The ministry of food and a crumble…

by Sunita on October 15, 2008

I didn’t post for a whole week! Now, that is some achievement(?). There have been drafts languishing away, just couldn’t bring myself to post it. And it has been quite a busy week too, embarking on a new endeavour (it is going to demand quite a bit of attention). But, yes, the little break from blogging did do good.

The trees around us, have been slowly, but steadily changing their hues, making it quite a beautiful sight to behold.

Now, onto a more serious matter. Last night, I watched this programme on the telly, The ministry of food in which dear Jamie Oliver was making a brave attempt to teach people with zero cooking skills how to fend for themselves. And when I mean zero skills, I really mean zero…they have never cooked anything in their entire life. It is overwhelming to see the number of such people that actually exist. What Jamie is trying to do is to teach a group of people some very basic recipes and then urging those people to teach the same to another group of people. The idea is to pass on the baton, and in this way, many more people are using their pots and pans.

Of course, the journey has not been easy. The people have got used to their way of life and can cook up every excuse possible, not to cook in their kitchens. So breaking the barrier has been tough for Jamie. Hence for someone like Mike the miner, who has never handled a pan in his life to do a lovely stir fry and also to teach it to another group of people is such a satisfying thing to see. Or take Sharon, the mom, who breaks out into tears when her daughter, actually likes and compliments her on the pancakes she has cooked. Pancakes! That’s no big deal, we might say….but, you see, Sharon has never cooked anything for her child, or for herself till now…well, for that matter, even her mom had never done anything like that. These are people who live on ready made meals. Needless to say, their diet is playing havoc on their health too. Jamie’s stepping into their lives has made such a big difference. While earlier, they used to perch on the sofas and eat their readymade meals, they now have a dining table to sit down and enjoy their home cooked family meals. Where one lady’s kitchen had just one tiny pan to show for cooking utensils, it now boasts of a whole set of pans of various sizes.

Yes, in days , when cookery shows are aplenty, and the chefs are dishing out delicacies for those who belong to the relatively higher echelons of cooking, Jamie’s approach to teach basic cooking skills to real people, to improve thier quality of life, is really to be admired. Of course, he has a long way to go.

Obesity levels are soaring in the developed world, Great Britain, being the third most obese country in the world! Surely, a half hour spent today, is worth all it’s weight in gold, for a healthy tomorrow.

Rather than looking at the facts and figures, Jamie urges the people to take it in their own hands to do something about the current situation. A person learns a recipe, teaches it to a few others, those few go on to teach more and in this way, a chain is formed and many more people actually learn to cook. Check out Jamie’s website to learn more about this great campaign.

Today’s recipe is also a very easy one…one even a novice can whip up. Yes, it is a simple apple crumble.

Apples abound during this time of the year and this is another nice way to use them up. This is how I make my apple crumble…slightly spiced up and not overtly sweet and buttery.

What’s needed-

4 apples, peeled , cored and chopped
3 tblsp of honey( or according to desired level of sweetness)s
2 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp crushed red chillies

The topping-

1/4 c of jumbo oats
1 and 1/2 tblsp plain flour
1 and 1/4 tblsp of dark brown sugar(I used muscovado)
1 tblsp ghee/butter, melted
1 tblsp of chopped nuts( I used pistachio)

How to-

  1. Place the apple, honey,cloves, cinnamon and crushed red chillies in a wide pan and mix well. Place the pan over high heat and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook till the apples soften. Keep stirring every now and then, to avoid burning. Do this till the apples soften and the juices evaporate. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  2. Pre heat the oven at 180 deg C.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients for the topping.
  4. Divide the apple mixture among four ramekins ( mine were 3 inches wide) and sprinkle the topping over each.
  5. Arrange the ramekins on a large baking tray and place in the centre of the pre heated oven. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or till the top is nicely browned and the fruit mixture is bubbling.


  • This is a very forgiving recipe. The sweetness can be adjusted ( according to the tatness of the apples), the amount of topping can be increased or decreased.
  • It can also be made in one shallow dish instead of individual ramekins …just spread the apple mixture and sprinkle the topping.
  • In fact, you need not even cook the apples, just mix with the rest of the ingredients and arrange in a baking pan, sprinkling the topping over the fruit(of course, this will give different texture, but tastes good nevertheless).
  • This can be made with other fruits as well.

