Tag Archives: blueberry

Apple Berry Crumble

18 Aug

Its been a wonderful day of baby bliss and cooking – it was rainy outside today, so we had soup for lunch – a gorgeous mixed vegetable soup – butternut, asparagus, carrot, tomato, and green bean, simmered lightly, and then blitzed in the blender. And with it, four cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, on gorgeous brown bread, with a smear of mayo and mustard. Four cheese might sound overwhelming, but it really isnt if you use only little bits. I used all four because I was trying to use up ends of cheese – so we had brie, with the rinds cut off, which made the sandwiches silky and melty smooth, parmesan for its nuttiness, cheddar for its cheesy-ness, and Laughing Cow, because it was there! A little salt and pepper, and grilled them over a slow fire. Delicious.

For dinner, an angel hair pasta with spinach, zucchini, tomato, mushrooms, sliced garlic, white wine and sour cream. And for dessert, an apple berry crumble made with literally a handful of berries left over from a berry fest, and some gorgeous Braeburn apples. The berries tinged the apples red, and added a sweet berry tartness to the crumble. Perfection.

This crumble will serve six. Adjust as needed. Wonderful warm with cream, and leftovers make a great breakfast, with a bit of milk or yogurt poured over ­čÖé

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 – 1 cup mixed berries (we had blackberries, raspberries and blueberries)
  • 2 tsp + 1 tbsp granulated light brown sugar
  • 1 + 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 – 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 stick (approx 4 tbsp) cold butter, grated
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 170 C

Peel, core and chop the apples, and place them in a glass or metal baking pan. You can use a pie pan but I like those smallish rectangular pans. Sprinkle lemon juice over.

Mix in the berries, with your hand or a spoon, making sure that the berries are completely mixed up with the apples. Sprinkle over 2 tsp light brown sugar (or more if your apples arent that sweet), 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tbsp flour. Again using your hands or a spoon, mix well. The flour will thicken the juices of the apples and berries as they cook so you have a thick luscious crumble, instead of a juicy wet one! Ensure that the berry apple mixture is arranged in an even layer in the baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, the oats, grated butter, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the oats. The mixture will resemble sandy gravel. This is what you want. Taste – if it needs more cinnamon, more sugar, more butter, add.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the apple berry mixture, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Serve warm or cold.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

19 Jul

come to mama!Today, I needed to take a break from all the richness that I cook. Dont get me wrong, I adore burnt cheese, tacos, and cakes. But a woman cannot live like that every day, even if everything is made from scratch, and I try and pay attention to fruits, vegetables, proteins and chocolate ­čśë

Today, I needed to be healthy. I wanted something that would be immensely satisfying, but at the same time would boost my immune system and soothe my rather too full tummy. I wanted something easy to consume, and yet full of vitamins, minerals, and all that other good health stuff.

Miles, my sister’s husband, regularly has a fruit smoothie for breakfast. It inspired me. Fruit smoothies can be decadent and delectable, while at the same time being incredibly good for you. And they are easy to make provided you have a blender or immersion blender. So yes, a smoothie. For breakfast, and that was about it the whole day save some water. I needed to feel full, but at the same time, I needed to give my system a little time to relax. That, and I know I am going to Nathalie’s Gourmet for dinner tomorrow night!

I chose the ingredients for my smoothie very carefully. Blueberries were at the top of my list. These are the ultimate superfood, and I think its just wonderful that they are such a pleasure to consume as well! I did some research, and blueberries just blow me away.

  • Tufts University analyzed 60 fruits and veg for antioxidant properties, and the gorgeous blueberries won, rating highest in their ability to destroy free radicals.
  • They are a veritable youth tonic. Anthocyanidins┬áin the blueberries stop free radical damage to cell and tissues, veins and vascular system.
  • Blueberries contain a huge amount of vitamin C.
  • Blueberries are better then red wine for protection against heart disease.
  • Ellagic acid┬áin blueberries blocks the metabolic pathways that lead to cancer.
  • Kaempferol a flavinoid that reduces the risk of ovarian cancer is abundant in blueberries.
  • They also contain fibers and tannins which promote digestive health.
  • And the same compounds found in cranberries that prevent or eliminate urinary tract infections are also present in blueberries.

Still not convinced? Just do a search for blueberries online, and be amazed at the extraordinary properties of this fruit.

As a cook, it doesnt hurt that blueberries are just so damn sexy and gorgeous. The blue purple berry is just so beautiful to look at. And the taste – tangy, sweet, sour, bright. Stunning. When blended, blueberries add a stunning purple hue to any smoothie, and I love the fact that you can actually see the healthiness you are about to consume!

A perfect complement to the blueberry, and a pretty amazing fruit in its own right, is my favourite, the banana. Sweet, and creamy, tasty and yet chock full of potassium, fiber, vitamins and minerals, the banana is the perfect addition to any meal. I love bananas anywhichway. Sliced in yogurt as a cooling raita with spice Indian food. Baked in a cake. Eaten on its own. Frozen with chocolate. I froze some bananas (peeled) without chocolate, and they are perfect here. You dont have to add ice to get a cold smoothie because the frozen berries and banana do it for you while adding value.

As the basis for these beautiful fruits, fat free Greek yogurt is phenomenal. It adds its own tangy creamy taste, but is also packed with calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin-vitamin B2, iodine, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. And, it has wonderful little live bacteria in it which boost the immune system, regulate the digestive tract, and can boost good cholesterol while lowering bad. I try and use low fat or fat free yogurt because to me, it tastes very similar to its fattier sibling, while being much healthier. If you are a vegan, try one of the great soy yogurts out there. They work almost as well, and add a creamy rich consistency to the smoothie.

And finally, honey is a another extraordinary substance – raw honey has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties that astound me. As a sweet alternative to sugar, I think honey cannot be beat. I keep lots of different types of honey in my fridge, but by far my favourite is Leatherwood honey, only found in Tasmania. Its almost medicinal, powerfully honey tasting honey. And sweet enough that you only need a little bit. If you are vegan, agave syrup is a great alternative, and healthy too. Or even a splash of fruit juice.

So, a smoothie for makan today. Delicious, healthy and satisfying. I think I might have a smoothie day every week just to give myself a little rest from all this eating. Whats next? Raspberries and …

For 1 smoothie you will need:

  • 3 small ripe frozen bananas (or 1 regular)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 – 3 tbsp low fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat or fat free milk
  • 1 tsp honey or to taste

In a blender, or small bowl if you are using an immersion blender, combine the banana (chopped), blueberries, yogurt and milk. Pulse to combine. Taste. Add a little honey for sweetness and depth of flavour. Pulse gently again.

Pour into a large glass, and sip slowly, quietly thanking the universe for her bounty.