Apparently, so the radio reliably informs me, the 3 meals per day structure is in decline, especially in terms of a sit-down, family meal. When I was a child we always had our evening meal around the table as a family, and it’s something I love to think back on. Probably when my brother and I were teenagers it became less frequent, with everyone having different activities, and indeed different dietary requirements, but I think even then we maintained a Sunday dinner, and a once weekly evening meal at the delightful Park Hotel (I could not imagine a fancier place in my youth). I love a proper sit down with the family, talking about your days, bickering light-heartedly, making each other laugh.
My mum always cooked our Sunday dinners, but I sometimes helped with the pudding, especially if it was crumble. Our neighbours’ apple tree grew over the fence into our garden and we were welcome to pick the apples. A Sunday when my mum was examining apples under the tree was guaranteed to be a good one! She would prepare the fruit while I prepared the crumble topping. This suited me fine, because in fact I always believed the crumble to be far superior to the fruit lurking below, and would have been happy just to have a bowlful of the topping.
I still love baking and eating crumble, and have become much fonder of the fruit (though that’s still clearly not the best bit). I’d never had blackberry crumble before making this, but I’ll definitely have it again – the berries are lovely and tart and the orange juice sets them off beautifully. This is a heavenly, lazy Sunday pudding. All the better with a generous helping of custard!
serves 4-6, from How To Eat by Nigella Lawson
120g self-raising flour
90g vegan margarine/spread
3 tbsp light muscovado sugar
3 tbsp (vanilla) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
juice of 1/2 orange
1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Put the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the spread and rub in.
2. Stir in the sugars and cinnamon. Keep the mixture in the fridge until needed.
3. Toss the blackberries in a buttered pie-dish with the flour, sugar and juice.
4. Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
5. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Serve with custard, if you like (and who doesn’t?!).