Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Under the Doona Comforts of Crumble

It is one of those weeks when I know I won’t have lots of time and energy for cooking. Last night I left early(ish) for a swim and to get to the supermarket before coming home to make dinner. I needed some comfort and leftovers to get me through a big week of meetings.

In the supermarket I couldn’t think what to make and found myself in the magazine aisle flicking through various foodie magazines in hope of finding ideas – I would have even paid money if I had found other than the usual suspects. In fact, I wonder if I was not alone in this pursuit, as there seemed quite a few other women perusing the periodicals.

But I should have known that inspiration these days is more likely to come from a blog than a glossy magazine. I remembered Cindy’s fruit crumble last week which had brought to mind a hankering for a savoury crumble some weeks back.

Crumbles are hearty winter fare for dark cold nights. Tahini gives me the creamy vegetable stew I desire without the hassle and richness of dairy. The crumbly mixture of oats, cheese and nuts is full of proteins and has a pleasing blend of textures. And the smell of oaty goodness coming out of the oven is just the thing after a wet bike ride home.

As well as satisfying the need for comfort food, crumbles are a great way to use up all those grains I buy for a special recipe, only for the remainder of the packet to languish in dark corners of the pantry. I have written what I used below but any combination of vegetables, and grains would work – the nuts and cheese are optional. I think I was overly generous with my amount of crumble but it mixes with the veggies to make a pleasing porridgy stodge – I can never have too much.

While it was baking, I had some time to think about an appropriate name. Perhaps I have lived in too many places where the heating is substandard and the warmest place in the house is in bed. But warmth and comfort kept bringing to mind snuggling under the doona (that’s duvet to the British). It seemed an appropriate analogy given that the crumble is a comforting cover. And I love the pleasure of getting under the doona at the end of a day and melting into sweet dreams about Jake Gyllehaal. But enough about last night – here is my recipe:

Under the doona veggie crumble
(serves 6)

1 onion chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 carrot sliced
2 small potatoes, diced (200g)
500g Pumpkin
1/3 cup peas
2 medium zucchini sliced
150g mushrooms sliced
¼ cup red wine
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp mustard sauce (or seeded mustard)
1.5 tsp chilli paste (or to taste)
2 cloves garlic
1 tin (400g) tomatoes
1 tin (400g) baked beans
1 apple peeled and diced

1 cup oats
¼ cup wheat bran
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp flaked millet
1 cup grated cheese*
1/3 cup pecans
2 tbsp parsley
4 tbsp olive oil
(omit if making vegan version but you may need a little more oil, or you could try nutritional yeast)

Cooks onion, carrots, celery, garlic and potatoes in about ½ cup water over medium heat about 15 mins til starting to soften. Then add remaining ingredients and ½ - 1 cup water, stew 15-30 mins. I just let it stew on low heat as long as it took me to chop and add veggies and to prepare crumble.

To prepare the crumble mix all the ingredients – I just use my hands which helps get a feel of when there is enough oil in it to just coat the ingredients.

Tip veggies into large oven dish (I used my large le creuset dutch oven) and cover with crumble. Bake at 220ºC approx 30 mins ot til crumble is brown and crisp.

On the stereo
A short album about love - The Divine Comedy


  1. Truly delicious, and a fantastic way to use up those tiny, unusable amounts of spare grain that lurk at the back of the cupboard!

  2. This is a really great idea! I will have to try it after I've recovered from my 8 serves of sweet crumble. :P

  3. lucy, yes, it feels so good to use up those spare grains - I have finally used up some millet flake long past the use by date

    cindy, I can see you like your crumbles so I hope this will give them a new lease of life :-)

  4. Hi Johanna, I've tagged you for a meme.

    No rush, just when (and more to the point, if) the inclination is there!

  5. thanks Lucy - will be happy to oblige :-)


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