For someone like me, surefire signs of depression would be a failure to notice the changing of the seasons or new food trends, to overlook different versions of old classics, or missing out on the excitement of cuisines from other cultures. Crazy phases and odd stages in my dietary choices have long been part of my life.
But regardless of my current groove, I try to keep to the natural, and increasingly as I get older my food has become more "worthy" and wholesome.
One good thing about eating wholesome food is that it is addictive: The more good food you eat, the more you want to eat good food.
During a raw food phase I fell in love with crunch and texture in a way that has left strange cooking habits. I now commonly fold raw chopped vegetables through cooked dishes before serving to give extra texture and variety. A raw green smoothie will do for lunch, chilled black coffee has become a regular fave.
Other strange stuff has happened. I'm now unimpressed by white flour pasta and would rather a wholemeal and spelt combo any day; or a loaf of bread with a bit of brown stuff added to it to melt my cheese on. Texture, interest and freshness are definitely paramount.
The biggest struggle I had with this was during a gluten-free phase. (No gluten basically means no food that includes or is derived from grains containing gluten such as wheat, oats, rye or barley.) I had been diagnosed gluten-intolerant by a naturopath who had performed a hair test - I had not been diagnosed with the serious coeliac disease (for useful information on this, see coeliac.co.nz), and I no longer seem to have any trouble.
Although I discovered a whole world of new ingredients to work with, so many of the pre-packaged items available were trying to re-create foods from the "white-food" world - white bread, pastas, biscuits, etc. The problem with the baked gluten-free world was that it seemed unnecessarily void of texture.
Thankfully, having had many other phases such as my raw food phase, I was able to create good, wholesome food that happened to be gluten-free. Hats off to the pastry and biscuit-baking gluten-free cooks, but working with tapioca and rice flour was not for me (although I discovered that using rice flour to roll out scone dough is fantastic).
I bought a few baked gluten-free products from the supermarket but a disturbing number featured palm oil as an ingredient. I might like the odd bikkie, but the idea of harming an orangutan to get it is beyond me.
Embracing every food whim may not be everybody's idea of fun but it certainly leads to some great discoveries. To satisfy my gluten-free sweet tooth I started to make this version of apple crumble. It has become my only apple crumble.
Although lucky enough to again be tolerant of gluten this recipe has remained the favourite. It is far more satisfying than the usual white flour and oat variety and can be jazzed up by trying out different nuts; pecans are great, so are pine nuts.
I choose not to peel my apples. Mixing sultanas through the apple or even some grated quince keeps this new version of an old favourite up for a little excitement.
APPLE NUT CRUMBLE
NEED TO KNOW
|Type of dish||Pudding|
|Cooking time||30 min - 1 hour|
|6 large red apples, roughly chopped, cores removed|
|2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey|
|2 Tbsp arrowroot powder|
|1/2 cup walnuts|
|1/2 cup almonds|
|1/2 cup coconut flour|
|1 tsp cinnamon|
|75 grams butter|
|2 tsp honey|
|A pinch of salt|
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Combine the apples, maple syrup and arrowroot and spoon into a baking dish.
3. Place walnuts, almonds, coconut flour, cinnamon, butter and honey in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still a bit chunky.
4. Pile on top of the apples and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly.
5. Serve with lots of homemade custard and cream.
- Sunday Star Times