Wanstead dinners, III: Perfect Pink Crumble

Suki Orange, Wansteadium’s food blogger, writes: It’s time for another healthy seasonal Wanstead-based recipe from our own nutritionist Karen Poole. I’m pleased so many of you are appreciating her ideas – we’ve had really good feedback so far. Do let us know what you think. Mr Orange and the satsumas will eat crumble for Redbridge given the chance, and I suspect many families are the same.

Perfect pink crumble
Currently in season, rhubarb, once a regular Sunday staple, fell off the radar for a while but I am glad to report it is now firmly back on the table.

This glowing pink vegetable has many health giving properties and has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It is very easy to cook and although it only really offers one dish – thankfully it is rather a special one.

Many people are put off by the amount of sugar needed to counteract rhubarb’s notorious tartness but I can give you a few tips to lower the calorie load and up the healthy aspect. In this recipe, the grated ginger adds an extra dimension of flavour, contains vital minerals and is also an aid to digestion.

Please note as well – rhubarb leaves are poisonous – so dispose of them somewhere herbivorous animals can’t get at them.

• 750g rhubarb
• 3 tbsp water
• 12 tbsp caster sugar
• 1tsp finely grated fresh ginger
• juice of a large orange
• 90g butter
• 150g flour
• 100g demerara sugar
• 2 tbsp oats
• 1 tbsp ground mixed nuts

Rinse and chop the rhubarb into two inch pieces.
Put it into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the water and the caster sugar and bake in an oven at gas mk4 or 180c for 10 minutes.
Add the ginger and orange juice.
Rub the flour and butter together into a breadcrumb consistency, mix in the sugar, oats and nuts and cover the rhubarb.
Bake at gas mk4 or 180c for 35 – 40 minutes.

Serve with vanilla organic yoghurt.

Healthy aspect
• Potassium – helps to maintain a normal water balance and a healthy heart
• Manganese – aids bone and ligament formation
• Vitamin K – blood clotting and bone density
• Calcium – facilitates muscle contraction and nerve transmission
• Zinc – can reduce lactic acid levels in overworked muscles and enables wound healing
• B3 – stimulates DNA repair and energy production

Xylitol is a sugar substitute made from birch tree extract with 40% less calories and a GI score of 8 compared to 65. Use it in the same quantity as regular sugar. Fruisana fruit sugar is sweeter than sugar so you can reduce the quantity by a third and has a GI score of 19. The Glycaemic index measures the potential to raise blood glucose and eating foods with a low score could help to reduce the overall glycaemic load of a meal and regulate your glucose levels.

Either one of these options works well in this recipe and both are available at Simple ‘N‘ Natural, 3A High Street Wanstead.

Rhubarb can aid digestion, although eating a lot may have a laxative effect and people on anticoagulants should be aware that vitamin K will be antagonistic to the drug’s purpose.

Nutritionist Karen Poole BA Dip Nutrition CNM MBANT can be contacted at k.e.poole@hotmail.com