The coldest days here are always July.
Yesterday we spent the morning at a playground and the cold was biting my toes and nudging at my bones, despite wearing billions of layers.
The cold put a stop to my idea of an afternoon run, and instead all I wanted was to curl up with something deliciously warm in my hands to ward off the ice.
Apple crumble is traditionally made with a lot of sugar, but now that my palate has changed and I don’t eat as much of the refined stuff anymore, I really love this version. It’s warm and sweet, yet nourishing enough that I even ate it for breakfast this morning with a big dollop of greek yoghurt!
Perfect for a frosty morning, or an evening cosied up under a blanket. I made it in my Thermomix but it would be easy enough to make by stewing the apples on the stove, and crushing the nuts in a clean tea towel with a rolling pin. Enjoy!
Sugar-free easy Apple Crumble
Serves approx 5
8 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into eighths
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
1 cup oats
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup almonds or other nuts of choice
2 tablespoons rice malt or maple syrup
2/3 cup shredded coconut
Stew the apples with the cinnamon and water either on the stovetop on low, stirring occasionally or in the Thermomix at 100 degrees/reverse/sp 1 for about 13 minutes.
Place stewed apple evenly on the bottom of a small oven-proof dish. Pre-heat your oven to 160*C.
Blend all crumble ingredients in a blender or Thermomix for 6 seconds on a medium speed, being careful to only combine the ingredients and chop the nuts slightly – you want the crumble to still be crumbly, not completely blended together.
Layer the crumble over the top of the apple and sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg on the top before placing it into the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the top becomes golden and crisp. Serve with pouring cream, or yoghurt if you’re like me and you want some for breakfast!
It’s a tradition, gingerbread. It belongs at Christmas and always involves copious amounts of icing and way too many lollies. Sometimes it’s one big gingerbread house, other times it’s gingerbread men and for the last two years I’ve made us a tiny house each.
This is the favourite so far, we get to decorate just how we like.
But the actual decorating of our gingerbread is done together. We spread out bowls of lollies and spoons and icing and I watch as they load them up, carefully making chimneys from marshmallows and patterns from Smarties.
Early in my childhood I recognised the importance of family traditions.
The security that comes from the constants, the expected. Gingerbread at Christmas, dinner at 6, camping at Easter, mulberry picking in summer, drives to the markets on Sundays.
Through the rhythm of seasons and those regular things we do together we cement our values as a family, reinforce the importance of spending time together face-to-face and fill up on life that will one day provide priceless memories for all of us.
Easy Quick Gingerbread Recipe with Thermomix option
90g brown sugar
125g plain flour, sifted
185g self raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons honey
1. Cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger and fold through mixture. Add honey and mix well.
2. Sprinkle extra flour onto a surface and knead mixture until soft but not sticky. Chill for 30 minutes. Divide into four portions and roll each portion out to 3mm thickness.
3. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters or paper templates. Place on a baking tray and cook at 180C for 10-15 minutes.
Thermomix: measure all ingredients into bowl. Mix speed 6 for about 15 seconds to combine. Mix on interval speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Tip out your dough and form a ball on some plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Edited to add: The templates I’ve always used for these little houses are from a Donna Hay Christmas magazine and can be found here. I used the ‘small house’ template.