Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Apple and raspberry crumble for AC

Listening as I was to Magic FM in the nursery the other day, I was reminded of a thing that I always forget about, which is that in 2004 I went on a date with Jason Orange from Take That.

It happened like this: I was working at The Week, which as I'm sure you all know is a news digest magazine, and their offices used to be on Westbourne Grove, Number 90 - next to Sainsbury's Local. The combination for the keypad was 2589 and last time I walked past the building and keyed it in, it seemed they hadn't changed it. Next time you're walking past, why not try it?

Anyway, there were always famous people wandering past the office, because it's Westbourne Grove and the famous people who don't live in Primrose Hill live in Westbourne Grove or thereabouts. I saw loads, all the time: Brett Anderson from Suede, Jason Donovan. All sorts.

One day our buzzer rang, which was unusual because we never really got any deliveries or any visitors. I picked up the intercom but couldn't hear the person at the other end. So I went downstairs and there was Jason Orange.

"Hello," I said, wondering if he was lost.
"Hi, are you The Week?" he said.
"Yes we are," I said.
"I was wondering... can I have a look at one of your magazines? Only... I've heard good things about it but can't find it in any of the shops."
"Oh yeah," I said. "It's mostly subscription only. Come in and wait for a sec and I'll get you some copies."

So I left Jason Orange standing awkwardly in the cheese-smelling foyer of Number 90 Westbourne Grove while I went upstairs and got him some back copies of The Week. I didn't want to take him upstairs because I didn't want to expose him to the prying eyes of my colleagues. He seem guileless, naive, unaware that he was INCREDIBLY FAMOUS, but I knew if he came into the office it would be a piano-stopping moment. So I left him down there, like a pair of dirty shoes.

I came back with about 18 old copies of The Week.

"Thanks very much," he said, charmingly.
"The number to ring if you want a subscription's just there," I said, pointing to the number for subscription enquiries written in red, that no-one ever seemed to notice, always ringing us in the office to complain that Issue 435 hadn't arrived and this was the second time it had happened.

I waved goodbye to Jason Orange from Take That and went back to my photocopying. Then two days later he rang the office and asked me out on a date.

I wish I hadn't gone. I wish I'd just said "I'm sorry, I've got a boyfriend." It was true, I did have a boyfriend and I said I did. But I said I'd go for a drink with him anyway. Out of sheer bloody, morbid curiosity. Take That are incredibly popular and famous again now, but back then they were toxic dodos. I wanted, to be honest, to see how fucked up he was. The answer was: not really. I think I'm probably more fucked up for wanting to see how fucked up he was. It caused a terrible row with my then boyfriend. But he ran off with another girl two months later anyway, so I choose not to feel too bad about that.

Anyway on balance I don't think it's a very good idea to be in a boy band.

My friend AC has just had a baby and I am going round there to deliver her my baby death alarm, which is a thing you put under a mattress that tells you if the baby's stopped breathing. It's very useful, if you can work out how to stop it from going off all the time for no reason. I'm also taking round a crumble I made from actual fruit out of our garden, where it is currently raining raspberries and apples. I made it into one of those crappy foil take-away tins you can get from a certain sort of hardware shop because a) I can't spare a pudding tin (I'll never see it again, let's face it) and b) it means she doesn't have to do any washing up.

You can use whatever fruit you like for this, it doesn't have to be apples and raspberries. The interesting thing about this crumble is the topping, which is not a crumble crumble but a sort of flapjack lid, which is far superior, in my view.

Whatever fruit you're using, just stew gently in a pan for about 15 minutes with a splash of water and add sugar later if you think it needs it.

I have written about this before, but I get the feeling some of you weren't listening, so I think we'd better go over it again.

I'm going to be bold and say that quantities for this don't really matter. You need about 4 parts rolled oats (Scots porage oats will do), to 2 parts butter and brown sugar plus a large pinch of salt. Yammer it all up in a processor. You ought to get a soft and cohesive rubble, which you press all over your fruit and shove in a 180C oven for 20 minutes. If your mixture is not soft and cohesive (with some fly-away bits, obviousy), then add more butter.

I know that this is out of character for me, who is such a stickler for recipes, but I did it a few times, just by eye and it worked out. And I'm a fucking cack-handed moron, so you should be okay.


  1. I am really really enjoying the abundance of RR posts at the moment, without any dip in quality - thaaanks (:

  2. I would appreciate the fact I didn't have to wash the baking dish, then store it somewhere and try to remember to return it to you - good thinking!

  3. I touched Jason Orange's leg back before they were famous when Take That performed at Ritzy's nightclub (it was not very Ritzy BTW)!!
    I love your blog and was very excited to find TWO posts I hadn't read.
    Keep cooking, xxx

  4. I can see a queue of mumsnet readers on Westborne Grove keying in that code....your crumble/flapjack topping will freeze really well too for standby emergency puddings

  5. I thought Jason Orange was gay! I thought I'd read it somewhere years ago?? The Week maybe, post 2004?? You learn a new thing every day.

  6. Crumble!!!!
    Instead of butter and sugar in the crumble try a glug each of sunflower oil and concentrated apple juice...mixes quicker too!

  7. Came here via Giles and his Twitter and I like your blog so I'll be back :)

    I met Jason when TT toured Australia in 1995. By jingo that makes me feel old.

  8. I love the way you combine a very entertaining story with a recipe to follow.
    I can remember many a day I would have freaked out if I had spotted any member of take that . Good old Grove.
    Crumble/ flapjack, yes please!

  9. You are really funny. Keep on writing!

    Love, Housewife-38-also-struggling-with-laundry-and-post.

  10. I made this tonight for tea, and smells amazing, cannot wait for a taste. The raw crumble tasted good too, I didnt really eat a big spoonful of it. (I did) Thank you Esther. x

  11. Flapjack is by far superior to crumble. Excellent dish.