Mixed apple crumble and banana muffins

I had good intentions – a couple of softening apples in the fruit bowl and half a tub of cream in the fridge that by food hygiene standards at work would have been open a day too long. But at home this equation meant only one thing: my husband’s favourite, apple crumble. However, I did not count on my son suddenly deciding he liked apples again and I had no other fruit to add to the now one lonely apple in the fruit bowl.

Or did I?

The fruit base:

By way of getting over the card limit in the health food shop I had bought some dried apples so while I preheated the oven, made my crumble mix and prepared the one remaining apple, I poured some boiling water over a handful of dried apple and left it to puff up a bit.

In the bottom of my baking dish I put the fresh apple slices, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and the dried apples along with a splash of the water they’d been soaking in.

The crumble mix:

This is never the same. I always use a ratio of 2:1:1 for the flour, sugar and butter with a (large) sprinkling of cinnamon, but what flour or sugar I use depends on what I want to use up. On this occasion the ‘flour’ was wholegrain spelt, oatmeal and wheatgerm (I like oatmeal in crumbles as it helps everything stick together enough to give some texture) and the sugar was golden caster (usual preference is soft light brown sugar as it works in a similar way as the oatmeal). I rubbed all the ingredients together until I got my desired consistency, then sprinkled it on top of the crumble and put it in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes at 180C.

…which leads me to the banana muffins.

I had, it seemed, been a little generous in my measurements and although I like the crumble more than the fruit there was the problem of fitting it in the dish. So what could I do? Well, my lonely apple did have the companionship of some browning bananas which I did not think my husband would appreciate in a crumble (maybe one day). So, I mashed a banana into my remaining mix and put it in a couple of muffin cases to bake alongside my crumble. A little bit of baking powder wouldn’t have gone amiss but they made a very yummy breakfast.

Food stuff finished:

Apple  *  Wholegrain spelt  *  Oatmeal  *  Wheatgerm  *  Cream


Crumble is such a great quick dish to use up both leftover fruit, and the dregs in the storecupboard.

Try experimenting with fruits and spices. Classics are apple and cinnamon, and pear and ginger. But what about plum and star anise?

If you do not eat dairy then don’t miss out – the butter can be replaced by a dairy-free alternative, nut butter or oil.


Monster Noodle Soup




… so named because I had to serve it in a mixing bowl.

This dish is the epitome of leftover cooking: it is not what I set out to make. The plan was tagliatelle in a mushroom and tarragon sauce, but it seemed silly to leave half the stock when I was using up everything else. The result, however, was a perfect meal-for-one for a girl full of cold.


What did I use?

A handful of mushrooms, a few sprigs of tarragon, lemon zest, a teaspoon of mustard, a dollop of honey, butter, flour, stock (about 500ml), wholegrain tagliatelle (about 75g)

How did I make it?

While the tagliatelle was cooking (per the packet’s instructions) I fried off my mushrooms, tarragon and lemon zest in a dollop of butter. Once golden I added about a tablespoon of flour (whatever is handy, just to thicken it), stirred for a minute then added the stock. I let this bubble away, stirring occasionally, until it was a thickness I liked and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then, I drained the pasta and added it to the ‘soup’. In the last moment I added a dollop of honey as medicine for my cold.

Food stuff finished:

Mushrooms   *  Tarragon  *  Mustard  *  Stock  *  Tagliatelle  *  And the soup – of course!


Try swapping the mushrooms for any leftover veg or meat, and the tarragon for any other herb. Likewise, the stock can be whatever you have to hand (I’m not actually sure what mine was) – a dash of wine, or even juice if you’re feeling experimental. Tagliatelle can be substituted for any type of pasta, noodles, rice or potatoes.


Get a spatula around the inside of jars – you’ll be amazed at how much you can salvage!