Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Why you should be eating berry crumble

Crumble weather
Berry crumble looking pale and interesting before its date with destiny in the oven.
It has been unseasonably, unreasonably wet, wet, wet here in Sydney. Miserable, cool and dreary, and we're all feeling righteously ripped off that we've been denied a summer. And now there is an unmistakably autumnal tinge in the air. Good weather for a berry crumble.

I don't generally eat dessert beyond a teeny-weeny bowl of fresh fruit and vanilla yoghurt eaten with a tinsy-winsy teaspoon, so crumble fresh from the oven is a gorgeous treat. There is something about hot berries that's almost wrong. Flour, oats, sugar and fruit - tune out now if you're easily offended, low carbers.

Particularly if you're offended by fructose (oozing out of the sugar and the fruit).

Fructose is the latest compound to find itself nutrient non grata. It seems to have particularly fallen out of favour in the fitness community.

In a recent post, my friend Donna Miller, a (brilliant) PT, talks about the relationship between fructose and leptin, specifically how fructose suppresses the actions of leptin, raises triglycerides and increases circulating insulin. A nasty chemical cocktail.

She concludes that we would do well to limit our fruit consumption to 2 pieces a week, especially those of us with soft tummy issues. Like moi.

I am not well qualified to disagree, but I do. While I don't dispute Donna researched her article impeccably and relays her facts in good faith, it sounds to me like nutritionism. That is, laying the blame for poor metabolic health at the doorstep of 1 nutrient: fat or carbs or fructose, rather than looking at the overall quality of a dish or a meal or a diet.

I think if your general diet is good and you avoid added sugars, then a small bowl of berry crumble on a miserable rainy evening is no biggie. It contains protein, fibre, antioxidants and other phytochemicals as well as fructose. And fruit is a natural wholefood.

Most importantly, it's a wholesome, divine treat, and food is about feeding the senses and the soul as much as the cells.

Without further ado, here's my loose adaptation of Stephanie's basic crumble topping recipe from the Cook's Companion.

100 g brown sugar (I used rapadura)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger or cinnamon
60 g butter
half-cup plain flour + half-cup oats
2 cups frozen raspberries and blueberries

Never a frown with golden brown.
Mix sugar, baking powder and ginger/cinnamon. Crumble butter into flour with your fingers to form pea-size pebbles, then toss flour mixture with sugar mixture. Spoon fruit into a buttered 1 L, ovenproof dish and strew with topping. Bake at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes until topping is  golden brown and bubbling at the edges.

What about you? What's your dessert policy? And do you have a stand on fructose? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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