That’s it! Serve it on it’s own or with some thick cream or custard. We had ours on their own. It was nice digging in…the crisp topping with the spiced, softer fruit within, was a delight.

Am sending this crumble over to Maninas as a part of ‘Eating with the season’.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Divya Vikram October 15, 2008 at 3:39 pm

NOT posting for a week is an achievement??? And the apple crumble looks heavenly Sunita..


2 Gretchen Noelle October 15, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Apple crumble with red chilies?!?! That sounds fun!


3 Happy cook October 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I think it is always nice to have a break frombloggin, i take them now and then, especially when my daughter is having her holidays.
I did see a intrview from jaimie in Loose woan about his new programme.
You know how to spice up your desserts :-)


4 sunita October 15, 2008 at 6:05 pm

In some ways, yes…especially when it seems to take over too much :-)

Yes, the slight heat gives a nice kick :-)

happy cook,
:-) …we did love the crumble indeed .


5 indosungod October 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Sunita what Jamie is doing is laudable indeed. It is like any other skill, scary in the beginning. I looked at the Apple Crumble pictur and thought “Sunita must be kidding, she thinks this is easy”. Reading the recipe, it is indeed easy :)


6 Ivy October 15, 2008 at 8:06 pm

What a coincidence. I rarely watch television and this morning while I was ironing I was watching a Jamie Oliver show with his students who were preparing a meal for Tony Blair. One of his chefs asked a student to identify a pasta and he could not identify spaghetti :-) after one year in a culinary school, just imagine. Your apple crumble looks great and I like the addition of the red chillies.


7 Destiny's Vegan Kitchen October 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I must try this recipe! I bet the chilies have a nice warming effect on the body–perfect for the Fall weather!


8 Sukanya Ramkumar October 16, 2008 at 3:31 am

Apple crumble looks so good. Loved the ramekins, so cute… Lovely recipe…


9 SMN October 16, 2008 at 8:38 am

Sunita i was visiting ur site almost daily waiting to see the next post but no luck and today i saw hope u had a nice and good break…

Apple crumble looks yum. Can i avoid red chillies i hv a sweet tooth and if i am adding sugar what is the quantity


10 Miri October 16, 2008 at 10:19 am

OMG – you live in England! I know, you must be thinking ‘DUH?!!’ I watched this same show on my telly in my hotel room and thats how I made the connection. I have been in London on work for the past two weeks. For some reason I never ever thought of you as being in London….sigh, I wish I had known earlier, I could have atleast rung you up and had a chat!
The Apple crumble looks delicious!



11 Nirmala October 16, 2008 at 11:06 am

Oh was thinking where did she go ? Nice to see u. I was searching for a recipe with apples and there you ead my mind. Will make this :)


12 sunita October 16, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Jamies efforts are indead admirable.And yes, this is indeed a very easy recipe :-)

:-) Thanks :-)

destiny’s vegan kitchen,
Thanks..yes, we liked the chillies in it :-)


13 sunita October 16, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Thanks :-)

Sorry to disappoint you…there were quite a few things up my sleeve…well, there still are, and will be for quite a while now :-)

As for the recipe, the chillies can easily be left out. I have always made this with honey. So, you could start with a little amount of sugar, and check the sweetness after a while…depends on how sweet you like it. And don’t worry, this is a very customizable recipe :-)


14 sunita October 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm

We are not exactly in London, but yes, it would have been really nice to have talked to you :-)

Trying to catch up with a few other things :-) …do try the recipe :-)


15 Shreya October 16, 2008 at 3:29 pm

definitely missed you this wk.. dont make the breaks too crumble looks so yum!


16 bee October 16, 2008 at 5:54 pm

gorgeous pics. i don’t dare make any of your recipes after i made those rice crispie squares. i just go on eating.


17 Mansi October 16, 2008 at 10:01 pm

lovely recipe Sunita! just add paprika instead of red chillies and you could’ve sent it to Thick paprika..:)D hehehe

great pics, as usual!:)and I share your Jamie Oliver respect:)


18 karuna October 16, 2008 at 11:55 pm

i was away for a good ten days. its a good break ure mind is more fresh. but i have this feeling f being left out from all that is happening…hehehhehe.
the apple crumble is a winner. loved the presentation.


19 Uj October 17, 2008 at 2:53 am

I used to come over everyday to check if you have blogged.. Missed you :) .. but as you said it is good to take a break always so that you ar backwith new zeal and enthusiasm..Crumble Looks lovely..Never tasted it.


