I'm a fan of cooking, and have been ever since, as a kid, I figured out that the best way of getting to lick out the cake tin was to make the cake yourself. There've been a few bumps on the way - the time, for instance, I decided to make fried rice by, er, pouring dry rice onto a frying pan and, er, frying it. But mostly it's been a pretty sweet relationship, as you'd expect for something involving so much sugar and butter and milk and treacle and sultanas.
So, you'd think that, after all this time, I'd know how to cook something so simple and basic as a good apple crumble, right? Wrong; even now I still manage to get this quite obvious recipe wrong. Apples, sugar, flour, and butter make a surprisingly large amount of combinations together:
This was a very obvious error on my part. After stewing the apples sufficiently, I somehow thought that the way you made apple crumble was mixing together the sugar and butter and flour, and then stirring it through the whole apple mixture and putting it in the oven. I learned my mistakes from that one pretty quickly.
Bearing in mind the lesson from the previous week's Apple fumble experiment, I nevertheless somehow contrived to stuff up the entire recipe by adding altogether too much butter so that what resulted on top was not a crumble, but a thin gruel that seeped through the entire mixture anyway, just like the fumble.
On one or two occasions I have managed to turn out a fairly decent Apple humble. And no-wonder I'm humble about it, too, because it's not me doing it at all, I'm just following a recipe out of the Stephanie Alexander cookbook sitting on our shelf.
You would think that I would have been content to follow that recipe ever after but, oh, no. I just went back to my old ideas about throwing this and that and what have you together and producing something even worse than you'd expect. At this point when I see what happens, I add the grumbles, the crucial ingredient for the dessert, and everyone applauds.
I could go on; and I probably will go on, in future, producing endless variations on this theme. What next? Apple stumble (smashed crockery)? Apple rumble (a dessert that makes you run for the toilet?) It is a dreadful vision of things to come, all right.
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