Tuesday 18 March 2014

Feijoa and ginger crumble

We had a storm. Well, a cyclone. It brought with it a bucket load of rain for the garden, dripping window pains that were intermittently flooded with gusts of wind and extra spatterings of water droplets. The windows fogged up in the end and all I could see was a grey misty expanse, shadowed by the palm tree out front. It got colder. I got soaked walking home one day but was comforted by a warm shower and wooly socks I packed for this summer trip because with New Zealand weather, you never can tell. I got worried that the last of my beautiful sunshine had gone and my last few days in this beautiful country were going to be rain filled. Doubt crept in. I really dislike the word "should" and everything it implies but in this case, I really should have just trusted nature. I had forgotten that yummy feijoas, those crazy bitter sweet fruits of bounty had to ripen and summer wasn't over until the feijoa glut was finished doing its thing.

Lo and behold, the sun came out again. Soothing rays of warmth reached my shoulders and face. My sunnies were back out, my hair dried in the balmy morning air. The surf came back and I was back to barefooted bliss once more. With all this sun filled goodness came the feijoas. To me, they're like a kid's version of figs. Similar in size with a tough, smoky polished skin protecting a strange, soft , perfumed, seed-filled interior. They are usually cut in half, making two scoop fulls of sweet and sour perfumed yumminess.

I remember arriving here nearly four years ago and after the avocado glut where I consumed more avocados than I had in a lifetime, everyone starting talking about feijoas. "What the hell is a feijoa?" I kept asking. Then I tasted one and then another and another. I couldn't stop. Now that I'm back for a visit, I couldn't help get excited about eating them again. Calling over to my mate Anna's house yesterday, she told me she had an awesome suprise for me. One big beautiful bowl of feijoa goodness. It would seem rude not to stay for dinner, eat her amazing food and then cook up a feijoa crumble so here is the recipe in all its awesomeness. There were four of us. We politely took our first portion and then sneakilly stole spoons of the last portion in mid conversation until it was all gone. That's when you know it's a goodie!

Serves 4 hungry people and 6 polite tasters

3 or 4 large cooking apples
10-15 feijoas depending on size
8 pieces of stem crystallised ginger
4 tablespoons of raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

6 oz flour (wholemeal or spelt are yummy)
1 handful of oats
3 oz butter, cubed and slightly soft
2 oz raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 half teaspoon of ground ginger

Preheat oven to 180°C. Get an oven proof, preferably clay or glass dish for your crumble. Peel and core apples, then slice into thin chunks and put into dish. Half the feijoas and using a teaspoon, scoop out the flesh, chop finely and mix with apples. Finely chop ginger and stir through, then add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla essence. Spread the mixture so it fills the bottom of the dish.

In a seperate bowl, add flour, nearll all the oats (you want to leave a few to sprinkle on top) and butter and mix with your finger tips until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add sugar, cinnamon and ginger and mix through. (I find this relaxing but you can easily put all the crumble mix into a food processor and blitz). Press mixture down onto apples and feijoa mix and then sprinkle with last of oats. Bake for 30 to 35 minutee until bubbing hot and browned on top. Serve with custard, ice cream or yoghurt.

Enjoy and remember that it doesn't rain, it pours. When life seems to have hit a stagnant point, rest, refresh, take time and wait for the next glut so you can make the most of it. That's what I'm learning and trying my best to practice. Some days it works, others it's tough but feijoas and blogging bring a lot of ease and joy into my day. Hope reading this and making the crumble brings lots of joy into your day too!

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