No-fail baking

by Claire

I love baking. And cooking. And eating.

I love eating healthy, nourishing food.

Experimenting with new and healthy recipes is fun and exciting, but sometimes finding the energy to search for new recipes and adapt them to my dietary needs is really exhausting – and that’s without even getting to the actual making of the food stage!

That’s why I love no-fail baking. It’s those simple recipes that you don’t even need a recipe for – things that can be done in such a plethora of ways that no matter what foods you exclude or substitute, you will still end up with a recognisable and delicious dish. Even better is when most of the foods are pantry staples, which means that you don’t have to make special trips to the supermarket, and your cooking can be done whenever you find you have enough energy for it.

It’s rhubarb season, and they were on special at the grocers. Rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits(?), up there with quinces and figs. I’ve only ever had rhubarb stewed – if you can do anything else with it, send the recipe my way as I can’t get enough of the stuff!

Stewing fruit is really REALLY hard to stuff up. You can do it (I’ve done it). You can burn it if you really try hard (you can even burn out the bottom of the pan if you leave it as long as I did once), you can over or under sweeten it, but you can always add more sweetener, or use it in an unsweetened cake or pie if you’ve used too much. You can add too much or too little water, but you can do delicious things with a watery stewed fruit, like reduce it or use it in a moist cake, or blitz it and turn it into ice-cream. You can stew it for too little or too long, but again, too little and the fruit is a little crispy which is fine, and too long and it goes all gooey, which I happen to prefer. Yum!

Here is my delicious stewed rhubarb. I put too much water in it, but reduced it a little which of course meant that the rhubarb was extremely mushy – just the way I like it!


I decided to make a rhubarb crumble. Mostly because a crumble is the easiest no-fail thing to throw together with whatever you have on hand. Even my Oma would agree, and her apple crumble is so perfect (and full of butter) that it would make you weep.

Again, if you try hard enough, of course you can ruin a crumble. Unfortunately nothing is idiot-proof, and I am a massive idiot.

Behold – slightly burned crumble, brought to you  by an idiot!


The trick to a good crumble though is to get a mix that feels right, then crumble it on by hand so it stays light – don’t compact it by pressing it down; you want all the air pockets so it feels like a crumble, not a pie-crust. However, if you stuff it up you still get something like a pie-crust, which is why this recipe is no-fail. You can have as much or as little crumble as you like, as deep or as shallow a layer as you see fit – it will still taste great.

So however you go about it, have fun with this no-fail recipe. Change as many ingredients as you like; make changes and alterations safe in the knowledge that it will still be delicious! Let me know about your own no-fail recipes too – I’d love to add to my collection!

Claire’s no-fail rhubarb crumble.


1 – Stew the rhubarb.

Clean the rhubarb and dice into chunks. Put into a pot on medium heat and add some water. Is that enough? Better add a dash more. Pour in some rice malt syrup. Finish the jar, hope it’s enough.
Come back in 5 minutes. Crap, that was too much water, you forgot that the sweetener was also a liquid. Also, you just plain added too much water. Oh well, keep it cooking for a while longer.
Taste it ten minutes later. Maybe it’s a little sweet. God I love rhubarb.

2 – Make the crumble.

Get out a bowl. Maybe a bigger bowl. Look at the pantry. Get out the shredded coconut, linseed meal, pepitas, and sunflower seeds. Consider chopping up the seeds, but can’t be bothered, this will be a lovely chunky crumble. Mix them all up, and add some water and leave it for 5-10 minutes so the linseed meal congeals and binds it all together. Don’t add any sweetener because the rhubarb is a little sweet. Consider adding some oil… But can’t be bothered, although it would make the top nice and crispy.

3 – Assemble and bake

Get out a baking tin – the terrine is closest. Sure it’s small, but deep. It will do.
Pour in the rhubarb. Deposit the crumble on top with a spoon because you can’t be bothered getting your hands dirty – wow this will be a deep crumble, maybe I should have found a larger pan, oh well.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius* for 20 minutes. Come back when the beeper goes and swear because you burnt it. Oh well, it’s only burnt a little bit.
*Do not do this. Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. And probably check it after ten just to make sure.

4 – Serve with Coyo

Yeah – this is pretty delicious!