I have just realised that while I have been happily geeking out on gochujang this, and aquafaba the other (and then some), perhaps I have neglected the normal side of my cooking. And I am normal – I swear! As witness, my fridge currently contains white wine (opened), hummus (a meagre scrape left), celery, live yogurt, leftover pasta waiting for another job, a soggy-ended cucumber, innumberable half-used jars of things perhaps past their use by date. And, erm, kimchi and a wee smidge of gochujang.
Norma Normcore, that’s me.
However, looking at the recipe titles of the past few weeks/months, there is a clear pattern of slightly experimental, slightly left-field indulgences, fuelled perhaps by my general excitement that I have caught onto food trends before I even think they became trends (my aquafaba adventures began in April 2015). Or at least *aware* they are trends.
I do genuinely love things I create with said gochujang and aquafaba – when I combine the two, you will be the first to know.
But I do love a bit of fruity baking, too.
I admit I am no expert – I’m not an expert at anything, but less so with baking – but how could I not love baking and sinking my teeth into a just the right side of sweet, berry-streaked, crunchy bottomed traybake that is both delish and pretty healthy to boot? I would be a fool not to. And so would you.
These have been tested on about 20 people and has been given an all around double thumbs up. I was going to share this in a few weeks’ time, but I have been asked by a number of folk both in person and on Instagram (where everything on this blog gets a sneak preview) for the recipe, so here it is. I really hope you like the look of it. If you do make it, let me know here in the comments, or post a pic on Instagram and tag me. I’d love to see your own bakes.
See, I can do normal! But boy was it it hard not to bake these in a waffle iron.
Blueberry and Rhubarb Cardamom Crunch Bars
I’ve used lovely sweet fresh blueberries, but if strawberries are in – and sweet – where you are, use the same amount as for the blueberries, chopping them finely. Also, if you don’t fancy the cardamom, just leave it out. These keep well in a cake tin – in a cool place – for about four or five days. Or you can refrigerate them.
PS You can legitimately have one of these for breakfast. Have some yogurt and extra fruit with it to assuage any guilt.
200g coconut oil or butter or a mixture of the two (I favour a half and half mixture)
150g light muscovado sugar, sucanat, rapadura or coconut sugar (sugar is sugar to your body, so no special kudos to these really – other than taste)
100g whole rye or chestnut flour
100g spelt or plain flour (gluten-free flour is also fine here)
200g whole, rolled oats (Nairns – a Scottish company – have certified gluten-free oats)
8-10g quinoa or amaranth puffs – optional (they are incredibly light!)
Rounded 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
200g rhubarb, small dice
200g blueberries or other berries (if frozen, defrost)
50g chopped pecans, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 190F/375F. Parchment-line a 30cm by 20cm “brownie” pan.
2. Melt the coconut oil or butter slowly in a saucepan. Let cool a little.
3. Add all of the non-fruit ingredients to a large bowl and toss together until well mixed. Pour over the oil/butter and mix very thoroughly. Scrape three-quarters of the mixture into the lined tin, pressing down with a large spoon or your hands. I like to fold and press the excess parchment over the base to make sure I get the mixture evenly into the corners. Evenly dot over the fruit and top with the remaining crumble mixture – and the chopped pecans, if using. Fruit should be peeking through. Lightly press down.
4. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. The fruit will be enticingly bubbly and oozy. And very very hot.
5. Let the bake cool to room temperature before cutting into 16-20 bars/squares. Keep the pieces stored in a cake tin or similar, and in a cool room or in the refrigerator. I haven’t frozen these but I imagine they would get quite soggy if frozen and then defrosted.