I feel like Autumn is pretty much here. The weather is gloomy, a bit humid and rain is inevitable most days. Having said that, this summer has been the most summer-like in many years. I have been very impressed. Although, it does make me sad when we hit the point of no return into cooler weather. I feel like I spent the entire summer defending the heat from, well, all British people.
It is true what they say, no one is ever happy - in the winter, it's too cold, in the summer it's too hot. I will, I confess, moan in the cold. But what is there to moan about in the summer? Flowers are out, beer gardens are dry, BBQs are lit, and produce is at it's absolutely most exciting. I can't tell you how many people said, "What about this heat wave then?" I had to restrain myself from shaking them and saying, "It's not a heat wave! It's SUMMER!" Maybe it's because I grew up in the heat I have such strong feelings about it.
Back to what I was saying about the produce though. We are at the end of the season now, but a local nursery still has some of their berries left for picking. We went out with some friends to get our load. We picked a kilo each of strawberries and raspberries and between us we got a kilo of blackberries. I can't tell you the sweet smell they all gave off in the car. I couldn't wait to get to using some of these.
It seemed only right that once I'd washed them all, I had to make a crumble. I didn't use all the kinds of berries that we got because I still had some fruit in the fruit bowl to use up as well. So I put a load of the berries into tubs and put them in the freezer - that way (hopefully) our haul will last for desserts and cakes right through the autumn and maybe even well into the winter. A girl can dream, right? The berries that wouldn't fit into the freezer went into another tub all mixed up together and into the fridge for snacking. I also kept aside a load of blackberries for crumble making. And do you know what? The recipe couldn't be simpler.
Blackberry and Rhubarb Crumble
200g rhubarb, chopped into small chunks
50g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the crumble topping:
100g plain flour
100g rolled oats
100g light soft brown sugar
180g butter, cubed and cold
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C. Mix all of the fruit together and lay them evenly into a 19x27cm oven dish. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and vanilla extract.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a big mixing bowl. Rub in the butter in with the dry ingredients until everything is well combined and looks like crumbly pebbles. Pour the topping over the fruit, making sure it's covered right up to the edges. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. The crumble will be crunchy, buttery and bubbly. My favourite.
Serve hot with vanilla ice cream and have the leftovers for breakfast (if there are any).