Plum and blood orange crumble


My Mum is the queen of puddings. Pavlovas the size of your pillow, spewing with summer fruits and broken chocolate, or huge, washing-up bowl size birthday cakes made to perfection. Dense, muddy brownies and tiny chunks of sweeter-than-thou tiffin for after school. But my favourite of my Mum's puddings isn't ostentatious or planning to make an entrance with sparklers- it's the crumble, which she makes on a Sunday night, usually wheeled into the living room on a tea trolley by about 9pm, with custard and cups of coffee.


This is my version of a Sunday night crumble that never fails to perk up Monday and Tuesday mornings for breakfast, as the blood orange juice gives the crumble a spectacular colour for brightening up any bowl. I tried Alpro's soy custard for the first time with this recipe and I could hardly taste the difference between dairy custard.

Serves 4
Ingredients
1 punnet or about 2 handfuls of plums, de-stoned and cut in half
Juice of 4 blood oranges
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tbsp caster sugar for the fruit
2 tbsp caster sugar for the crumble mix
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup vegan margarine

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a large mixing bowl, rub together the margarine, flour and sugar until the texture is just a little thicker than sand but very smooth. Set aside.

On a low flame, heat the plums and blood orange juice in a pan, adding in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. You could add in any other spices or fruit you think could also work here.


After about 10 minutes on a low heat the fruit will have begun to stew a little so it is soft and has absorbed the blood orange juice. Pour the mix into a lightly greased oven-proof dish, and top off with the crumble mix.

Bake for around 30 minutes or until the topping starts to crisp up and is a dark golden colour. Serve hot or cold with custard, cream, or just plain.

Burnt sugar and blood orange churro bites


Last night a churro changed my life. Well, not just one, a whole plate full. Inspired by Nigel Slater's Churros with apples recipe, I whipped up a plate of moreish churro bites with some brown sugar and blood oranges. What caught my eye from Nigel's recipe is that the ingredients list was already vegan- a pretty rare find once you've strayed further than a fruit salad.

I've used every part of the blood oranges- the peel, flesh and juice- which breaks through the stodgy texture of the churros, and is perfect with the brown sugar, which I found burnt into little clusters once sprinkled over the hot churros.

Although this pudding would be PERFECTION for having friends round (everyone can eat as much as they like and still struggle to make a dent on the churro mound), I would make this a few times before to practice; the churro mix is quick to make, but the bubbling pan of oil to deep fry them in will require all your attention.


Makes a lot for 4 people
Ingredients
350ml water
1 orange's rind peeled
5 tbsp sunflower oil for mix, more for frying
1/2 tsp salt
200g plain flour
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 blood oranges for serving and juicing

In a saucepan, pour in the water, orange rind and 5 tbsp oil. Bring to the boil and then allow to infuse for 20 minutes.

Remove the rind, and add to a bowl with the salt and flour. Mix until a smooth paste forms.

In a pan suitable for deep fat frying, heat enough oil for bite size churros to cook in. Drop teaspoons of the churro mix into the oil, and wait until they turn a dark golden colour and float to the surface. It may take a few attempts to get the right colour, but once the oil is hot enough each churro should take around 30 seconds to cook.

Once they have turned a golden colour, remove from the pan and pile on a serving plate. I added a few sprinkles of brown sugar to each layer- along with some squeezes of orange juice, so that each churro tastes slightly different depending on how much sugar or juice it's soaked up.