Eating just like grandma…

Like nearly every other sheeple (sheep + people) in healthy-food-land, I’ve recently cut right down on the amount of sugar that I consume. The argument that sugar is an evil poison is extremely convincing and I find myself being swept along with public opinion.

Naturally though, my teeth are SWEET, so I’ve never felt the need to banish sugar from my life completely. I know myself well enough to know that it would be a futile exercise that would result in guilt and failure – two emotions that I just don’t need intertwined with my food experience. I love food, I love eating, I love cooking. And I love to cook for, feed and eat with the people I love.

So with that in mind, I keep the sugar debate in perspective. We don’t eat much processed food. We don’t drink soft drink or juice. Dessert is a rarity. Lollies are left for parties and most of the healthy treats I cook for the lunch boxes are fibre-rich with ingredients that nourish.

Which means on occasion, there’s room in our life for sugar. Not coconut sugar, or stevia or anything so fancy. Just sugar.

A couple of years ago, before the current sugar-fear exploded, the common food adage was, “Don’t eat anything your grandma wouldn’t recognise.” Luckily for me, my granny – like the rest of her generation – was extremely familiar with flour and sugar.

Unlike some foodie-types who claim to have grown up at their nanna’s apron strings, absorbing her food wisdom, my Granny was a pretty average cook. In fact it was a chore that she didn’t particularly like at all, which explains why good old fashioned crumble was on the menu so often. It’s a dessert that gives you a heap of bang for your buck. Just some chopping then a bit of massaging some ingredients together, into the oven and VOILA, the most gorgeous treat appears. And did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious, especially on a cold night, when eaten around a table with the rest of your family? It is. Try it.

Just quietly - this apple & berry crumble is a bit yummier than the one my granny used to make!

My granny ate this type of dish often, and she lived to a happy and sprightly 94.

Apple & berry crumble

Feel free to swap out the sugar for other natural sweeteners, as is the current trend. This is a traditional ‘grandma’ dish though, and I’m a big fan of making it with the traditional ingredients.

1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
100g butter, softened

3 granny smith apples
2 cups frozen berries
1/4 cup raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the oats, sugar, flour and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingers so that you have the consistency of rough breadcrumbs (you don’t have to be too exact here – a bit of lumpy butter works out just fine). Set aside.

Core and chop the apples. Toss into a medium sized oven dish (I use my 24cm round glass dish). Mix in the berries and scatter the sugar over the top.

Scatter the crumble mix over the top – leave it pretty loose – no need to pack it down neatly. Pop into the oven for 55 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serves 2 adults and 4 kids.

8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tailor Rue said,

    Coconut sugar will work a treat.

  2. 3

    susievenkat said,

    I think its my love of baking that precludes me from banishing sugar from the house. My Gran was also extremely familiar with flour & sugar -(esp. sugar). In fact, I think it was her I inherited my love of baking from! She lived to a very healthy 98. I’m trying gluten-free at the moment – which is severely challenging my baking prowess.

  3. 5

    Jane said,

    Oh yay – a healthy attitude to sugar! Honestly, even the title of ‘I Quit Sugar’ annoys me because that would have to mean you quit most fruit and vegetables and heck, even complex carbs are broken down into sugar eventually aren’t they? Sure it’s good to be aware of the sugar in our lives and many people should cut down, but sugar in itself is not evil. What’s going to be the next fad thing to blame everything on and cut out? Water? And yes, crumble is awesome. Great suggestion to add frozen berries, I will try that!

    • 6

      wendyblume said,

      The science behind it all is pretty convincing. Makes total sense that sugar and not fat has been the major flaw over the last 20 years, but that’s an argument mainly tied up with food processing and production. So if you don’t each much of that kind of food, then I think you can relax quite a bit.

      And yes, I must be getting old and cranky but I’ve lived through a few different food eras now and I can’t help but be a little jaded about it all.

  4. 7

    Kym Petersen said,

    Finally some common sense. If you paid attention to every fad that came along, what would it leave to eat? Moderation, moderation, I was brought up with it, I follow it, it’s done me no harm, nor my little family and I’m sticking to it! Love a good crumble, thanks for posting Wendy.

  5. 8

    Melanie said,

    Yet again, I love your work Wendy. And I thought I was the only person out there who hadn’t grown up with fond memories of wholesome instagram-worthy food preparation training moments beside my grandmother…

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