Apple crumble

Sneaky veg apple crumble

I had one of those moments as a parent this weekend that almost made me cry with relief. I'm going to tell you about it even though I know it's going to sound ridiculous. My son ate a portion of apple crumble. He knew there was fruit in it. He asked for seconds.

This is a massive deal for us.

When he was a baby he ate everything but since the age of around 18 months he has refused all fruit (and indeed most vegetables too). I can't really remember how this happened now. I remember him at 15 months tucking into Weetabix and banana - but not how we've ended up here.

It got progressively worse - he used to eat dried dates, bananas and apricots, but now only eats raisins. During his first week of pre-school the staff couldn't work out why he refused to go and join the other children at snack time. When I told them that he doesn't like fruit, and we made it clear to him that he wasn't going to be forced to eat fruit but could take a box of raisins instead, he happily joined the other kids.

This was a major source of stress for me for a long time, until I realised that I wasn't helping the situation and it was best just to let him get on with it but always have fruit on offer should he want to try some.

So he's not exactly tucking into bananas, strawberries and grapes yet, but this feels like a very good step in the right direction - two whole portions of apple crumble consumed.

In the car on the way home (we'd been at granny and grandad's house) we talked about the fruit in the crumble. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "So do you like fruit now?" R: "No, only when it's all mushed up." Me: "Oh, so it has to be cooked, not raw?" R: "Yes, cooked and mushed up, I won't eat it if you roar at it."

So there you go.

I like to add some ground almonds to my crumble topping, which is not only delicious but also makes it a bit healthier too. My kids don't eat nuts very often so it's a good way of sneaking them in too.

8 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
20g brown sugar
225g (8oz) plain flour
150g (5oz) butter, cut into cubes
100g (4oz) brown sugar
75g (3oz) ground almonds

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Put the apples in a pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender. You may need to add a little water to stop it from sticking - just a few drops.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish and sprinkle over the brown sugar.

Rub together the butter and flour with your fingertips (or in a food processor) in a mixing bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and ground almonds and spread the crumble over the top of the fruit.

Bake for 45 minutes until browned.