Hello dear ones. Wishing you a happy Autumn and I hope the summer was full of adventure, joy and colour, wherever it swept you under its glorious warmth and sunshine. It feels good to be back in this space, sharing creations from the kitchen, rolling with the abundance of the new season and its ingredients – so delicious and comforting it is almost impossible not to find the time and space in which to honour them in the traditional way. And so I happily share with you an easy take on everybody’s autumn favourite, a healthy, tasty gluten- and dairy-free blackberry and apple crumble.
It also happens to be plant-based, for those of you that are on the search for a good vegan crumble recipe, and while our kitchen is not strictly in this vein, ft. goat yoghurt and butter, ghee, feta and occasional other things we find ourselves craving and enjoying as a family, keeping dairy to a minimum – while listening with the utmost respect to what my body is asking for (especially while still breastfeeding) – is always my intention.
Here around our woodland cottage, the hedgerows have been dripping with the ripest, blackest, juiciest blackberries since August. Sasha adores them, consumes them in infinite quantities and can also spot even the smallest one from a mile away. Together, in rain, wind and sunshine, surrendering to the slower pace of our early mornings together and not to be defeated whatever the weather, we have been harvesting huge handfuls. Some I have simply stewed with some ginger and cinnamon and frozen for winter, others have made it to this baked fate, and the rest have been eaten in tiny fistfuls before any plans could be made. We also have an apple tree in our neighbours’ garden which is bursting with delicious, juicy fruit and it is one of our favourite rituals run towards it and pick the day’s haul.
It isn’t until we moved to live truly in nature’s seasonal heartbeat that I fully began to understand on a deeper level the wisdom with which our edible plants grow and nourish us within the annual cycle. I am no experienced forager – there is much to learn – but even from seeing the timely ripeness with which the berries burst forth on the cusp of that most challenging season, Winter, when their stores of vitamin C and antioxidants will be so in need for us, with little effort or study I can begin to know more intimately our place within the vast web of our native flora. It is wonderful medicine.
This crumble began as an experiment with the ever-inspiring David and Luise of Green Kitchen Stories‘ blackberry and blueberry one, and I swapped apples for the latter since they are on our doorstep and begging to be enjoyed. I then played around with different levels of sweetness – just because the less, the better, for still-little toddler palates – and adding some of my favourite things to the topping. Something about the divinely bitter crunch of walnuts and cacao nibs seemed to be calling to me, and the warmth of cinnamon and ginger seemed like a perfect spices with these wintry ingredients.
Finally, it feels good to share, in the spirit of authenticity, that I have been really enjoying creating content in this space a little more slowly. I am learning to let go on a deeper level of preconceived ideas of what we in this digital sphere should be doing, and how that should look, and finding great liberation in tuning ever more closely into my own rhythm of being. It’s a long journey, and it only gets richer. The demands of motherhood keep me well occupied and as I find a smoother flow with this role as my son develops more and more each day, I cannot help but to then follow my own pace when it comes to creativity, manifestation and my projects outside of raising him. Some days there’s creative fire, some days, weeks or even months, I’m pulled inward to the simpler things, to see what’s being said there.
He’s a curious one, a questioner, an explorer and a fearlessly determined soul, so expanding into his reality just isn’t a part-time gig. And thank goodness for that.
2 medium-large cooking apples, cored, peeled and chopped into small chunks
2 cups blackberries
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or powder
2 tsp maple syrup or a sweetener of your choice
(Optional: 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or fresh, grated); 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup ground almond (or half almond, half polenta)
2 tbsp cacao nibs
a large handful of walnut pieces
3 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
4 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
a generous pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
Rinse your berries and combine with the apple in a mixing bowl, adding the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and maple. Mix well and transfer to a medium sized pie /baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the oats, almond and walnut. Then add the cacao nibs, maple, salt and coconut oil and mix again. Taste and adjust the flavours if you like; then spoon the mixture onto the berries and pat down gently.
Bake in the over for 20-30 minutes, until the apple is pinky and soft and the crumble is nicely golden.
Keeps in the fridge for up to three days.