridge, cupboard or freezer! You can change the filling with the seasons making green and summery fillings in the spring and summer and filling it with heartier root vegetables in the winter. 
It was wholemeal all the way for me. There was no stopping me now.The thespian,never one to look forward to a plate of greens, was not convinced.My inspiration came from Portugal´s most prolific food and travel blog author and recipe developer,Isabel Zibaia Rafael .When she stayed at Casa Rosada for last year´s bloggers weekend she gave us a copy of her book Cozinha par dias felizes and I was taken with one particular recipe, pumpkin and roasted beetroot salad with Feta cheese and cous cous. I had a large butternut squash to hand,a block of feta in the fridge and decided that along with some almonds these would be the core ingredients for a savoury crumble.
Butternut squash crumble
Serves 8 portions
As regards how you portion this for cooking is entirely up to you.The quantities are easily changeable from a 4 pint/1.8 litre baking dish to smaller individual ramekins or for starter portions or make ahead portions to keep in the freezer.Just adjust quantities and cooking times accordingly.

1.5kg butternut squash,peeled and cut into 1/2 - 3/4 inch cubes.

3-4 large shallots thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
2oz(50g) bacon/pancetta chopped( vegetarians omit)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds 
2-3 dried red chillies crumbled
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper
 

TOPPING
3/4 cup (95g flour)
soup spoon finely ground almonds
1/3 cup sliced or flaked almonds
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Flor de sal and pepper
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces  

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F. Butter a large baking dish or 8 ramekins.Bash the coriander seeds and chillies in a pestle and mortar. Sauté the shallots,garlic,bacon,if using. Add the cubes of squash and continue cooking until it begins to soften(about 15minutes) sprinkle over the crushed chilli and coriander.Add the herbs,stock and seasoning and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.Pour the mixture into your baking dish or ramekins.Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.While this is cooking make your topping.In a medium bowl bring together the flour,ground almonds,sugar if using,thyme,Flor de sal and pepper.Add the pieces of butter and bring the mixture together with your fingers until you have a consistency that resembles bread crumbs.Stir in the flaked and sliced almonds. Remove the dish or ramekins from the oven,remove the foil covering and scatter the crumble over the top.Bake 45 minutes until golden brown.






I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. Is it because I’m usually eating them weekly smack dab in the middle of summer? Probably. But last month in Paris we stopped by a lovely little shop and café for lunch where Adam ordered a Zucchini Crumble, a small dish of tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions topped with a savory buttery topping and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Its simplicity astounded me, its flavor surprised me. And the door to enjoying a different type of crumble was opened and we’re already looking forward to repeating this dish with autumn’s delicious butternut squash or even tender roasted root veggies. It’s simple, satisfying, and makes a wonderful lunch. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.FglceRaf.dpuf
I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. Is it because I’m usually eating them weekly smack dab in the middle of summer? Probably. But last month in Paris we stopped by a lovely little shop and café for lunch where Adam ordered a Zucchini Crumble, a small dish of tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions topped with a savory buttery topping and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Its simplicity astounded me, its flavor surprised me. And the door to enjoying a different type of crumble was opened and we’re already looking forward to repeating this dish with autumn’s delicious butternut squash or even tender roasted root veggies. It’s simple, satisfying, and makes a wonderful lunch. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.L492k6Az.dpuf
I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. Is it because I’m usually eating them weekly smack dab in the middle of summer? Probably. But last month in Paris we stopped by a lovely little shop and café for lunch where Adam ordered a Zucchini Crumble, a small dish of tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions topped with a savory buttery topping and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Its simplicity astounded me, its flavor surprised me. And the door to enjoying a different type of crumble was opened and we’re already looking forward to repeating this dish with autumn’s delicious butternut squash or even tender roasted root veggies. It’s simple, satisfying, and makes a wonderful lunch. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.L492k6Az.dpuf
I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. Is it because I’m usually eating them weekly smack dab in the middle of summer? Probably. But last month in Paris we stopped by a lovely little shop and café for lunch where Adam ordered a Zucchini Crumble, a small dish of tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions topped with a savory buttery topping and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Its simplicity astounded me, its flavor surprised me. And the door to enjoying a different type of crumble was opened and we’re already looking forward to repeating this dish with autumn’s delicious butternut squash or even tender roasted root veggies. It’s simple, satisfying, and makes a wonderful lunch. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.NoweR8fC.dpuf
I’m not sure why I always through crumbles needed to be sweet. Is it because I’m usually eating them weekly smack dab in the middle of summer? Probably. But last month in Paris we stopped by a lovely little shop and café for lunch where Adam ordered a Zucchini Crumble, a small dish of tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and onions topped with a savory buttery topping and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Its simplicity astounded me, its flavor surprised me. And the door to enjoying a different type of crumble was opened and we’re already looking forward to repeating this dish with autumn’s delicious butternut squash or even tender roasted root veggies. It’s simple, satisfying, and makes a wonderful lunch. - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2010/10/11/vegetable-crumble/#sthash.NoweR8fC.dpuf

1 comment:

  1. Rupert,
    muito obrigada pelo carinho das suas palavras. Fiquei muito contente.
    Um beijinho e um grande abraço.

    ReplyDelete