Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sugar-free apple and berry breakfast crumble

Breakfast: Sugar-free apple and berry breakfast crumble with a cup of chai tea

Lunch: A quinoa, roasted beet, avocado and spinach salad

Dinner: A mixed veggie stir fry on soba noodles and a vegan coffee and ginger cupcake with lemon frosting

Now, I've had an obsession with crumble since I was a child. If it wasn't the first thing I learned to make, then it was the first important thing I learned to make, and eating it was a regular occurrence; apple crumble every time the apples came off the tree, every time we had a Sunday roast and pretty much every time one of us felt like it and the cake tin was nearly empty. Lovely stuff.

Unfortunately this crumble-heavy diet is unsustainable. For a start, I don't live in Rawmarsh any more and keeping that many apples in the house at all times would probably triple my grocery budget. No, no; these days, crumbles are strictly for treats...

...until now.

Spurred on by the success of healthy quinoa breakfast cake a few weeks ago, I set about this week creating a fat- and sugar-free apple and berry crumble that would actually be nutritionally beneficial to me, meaning I could eat it in the mornings, guilt-free. And I succeeded.

You'll need:
(Feeds 4 for a small breakfast or 2 hungry people)
3 cups diced apple
1 cup water
1 cup blueberries
1 cup dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup wholewheat flour
2 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Place the apples and 1 cup water together in a pan and bring to the boil
Lower down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all the water is gone and it resembles apple sauce
While the apples are cooking, place the dates, 1/2 cup water and vanilla essence in another pan and heat for 5-8 minutes
Blend the date mix together into a paste
Remove both pans from the heat and stir the blueberries into the apple sauce
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and stir in the chopped walnuts, ground flax, cinnamon and oats
Add the date paste to the mixing bowl and, using the rubbing method, combine it with the dry ingredients until it looks like - well, a crumble topping!
Pour the fruit mix into a ovenproof dish and top with the crumble
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is browning

The great thing about this dish is that you can prepare it the night before and just cook in the oven in the morning - or reheat the leftovers the next day!

Both the flax and the walnuts in this dish bring a good amount of vegan-friendly omega 3s fatty acids to the table, but even better are the oats. As well as being a great source of slow-release energy and helping to regulate the blood sugar of diabetics, oats are actually a good source of protein. Oat protein is considered to be almost equivalent to milk, egg or meat protein, and, along with all the other goodness in this meal, sets you up for a brilliant day!

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