Food

Dorm Cooking 101: Quick Dessert- Apple Crumble

I have a terrible sweet tooth. Cravings strike at any time, unannounced. This worked out wonderfully when I lived downtown and a 24-hour McDonald’s was a three minute walk away. Living on campus means everything closes around 12am (good thing too, otherwise my waistline would suffer!) and my cravings have been known to strike way beyond mid-night at times. I often resort to quick, easy to make desserts during times of need like this. My favourite quick & somewhat healthy dessert is an Apple Crumble. I always have apples in my fridge because they don’t spoil easily, they are portable and delicious! I always have oats because my mum drilled in the importance of fibre into my head before I left for university. I also always have sugar for cereal, tea and the occasional coffee. So this works out pretty well for me since you don’t need those annoying things you never buy like baking powder.

Here’s what you need (and substitutions)
One Apple (I used Golden Delicious because that is what I had but my mum makes this with Granny Smith. I’ve made it with Macintosh and they work just fine, too)
3 Tbsp Sugar (I used brown because I love the richness from the molasses but you can use white granulated sugar too, no problem)
3 TbspFlour (If you don’t have flour, put some bread crumbs in)
1 TbspGround/Chopped nuts (Optional)
3 Tbsp Oats
Cinnamon (Optional)
Half a Lemon (Optional)
1 Tbsp Butter

Since Golden Delicious apples are sweeter than Granny Smith, I like to squeeze half a lemon all over the cut up apples. This not only gives them a tang but also keeps them from going brown. Butter your baking tray and lay the apples in the tray. Make your crumble by incorporating butter, sugar, apples, cinnamon and ground nuts if you are going to use them. The consistency should be like wet sand and should be of a similar colour. Excuse my pictures, I dropped a ton of cinnamon in my mixture and it looks really dark. It tasted just fine, a little too sweet because I may have been a little liberal with brown sugar too. Top your apples with this crumbly mixture and stick it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes till the apples are soft and the topping is crisp. You can eat it with custard, ice cream or just by itself. It’s a simple, easy, quick dessert you can make with things you probably have!

Mmm, gooey gooey sticky mess 🙂

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Food

Dorm Cooking 101: Parfaits

Parfaits are ideal dorm food. They have healthy yoghurt, fruit and some nice, fibre-rich granola. If you get the healthy kind, it can be one of the healthiest, yummiest snack or dessert. I’m not one of those people that reaches out for a parfait at Second Cup, I usually make a beeline for the chocolate cake. It’s probably because all the parfaits in stores & cafes look so dead and dull. They don’t look delicious. These ones, they have these amazing contrasting flavours that explode in your mouth– the cool yoghurt with the warm granola, the soft yoghurt and blueberries with the crunchy almonds and caramelized oats, the tangyness of the greek yoghurt and the sweet, smokey caramelized brown sugar on the granola, all make spending an extra ten minutes making your own granola worthwhile.

I was watching Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network and one of the chefs, I think it was Tyler Florence who said the best thing (crunchy or sweet, I can’t remember) he’d eaten was some sort of granola at a cafe. The chef at the cafe cooked it over a stove and then baked it, making it super crunchy and warm. I loved the idea of making your own granola. I also have a jar of oats and a bag of brown sugar both of which need to be used up soon so I decided to make my own granola. I’ve also taken a serious liking to Mediterranean probiotic yoghurt (which has a lot of health benefits, one of which is reducing chances of colon cancer) which is creamy and tangy. I figured the sweet granola would go amazingly with the tangy yoghurt.

Here’s a picture and a quick way to make your own granola!

What you need:
(Measurements are according to your taste, if you like more oats than yoghurt, add more oats, if you like lesser almonds, put lesser almonds)

Some rolled oats
Some roughly chopped almonds
Brown Sugar
Butter
Water
Salt to taste

Toast the almonds on a pan without any oil or butter. They are done when they smell nutty. Add some oats and toast them a little bit too, add a tiny pad of butter, maybe around a teaspoon. Crumble about one and a half to two tablespoons of brown sugar and sprinkle some salt. Keep stirring and add about two tablespoons of water to let the sugar caramelize around your oats and nuts. You can add cinnamon if you like, but the brown sugar and almonds make it so flavourful, you really don’t need it.

Serve on top of yoghurt with fresh berries. I used blueberries because I recently learnt that they are very high in anti-oxidants and great for you.

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