Under the instruction of our mad teacher, who was caught in a timewarp somewhere between 1901 and 1968, we learned the basics of cookery. I remember making lots of things, but rice pudding and rock buns, scones and butterfly cakes stand out proudly amongst memories of incontrollable giggling, silent food fights (standing for role with pudding in my hair was quite a skill) and the joys of carefully but precisely pouring iced water down the back of a friends jumper. I don't think I have ever laughed like I did in school, and certainly not as hard as the day a very brave friend of mine was asked to taste the teachers offering of our weeks recipe and responded with enthusiasm, which we all recognised as a precursor to mayhem, the tasting was dramatic and followed by a loud scream and pretend retching, choking and falling about.
Anyway, apart from my love of a good session of nervous laughter, I have retained a love of cooking, and above all admiration for all teachers.
My offering today is to say to them "It was not in vain" and that they did teach me something - the basics, a foundation on which to build and improve.
Here is my version of a Home Ec favorite.
150gms plain flour
50gms Brown flour
125gms cold butter, cubed
50gms Ground almond
75 gms caster sugar
25gms demerara sugar
8 large sweet apples
3 Tbsp sugar
In a mixing bowl rub the cubes of butter into the flours, as you would for scones, but it will be less like breadcrumbs and more like biscuit crumbs due to there being more butter.
When this is done add the almond and give it a firm stir through with your fingers. Shake in the sugars and mix briefly before setting aside.
Peel, core and slice your apple and line along a deep pie dish. Sprinkle with sugar and mix around. Sprinkle with the remainder of sugar and top with the crumble mix. Don't press the crumble down at all, just allow it fall where it likes.
Bake at 190 for 30-35 minutes until the apple is soft, if the apple is still hard when the crumble is golden and crispy (as types of apple will vary) cover with foil, turn the oven down to 170/160 and leave for a further 15 minutes checking every 5. Its a labour of love.
Serve with vanilla ice-cream after a roast dinner!