20 Happy cook October 17, 2008 at 11:29 am

Sunita your blog is mentioned here and a lovley pic of you too


21 Meeta October 17, 2008 at 1:10 pm

I have extensively read about Jaimie’s campaign. At first it did surprise me that there are people who have never cooked for there children! But then when I thought about it it fits into the awful age we are living in – where people think fitness is a bit of tennis on their Nintendo Wis and that all food comes ready, prepackaged in a packing of some kind!

Jaimie Rocks and so does your crumble recipe!


22 Curry Leaf October 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Delicious,I love apple crumble.I had first made with plums(just to get rid of them,but loved it)Not posting for a week is an achievement,but disappointing for readers.


23 Anonymous October 17, 2008 at 3:28 pm

You make even the simplest of dishes looks so elegant. This is going straight into my ToDo folder.

Isn’t what Jamie Oliver is doing great? I applaud him especially for his efforts at making school lunches wholesome and healthful.



24 Alexa October 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Gorgeous pictures. Your crumble must be delicious!


25 sra October 17, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Now I know what you look like! Saw this?

Veda posted the link on Taste of India. Congratulations!


26 maninas October 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I love your twist on this dish, especially the combination of apples and pistachio! you’ve made a good old crumble – exciting! i’m very impressed.

i’m hosting an event on seasonal eating, and i was wondering if you’d like to take part with this entry. there’s still time to submit. i’d love it if you joined us!


27 maninas October 17, 2008 at 8:42 pm
28 Pravs October 18, 2008 at 2:36 am

reading about who have never cooked ..its so hard to believe for someone who cooks. Apple crumble looks appealing.


29 Kevin October 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Nice looking crumble! I like the clear dishes they are in.


30 Leonor de Sousa Bastos October 18, 2008 at 10:47 pm

hmmm… yummy!!

What a delicious look!


31 sunita October 19, 2008 at 8:29 am

Will try to keep up :-) …thanks.

Even i’m scared of those squares…they are really addictive :-)

:-D …but the chillies did give it a nice kick.

Thanks…and yes,it’s nice to be back in the centre of things :-)


32 sunita October 19, 2008 at 8:32 am

Sorry to disappoint you…will try to keep updated…do give the crumble a try…it’s easy to make and tastes good too :-)

happy cook,
Yes, I am aware of that..but thanks, anyway, for letting me know :-)

Thanks…and yes, what can one say about modern living’s cons :-(

curry leaf,
Thanks…sorry to disappoint you.


33 sunita October 19, 2008 at 8:34 am

Thanks…and yes, jamies efforts are very laudable indeed :-)

Thanks…we did love it :-)

Thanks…yes I did :-)

Thanks…we did love it…have sent you the link :-)


34 sunita October 19, 2008 at 8:36 am

Yes, it is indeed hard and moreover, it is playing havoc with their health…glad you like the crumble :-)

Thanks :-)

Leonor de Sousa Bastos,
Thanks :-)


35 Uj October 20, 2008 at 3:47 am

Hey Sunita,
Will surely try it :) I passed you another award :)


36 cooker October 20, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Hi Sunita your blog is fantastic & so is your apple crumble with those flecks of red chilli !!! I emailed you a few days ago reg. starting my own blog but I didnt hear from you. You must be busy but I would be very happy if you replied. Thankyou.


37 Mandira October 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm

gorgeous picture sunita… love the twist in the recipe :)


38 kittie October 21, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I found MoF interesting and distressing – there has been an amazing quality of debate following on from it.

Delicious sounding crumble Sunita!


39 sunita October 22, 2008 at 8:37 am

Do give it a try, and thank you :-)

Thank you…and yes, there are a fewthings that have come up and are demanding my attention. will get back to you as soon as possible :-)

Thanks :-)

i think any such endeavour is bound to give rise to debate…thanks :-)


40 sam November 4, 2008 at 5:35 am

hi Sunita,

tried this yesterday night. it was yummmmmmmmmmmmmm,
soft and sweet in the center and crunchy outside, lipsmackingly good.
thanks for the recipe:)



41 Anjali October 11, 2010 at 10:50 am

Planning to make this soon…apples are in season. I live in Mysore, India – what are ‘jumbo’ oats? We do get regular quick cooking oats..are these different?
Thanks, Anjali


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