The recent onslaught of childhood and 80's movie remakes from the past few years [ The Karate Kid, Friday the 13th...The Smurfs??] has got me thinking, when are they going to bring back The Wombles??
For those of you who haven't heard of The Wombles ('Remember You're a Womble'??) it was a fabulous British series from the early 1970's about a group of burrow dwelling creatures who lived in London's Wimbledon Common. The Wombles were possibly the forerunners of the recycling and re-purposing movement; picking up litter and 'making good use of the things that they found' on their jaunts around the park. An important message for kids today and one I will try to resurrect for mine! Now my favourite Womble was Orinocco, who, according to their official website was 'the fattest, greediest and laziest of the young Wombles. His favourite job [was] helping Madame Cholet to 'taste' recipes in the kitchen...' I was so obsessed with Orinocco that I wore his image on my knee high socks and would kiss his poster nightly before bed (hey I was seven!). I listened to the Wombles cassette (orange coloured, very hip) over and over til I could recite all the words to 'The Wombling Song'.
Which brings me back to Madame Cholet. The only female in the original lineup, she was the cook in the Womble family - apparently styled on the creator Elizabeth Beresford's own mother and named after the town of Cholet in France. She spoke with the most hilarious French accent and was always whipping up wonderful pies for the rest of the crew from the fruits of their foraging. As it's now Autumn here and a time for harvesting and foraging in the woods (or you local Whole Foods) I was inspired by an episode of the Wombles - Madame Cholet and the Blackberries) to make a blackberry pie [blackberries being the fruit, not the brand of cellphone]. It sounds like just the sort of thing that Madame Cholet would serve to her hungry troops after a great day of rubbish collecting.
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries from the Common (or substitute frozen berries eg raspberries, blueberries etc)
2 pears chopped into chunks (skin on)
Half a lemon - juiced
2 - 3 Tbpns slivered almonds
3 Tbpsns flour
1 1/2 Tbspn brown sugar
1 Tbspn butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
Place blackberries, pears and lemon juice in 4 small oven proof dishes or medium sized oven dish.
In a separate bowl combine flour, sugar, butter and oats and mix with fingers to form rough 'crumbs'. Cover blackberries with this crumble and sprinkle almonds over.
Bake in oven for about 25 - 30 mins or until crumble is golden.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, cream or Greek yogurt - tiara and candlelight optional.
PS In doing a bit of research for this post I was delighted to see that The Wombles band had reformed and played this year at Glastonbury...so maybe there is hope yet of a revival??!