This past weekend was spent in Austria on a whirlwind trip to the quaint city of Salzburg. The getting up early and catching a train in time to get through security before boarding at 6.30am on a Saturday may have been too much if I was working. Though my last contract ended a few weeks ago and here I am still in my pajamas on a Tuesday morning.
Anyway, sometimes going somewhere can leave expectations. A movie here and a few stories from friends there and you begin to shape an idea of what a place will be like. For some reason Austria was never one of those ‘must visit’ places and quite frankly I have seen enough cathedrals and castles for my liking. I’m more a new world kind of person and I had never heard anything outstanding about Austria. It’s just another country in Europe for all I knew.
Coming into land in Salzburg made me aware I had never much paid attention to the mountain scenes of the Sound of Music because the snow capped mountains that went as far as I eye could see and it was breathtaking and I was suddenly very wrong with my view. Landing with cloud’s hovering over the closer hills that want to grow up and be mountains surrounding the town left me enamored and somehow the link between rugged nature and old history is perfectly mixed.
Between eating apple strudel and an afternoon tour, my time in Austria was something like 25 hours which I discovered is too short for this place with all it’s natural beauty. I must go back and I fully intend to spend more time there to enjoy it’s history and nature more for myself.
Apples seem to be a theme in my kitchen lately, there have been bags of them and every bite of apples is something I have enjoyed. Apple crumble has long been a favorite of mine at this time of year, but lately I have become addicted to smoked almonds. Have you had smoked almonds before? If not, there is something truly addictive about them. I can’t even put my finger on it and you likely would think I’m crazy, like I did my dad who got himself into the smoked almonds habit for a little while a few years ago. I think I may have even rolled my eyes at him and the three bags of smoked almonds he put in his shopping trolley while telling me “they’re so good.”
He’s right, they are good and no word of a lie, I have googled how to make my own as sometimes it can be hard to find them here in London. Needless to say, fennel is an ingredients that goes well with apples and the smoked almond topping of this crumble made me admit that this is pretty tasty and my dad would likely agree.
Fennel and Apple Crumble
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 fennel, base and top removed, halved and finely sliced
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, halved and finely sliced
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup smoked almonds, finely chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350F.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the coconut oil on medium heat and place half the fennel in the frying pan, stirring to soften and caramelize. Cook for 2 minutes and place in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining coconut oil and fennel.
Place the ground almonds, smoked almonds, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ground cinnamon in a bowl. Add the melted coconut oil and stir through until the mixture begins to hold together.
Serve with custard or pouring cream.