One of the things that we love about where we live is that we are surrounded by woodland and beautiful walks. Yesterday we headed up to Tillingdown, if you want to read about what it used to look like there here is one of my old posts - it's now been demolished to make way for new housing. Such a shame as the old farm houses had great character.
Luckily for us there is still use of the public bridleway so we took the kids and Loki for a nice long walk and collected some foraged goodies along the way.
We are big crumble fans so we collected enough windfall crab apples - crab apples are much smaller than normal apples and taste pretty sour but we thought we'd give them a go. Crab apples have been associated with love and marriage. It was said that if you throw the pips into the fire while saying the name of your love, the love is true if the pips explode.
Other fruits on offer at the moment are rose hips and sloes.
Rose hips can be added to salads, sauces, soups and teas. It is a medicinal plant too. Rose Hips are a valuable source of vitamin C, containing as much as 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. They are also an excellent antioxidant.
Sloes are part of the damson or plum family and look a lot like blueberries. You can find them in hedgerows. Sloes are too bitter to eat raw but are great when preserved - obviously they are best known for flavouring gin.
We also found lots of lichen - reindeer eat lichen. It tastes a lot like beetroot.
This mushroom is still a mystery - the colour of it suggests that it might be what is known as a wrinkled peach.
Now to the crumble. It was a bit of an experiment. We washed and quartered the crab apples, de-seeding them and put them aside is a bowl.
The kids then helped scrape the seeds and hairs out of the rose hips (rose hip hairs are like itching powder). The sloes were just an experiment really - they contain small stones so de-stoning them is a bit of a pain.
The fruit was all added to an oven proof dish and sprinkled with cinnamon, golden caster sugar (about 75g as the apples are pretty sour) and some fresh grated ginger.
For the crumble use 300g of plain flour, 200g of unsalted butter and 175g of golden caster sugar (we also added 2 table spoons of porridge oats).
The oven was pre-heated to 180 degrees. To make the crumble add the flour and sugar with the cubes of butter and rub with your fingers until you get breadcrumbs - add oats if you wish.
Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit and back in the oven for around 30-40 minutes. Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream.
Did the rose hips and sloes add anything to it? To be honest I couldn't really taste anything extra but we may have got some extra vitamins. Plus it worked out to be a very good - almost free - pud.