The Kiwi Cook

Illusions and delusions of a foodie from Down Under

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Pear & Ginger Crumble

July 20, 2014

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I don’t know about you, but I tend to associate fruit crumbles with being homey and traditional. Kinda boring, but comforting. Well, folks… you haven’t met this baby. It’s a fruit crumble on steroids… boring it ain’t!

What gives this crumble the ‘wow’ factor? Imagine soft, caramelized pears, combined with zesty lime and the strong bite of stem ginger, all encased beneath a crunchy, crumbly topping and slathered in cream that slowly melts into the caramel sauce beneath. Yep… I’m salivating as I write this!

This recipe from Jamie Oliver, is called ‘Best Ever Fruit Crumble’. I’m dubious about ‘best ever’ titles, and don’t like to use them myself, but I have to say that hands down, this is the best crumble I’ve ever eaten and I can’t wait to make it again! I adapted it ever so slightly, adding brown sugar to the filling rather than white sugar – I reckon it gives more depth of  flavour. And I’d recommend you decide for yourself how much ginger and lime works for you – it is pretty flavoursome (which I think makes it so darn good), so I suggest you taste it as you go along so that you’re happy with the balance of flavourings. Anyway… that’s enough pre-amble from me… run, don’t walk, to the kitchen and start peeling those pears!

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PEAR & GINGER CRUMBLE

Serves 4-6 (I served in 5 x 1-cup dishes)

Ingredients: (click here for unit converter)

For the crumble

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 115 g unsalted butter

For the filling

  • 100 g light muscovado (or plain brown) sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 4-5 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • 4-5 pieces stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime, plus extra for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar, salt and ginger.
  3. Cut the cold butter into chunks and rub it into the flour mix with your hands until you get a mixture that looks a bit like fine breadcrumbs (or, if you’re inherently lazy like me, you can just pulse the mixture in a food processor). This is the crumble topping.
  4. To make the filling, boil the water and sugar together, then carefully drop in the pear chunks and simmer gently for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the chopped ginger and the lime zest and juice to the pan and stir. Spoon the mixture into one large ovenproof dish or 4-6 small ones (the liquid will fill about half your dish and will bubble up and may spill over top as it cooks; that’s normal - as it cools, it actually caramelizes and provides a beautiful sauce).
  6. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the top of the fruit, piling it high in the middle of the dish and leaving space at the edge for the caramel to bubble up. Place the dish/es on a baking sheet to catch any juices that may spill over.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the pears are cooked and bubbling and the crumble is golden on top (I actually put the grill/broil on for an extra 5 minutes to give the topping extra colour and crunch - you need to watch it carefully though!). Take out of oven and place on a wire rack to cool. This pudding is equally yummy served either warm, at room temperature, or cold from the fridge. Serve with a dollop of cream or crème fraîche with lime zest grated over top.

Tip: This crumble will work well with apples instead, if you prefer.

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Curried Carrot & Apple Soup

July 17, 2014

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Winter time here in New Zealand – soup time. I was on the hunt for something a little different flavour-wise and was intrigued by the combination of curry, carrot and apple. Hmm, could either be gross or surprisingly tasty. Luckily, it was actually the latter. I used quite a tart apple and enjoyed it as a contrast to the sweetness of the carrots and the subtle spiciness of the curry. As you can see, my soup was quite thick (I had a few spare carrots and added them in), but if you follow the recipe exactly, it should be thinner in consistency. Thanks to my old favourite cook book The Soup Bible for the great recipe.

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Creamy Chai Latte

July 16, 2014

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Every once in a while I feel the need to re-balance my body (most particularly after a rich food blow-out!), and start by making up a pot of this delicious, yet healthy hot drink (it’s also wonderful during the winter months to warm you up). It’s rich in healing spices – the ones I’ve included are turmeric (an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant), ginger (an antioxidant, great for intestinal issues), cinnamon (an antioxidant; also anti-clotting, anti-microbial and blood sugar stabilizer), cayenne pepper (anti-bacterial, digestive aid, promotes heart health), and star anise (anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-bacterial). The recipe is inspired by Dr Sanjay Gupta’s Creamy Turmeric Tea (found on DoctorOz.com), however it’s very amenable to adapting, which I’ve done, adding a few extra components. Feel free to adapt for your own needs and tastes.

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Sticky Date Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce

July 13, 2014

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Boy, oh boy. It’s not often I can truly rave about a dessert, but this one scored a 10/10 for me. Not normally one for cake type desserts, I have to say that this recipe from Kathy Knudsen at Australian Good Taste, March 2009 (at Taste.com.au) is, in a word, spectacular. As far as I’m concerned, there’ll be absolutely no need to try other alternatives. The sponge is unbelievably soft, thanks to the dates, and when steeped in the rich, dark butterscotch sauce, incredibly moist. A winner, no matter how you look at it.

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Little Mocha Custards

July 5, 2014

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Wow, there’s a reason this dessert is served in small cups – it’s not for the faint hearted! This combination of strong coffee, chocolate and Kahlua (or whisky) packs a punch for sure – an adult dessert if ever I had one. It’s rich, but not overly sweet – in fact I added a tablespoon of icing sugar to the whipped cream just to add a little more sweetness. If you love a strong brew, this baby is for you!

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French Macarons with Lemon Cream Filling

July 3, 2014

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Boy, these are tricky little numbers. I’ve probably made about four batches of French macarons over the past few months and while they’ve gotten better each time, they’re still not what I’d call perfect. The problem is, there are so many things that can go wrong, dammit! Macarons are finicky about oven temperatures, how much they’re mixed, how long they’re baked, even humidity. Every time they’ve failed to grow feet, had hollow shells, left their innards on the baking paper, or cracked their heads, I swear it’s the last time I’m going to make them! And, yet, something compels me to try again. Perhaps it’s because perfection or not, these babies are delectably, diabolically yummy. Perfection, schmection!

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