The Boy Makes…Apple & Pear Almond Crumble

OK so this is a teensy bit of a cheat in the ‘The Boy Makes’ series. Oscar did indeed help me make this, but only parts of it (for reasons that will become clear). However, this is my first foray into a completely new, throw it together and see what happens recipe and as such I couldn’t not include it here. Plus once you taste it, you’ll thank me forever more!

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So a crumble you say. Usually the reserve of Autumnal feasts and its true it does have a taste of the colder weather about it, but it came about because I had a load of fruit that was lying bruised in my fruit bowl. Apples and Pears were what I had so Apple and Pear something it had to be. I chose a crumble because although Ben loves a crumble (as do I) what with one thing and a Slimming World I haven’t made one for ages. It’s not exactly a health food now is it, but I can tell you now making nothing else makes me feel as mumly or wifely or as god damn gorgeous in the kitchen!

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Spot the missing ingredient!

Ingredients

  • Three ripe pears
  • Two large ripe eating apples
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 50g cold hard unsalted butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g almonds (I used whole ones blitzed in the processor but you could use ready chopped ones)

For the fruit filling

  1. Peel and chop the fruit into quarters. Core and slice each quarter thinly. This is difficult to have a three year old help with so I did this before he joined in
  2. Put the fruit into a mixing bowl and add cinnamon and maple syrup. Stir well
  3. Pour the contents into a suitably homely pie dish
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool

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For the topping

  1. Cube the cold butter and add to the flour
  2. Rub the butter and flour between the pads of your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs (or as near as damned). Remember as you rub the butter and flour together, to lift it out of the bowl. This adds air and a crispness later. Again this was tricky for the boy to be involved with but he enjoyed watching me!
  3. Stir through the sugar
  4. If you are using whole almonds, blitz them in the food processor until evenly chopped. If using chopped almonds open the packet!
  5. Stir the almonds through the crumb mixture
  6. Tip the crumb mixture over cooled fruit and bake at 200C or Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes

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Serve as you see fit. I like to serve mine with vanilla ice cream (something about the contrast between hot and cold is just mouth watering), but you could use cream, custard or nothing at all!

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Et voila. The very best crumble I have ever eaten. I’m sorry Mum and I’m sorry to both of my Nanna’s, but it really is that good.

I leave the recipe with you, jealous that you get to try it for the first time and hope you love it as much as I do.

You’re very welcome 😉

 

The Boy Makes…The Best GF Banana Bread Ever!

I’ve not had much luck with gluten free cakes so far. They’ve been OK, pleasant enough I suppose and Oscar’s been happy enough to wolf them all down, so they can’t have been that bad. But I don’t know, they just didn’t taste quite right, if you know what I mean. So I decided to give our family favourite a gluten free make over and see if I couldn’t make a really good gf cake.

Ben’s absolute favourite cake is Chocolate Banana Bread. It’s a slightly tinkered with version of this Nigella staple and I’ve made it many times. It’s great fun to make, primarily because I love squishing the bananas, and so I thought Oscar would enjoy it too. We gave it a go two weeks ago and it was such a roaring success, with everyone who tried it, that we’ve made three more since. And not one has hung around for long! It has a moist quality I’ve not found in other gf cakes and using good size overly ripe fruit gives it a wonderful banana sweetness.

So just for you this is our gf version of the best banana bread you’ll ever taste.

As in previous recipes we used my Kitchen Aid, but you could also do this by hand.

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  • 175 grams plain gluten free flour (we use Doves Farm)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder (we use Waitrose Cooks Ingredient Baking Powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 good size ripe bananas (the riper the better!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line tin with baking parchment

Line tin with baking parchment

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/gas mark 3/325 F.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork until a smooth puree and leave to one side.
  3. Put the GF flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a bow and mix well.
  4. Melt the butter. I do this by microwaving in short bursts.
  5. Add the melted butter and sugar to the mixer bowl and beat until blended. Beat in one egg at a time, then add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.
  6. With the mixer on slow, add a third of the flour mixture at a time, mixing well each time.
  7. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin and bake for 1-11/4 hours.
  8. Leave in the tin to cool for half an hour before inverting cake onto cooling rack and peeling off the paper.
Reminds me of weaning!

