Adventure 7: Epping Forest

Monday, August 25, 2003

Friday 22nd – Sunday 24 August 2003

Who’d have thought we could have a full on countryside weekend adventure in London? For the last bank holiday of the year we decided to visit Epping Forest. Just 20 miles from home we were surrounded by forest in Debden House Campsite. It was a pretty looking, large 5 field site carved into the woods. We’d recommend it for the location alone even though the facilities we’re so filthy!

We had dashed off after work on Friday night and upon arrival, chilled out in the dusk with a bottle of wine. Saturday morning dawned bright and warm. After bacon snadwiches and coffee we jumped on the bikes for a day long tour of the Forest. As you can see from the map we covered the length and breadth of the forest and some of the Lea Valley too. We stopped for lunch at a canal-side pub and headed home via Queen Elizabeth I’s hunting lodge.

We awoke on Sunday with saddle-sore behinds and decided to have a leisurely morning picking a tub full of blackberries to freeze for use later in blackberry and apple crumbles. We motored home along the very unpretty North Circular and marvelled at what a woodland oasis Epping Forest is amidst all this traffic and grime.

Blackberry and Apple Crumble
There’s loads of different ways of cooking crumbles but this is the way I do it.
The crumble topping

  • 175g/6oz flour (plain, self-raising or wholemeal)
  • 75g/3oz butter or margarine
  • 100-150g/4-5oz sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Rub the butter/maragrine into the flour. Do this by lightly rubbing the pieces of butter with stuck on flour through the tips of your fingers. Mix in the sugar and cinamon. You can put some oats in for extra crunch if you want. This mixture can be lumpy. It all adds to the crumble texture.

The fruit filling

  • Tinned sliced apples or peeled, 2/3 big cored and sliced cooking apples
  • A handful of blackberries (Just ask us for some if you don’t have any!)
  • 25g/a handful of sultanas or currants (optional)
  • 25g Sugar

If you’re using a tin of apple then you may not need the sugar. See what you think. Preheat Oven Gas mark 4/180 celcius. Place the apple and blackberries in an ovenproof dish with currants and sprinkle over the sugar. And another pinch of cinamon if you like it as much as I do!

Cover the fruit with the crumble mix and press down only lightly to keep a rough lumpy finish on the top that will go golden. Bake for 35/40 minutes in the centre of the oven and after letting it cool a little you can serve it with custard, cream or ice cream. Any problems just give me a shout. Good-luck!

Oh and here’s a realPlayer song about crumbles to inspire you!

And another one if you didn’t think the first one was bad enough! This one’s about beer…

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