When we landed on Crumble for this issue, I knew we needed a recipe. The only problem is, I hate cooking. I don’t mean I just dislike it; I vehemently hate cooking with a passion, and if there was any other way I could sustain life without cooking food, I would. I’ve never related to a character more than when Captain Raymond Holt said on Brooklyn Nine-Nine that he eats for sustenance and sustenance alone. If only Coles or Woolworths stocked those nutrition bricks.
On the other hand, Tiana Bryce, creator of the Snackish Instagram page, deeply loves cooking and baking. What better way to include an apple crumble recipe in Glass, than one I don’t have to cook, but can still taste the final product and enjoy Tiana’s warm, bubbly company?
Tiana welcomed me into her home one Saturday morning to “help” with the apple crumble recipe. I knocked on the wooden door and heard her excited ‘coming!’ in response. The door swung open to reveal Tiana – warm smile and arms wide open. Her place emanates life, warmth, and character. Feminist posters, some created by Tiana herself, don the walls of her share-house. A small copper bar cart is nestled in the corner with pink candles, cocktail attire, and recipe books perched atop. During my visit, orange and red paper streamers were strewn across the top of a decommissioned fireplace – Tiana and her roommates put them there before a housewarming.
Tiana led me to a small round table in the living room, where she preferred to cook with friends over the kitchen. Despite not being gluten-free or strictly vegan herself, Tiana went out of her way to secure special ingredients for a gluten-free, vegan apple crumble, so I could enjoy it too. The table was dressed with glass bowls full of sugar, gluten-free flour, cinnamon, and large red apples. It resembled the all too familiar Facebook videos of supposedly quick and easy recipes I am constantly being sucked into watching for 15 minutes at a time. But Tiana’s recipe was actually quick and easy.
I peeled the apples, my one and only responsibility. I watched in awe as she tossed ingredients into the mixing bowl to create the crust of the crumble. Tiana is not one to be restricted by a recipe.
‘Cooking is almost like a problem, and I want to find the solution for it,’ Tiana told me when I asked what draws her to cooking.
As she altered the crust, balancing the amount of flour with softened vegan butter, she talked about where her passion for food began.
‘I’ve always been vegetarian or vegan on and off through high school, and my parents didn’t know how to cook that kind of food, so I was forced to learn.’
‘Ever since I can remember, I always really liked watching cooking shows growing up, you know when you’re away from school sick, and there’s nothing else on tv during the day? I just always really liked them.’
Tiana reminisces about how she used to plan menus and play ‘cafe’ with her childhood best friend, the way some kids made plays or performed dance numbers for their parents.
‘My best friend’s mum always encouraged us to cook. So, I’d go over to her house, spend all night planning a menu for the next day, and cook for everyone. It was really fun!’
From there, Tiana’s passion for cooking was strengthened, and she wanted to prove a point: that vegan and vegetarian food could not just be as good as its meat and dairy counterparts, but better.
‘Once I started cooking a lot of vegan food, it allowed me to experiment more with it. I wanted to show that vegan food is just as good, so I’d take vegan dishes I’d made to parties to try and subtlety influence my friends.’
Growing up in a Samoan family, meat was always a staple for Tiana’s family meals and gatherings. According to Tiana, her dad can cook some nice food, although they’re very meat-centric. Despite this, she manages on occasion to trick her dad into believing vegan meat is real meat.
‘I’ve been able to fool him with a lot of vegan meat. He’ll say how delicious a meal I made was but will preface it by saying it would be even better with some meat in it. So, a few times, I’ve made similar dishes and put vegan meat in with it, and he’d go, See, this is what I told you! And it’s so much better with the meat.’
As the apple crumble came together, I thought about my sister’s haphazard cooking style – how it could be a coin toss of edibility. I was quietly reserved about Tiana’s crumble, the second gluten-free dish she had ever made. While the crumble cooled briefly, Tiana whipped up a butterscotch sauce and moulded vegan vanilla ice cream into balls.
You couldn’t tell the final product was gluten-free and vegan. The ten-minute dessert tasted like it had been carefully cultivated over hours.
I took the rest of the crumble home and finished it that night. Tiana has an undeniable talent for cooking.
Gluten-free Vegan Apple Crumble with a Butterscotch Sauce
- 8 large apples, peeled and chopped into inch cubes
- One teaspoon cinnamon
- Two tablespoons dark brown sugar
- One pinch salt
- Juice of half a lemon
- One teaspoon vanilla essence
- One tablespoon gluten-free flour
- 1 cup gluten-free flour
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup Nuttelex
- ½ cup Nuttelex
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup coconut cream
- Fresh berries of your choice
- Vegan vanilla ice cream
- Small dusting of cinnamon
- Combine the filling ingredients together and place into a large cake pan or ceramic pie dish.
- Mix the flour, oats and brown sugar together into one bowl and mix until well combined
- Fold the Nuttelex into the rest of the ingredients until it comes together. It shouldn’t be too greasy and should be able to clump into balls.
- Place crumble in heaps on top of the filling.
- Bake at 180 degrees fan forced, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
- While the crumble is cooling, prepare the butterscotch sauce.
- Combine all butterscotch sauce ingredients in a small saucepan on low heat.
- Drizzle the sauce over the crumble, add the fresh berries, vanilla ice cream and a pinch of cinnamon.