Reminds me of weaning!

 

Mix the dry ingredients together

Mix the dry ingredients together

 

Beat wet ingredients, then add flour mix a third at a time

Beat wet ingredients, then add flour mix a third at a time

 

Have a toddler that gets bored half way through and leaves you too it. Hey what? Hang on this is supposed to be The Boy Makes... not leave poor mama to it!

Have a toddler that gets bored half way through and leaves you too it. Hey what? Hang on this is supposed to be ‘The Boy Makes…’ not ‘Leave poor mama to it…’!

 

Leaving to cool is the hardest part!

Leaving to cool is the hardest part!

 

Inverted cake, now ready to cut.

Inverted cake, now ready to cut.

We assume it lasts well for a few days in an airtight container blah blah blah….. It’s only lasted a few days wrapped in foil in our house. Absolutely delicious when the boy’s gone to bed, sliced thickly, warmed in the microwave and severed with Vanilla Ice Cream!

Oh there he is!

Oh there he is! My little grubby chops!

 

BakedPotato Mummy
Free From Farmhouse

The Boy Makes….Homemade Bounty Bars

Over the Easter holidays, the boy and I were inspired to have a crack at some more sweet cooking projects. We made chocolate cupcakes one day and then, scrolling through Instagram one morning, I came across this post for Homemade Bounty Bars by the gorgeous Mrs Bishop over at MrsBishopBakesandBanter. I LOVE Bounty bars and the boy has taken a real shine to coconut and dark chocolate recently (there’s not an issue in the world that can’t be solved with a Mrs Crimble’s Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroon I tells ya!). We’ve never tried making proper ‘sweets’ before, so I thought this would be a fun place to start.

The recipe Mrs B (and I!) used was incredibly simple with just four ingredients:

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  • 100ml Condensed Milk
  • 75g Desiccated Coconut
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 200g Dark Chocolate
I weighed out the ingredients.....

I weighed out the ingredients…..

...and Oscar poured them into the bowl. First the coconut.....

…and Oscar poured them into the bowl. First the coconut…..

...followed by the condensed milk and then the sugar. Mix it all together.

…followed by the condensed milk and then the sugar. We mixed it all together.

It should come together in one easy to handle lump.

It should come together in one easy to handle lump.

Oscar helped me shape it into bars (it was only my desire for even bars that meant his lumps got flattened out!) Place on greaseproof paper lined tray and leave to firm up in the fridge for an hour or so. This recipe makes 8 big bars easily.

Oscar helped me shape it into bars (it was only my desire for even bars that meant his lumps got flattened out!) We placed the bars on a greaseproof paper lined tray and left them to firm up in the fridge for a couple of hours. This recipe makes 8 big bars easily.

Melt the chocolate. I do this is short bursts in the microwave, stirring each time, but you could do it in a bain-marie. Drop the bars into the choclate and spoon it over to coat. Oscar LOVED doing this bit. Lift onto greaseproof sheet and chill in the fridge.

Melt the chocolate. I do this is short bursts in the microwave, stirring each time, but you could do it over a bain-marie. Drop the bars into the melted chocolate and spoon it over to coat. Oscar LOVED doing this bit, but it was a bit messy and I got no photos – boohoo! Lift onto a greaseproof sheet and chill in the fridge until the chocolate sets.

Oh my life they were so good! We’re definitely going to make them again, but next time I am going to fiddle around with the proportions. I want to try adding more coconut and a little less sugar. I’m also going to make 16 small bars, instead of 8 big ones. Don’t get me wrong the big bars looked awesome, but realistically, I think a smaller bar would have been enough. You could also try making them in to bit size pieces, perhaps for a party. Bounty Bites, if you will! I think you’d easily get 32 bites out of this recipe, although I’m not sure if you’d need slightly more chocolate. Give it a go!

