Following on from my last post, you can’t get better than nature’s free food. I’m hardly a seasoned forager, but I know a juicy blackberry when I see one, and yesterday there were hundreds along a little wooded strip that leads to our local city park. Remembering my dad’s old advice not to pick anything below dog-height, I set about filling a hastily emptied water bottle with enough free fruit to make crumble, ably assisted by my two bottle-holding helpers (who got a bit bored after eating the first couple of handfuls and left said bottle in the middle of the cycle-path while they checked out some sticks and other interesting woody things).
Crumble presents some challenges in the healthy eating stakes, being traditionally made from fruit baked in half-a-ton of sugar and topped with white flour, more sugar and butter! But you can’t do autumn without a good crumble or two, so here’s my latest attempt:
Contains: Nuts, agave nectar (a natural sweetener). Gluten-free.
For the fruit “filling”…
200g blackberries – washed
400g plums – washed, stoned and chopped
100g raisins (or sultanas) – choose those not coated in sunflower oil
60ml (1/4 cup) water
1 level teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
For the topping…
200g rolled oats
50g walnuts – small pieces
50g almonds – small pieces
50g hazelnuts – small pieces
60ml (1/4 cup) agave nectar
Mix the “filling” ingredients in an ovenproof dish and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whizz up the nuts in a food processor (a mini-chopper is ideal for this as the quantity is small). If you don’t own a food processor don’t despair… you can put the nuts in a sealed plastic bag (air removed) on a chopping board and expiate any latent aggression you may be holding on to with a blunt object of your choice such as a stone or a rolling pin! Add the nuts to the oats and agave nectar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Remove the fruit from the oven, cover with topping and replace in the oven for a further 5 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Bear in mind that nuts burn very quickly, so don’t choose now to pop to the shops/do your nails/start the washing up!
Of course no self-respecting crumble would be complete without custard. I must confess that at this point I probably undid all my good work by using a box of Alpro Soya Custard (which is full of sugar) instead of making my own. It’s not hard to make a basic custard from soya milk, cornflour and vanilla essence (Mary Berry look away now), and there are various custard powders that are quick and easy to use with any non-dairy milk (including Bird’s), but I think I need to work on something a bit better than this. Watch this space!