The boy likes them, but not as much as mama does!

Homemade Bounty Bars. The boy likes them, but not as much as mama does!

 

BakedPotato Mummy
Gym Bunny Mummy

The Boy makes……BBQ Pulled Pork

The boy has recently discovered baking and absolutely loves it. He’ll regularly go to get the chair from the conservatory to pull up to the work surface. Thank god he can’t quite manage it on his own yet, or he’d be in the cupboards before you can say Domestic Goddess.

Anyway it’s a great shared activity for any child and particularly one with the developmental issues Oscar has. He really (and I mean really) struggles with adult led activities, but everything in the kitchen kind of has to be adult led and the fact that he requests it is great progress. All the professionals involved with us have been thrilled when I tell them about it and really keen to encourage us to do more. Which I try, but sometimes we don’t have all the ingredients or I just don’t want any more cakes in the house! And don’t think he can be fooled into making a ‘flour and lentil and old cereal and whatever other crap is at the back of the cupboards’ cake. Oooooh no! We tried that once before and it worked until he realised we were just playing and since then its been “no deal”!.

This fake bake was fooling no one!

This fake bake was fooling no one!

So whilst we love baking and continue to do it, I’ve started to get him involved in the every day cooking I am doing. It’s still about adding ingredients, it’s still about stirring. he doesn’t necessarily get the sweet treat at the end but that doesn’t appear to be much of a motivator for Oscar. He just wants to be involved in the process. And he enjoys it so much, I’m going to document our trials and tribulations in the kitchen, with a series of posts, called The Boy Makes……

And here’s the first one.

Last night I had him making burgers (although we haven’t quite got round to him shaping them yet) and today he helped me make BBQ Pulled Pork.

And on today's show I'll be making.....

And on today’s show I’ll be making…..

Pulled pork is one of those amazing recipes. You hear all about it, you see it and you assume its incredibly complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can find a myriad of recipes for it online, but I follow this Slimming World, syn free one:

  • 1.5-2kg pork shoulder, all fat removed. Removing the fat is the hardest part of the recipe, and requires a sharp knife, good kitchen scissors and patience! I always do this before the boy joins in as hE has no patience at all (sound like anyone else 😉 )
  • 75ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 x jar passata (I use a 68g one)
  • 3tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp sweetener ( I use natural plant based sweetener here. I like Canderel in my coffee, but not for cooking. You could use sugar if you felt so inclined but that would add syns)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The recipe then goes on to suggest using a slow cooker and reducing the sauce first. I don’t have a slow cooker, and I cant be bothered to reduce the sauce. We literally pour each thing into my Le Creuset casserole (this is the bit the boy loves), then I warm it on the hob.

Its old, but it's loved. The Le Creuset that is!

Its old, but it’s loved. The Le Creuset that is!

Look at his little hands!

Look at his little hand!

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Give it a stir

Before adding the meat and sticking it in the oven on gas mark 2 (150c or 300f) for about 5 hours. Ish. Give or take.

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Cover the meat in a little of the sauce

I check it after about 4 and give it a pull through with a fork. If it comes apart easily, I shred it and mix it up with the sauce and leave it for a while longer, sometimes out of the oven, sometimes in, depending on how wet it is.

Freshly shredded, straight out the oven

Freshly shredded, straight out the oven

It’s a very understanding dish. It basically does whatever you ask of it and will reheat brilliantly, if you add a little water. I’ve had it with chips, with pasta, with rice. It lends it self to tart flavoured veg, such as coleslaw and pickles but works equally well with roasted Mediterranean style vegetables or garden vegetables. It would be fab for a party and I plan to do it for our next games night.

Only thing is, Oscar wont eat anything with a tomato base. Ahh well all the more for us!

What’s your favourite dish to cook with your children? I cant be the only only training up their child for Masterchef?

BakedPotato Mummy