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Garden to plate: An exercise in mindful eating

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There are few things that are so simple, yet so full of pleasure as picking something from the garden, cooking it and serving it to yourself, family or friends.

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Rhubarb is easy to grow and has become a staple in our garden, but you can also have fun buying it from your local farmers market.

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Rhubarb is a nutrition treasure too. It’s naturally very low in carbohydrate, so if it’s poached with a little thought, it can offer a light fruit dessert and be ‘everyday’ fare.

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With rhubarb something is needed for flavour and sweetness – I grate in lemon rind or fresh ginger.  Sugar can be added to taste or use any sweetening alternative that you prefer. Someone once even suggested poaching it in ‘diet’ ginger beer – I haven’t tried it – but it highlights this point – growing and cooking your own food means you get to choose the gardening products and the ingredients that are added to the foods that you eat.

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Today our rhubarb dish is a little different. We have a daughter returning home for a holiday break so it’s a special occasion. Sharing a meal again around the table is made a little more special by including a treat.

I pull out the family favorite recipes and top the lightly poached rhubarb with Mum’s ‘Oat Crumble’.

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A delicious oaty mix, with brown sugar that caramelizes into a tantalising topping that can adorn any fruit; stewed rhubarb, apple or apricot  are all yummy.

Eating mindfully means I can make less and enjoy it more,  so unlike days past with enormous serving dishes that tempt ‘seconds’ or over large portions, I split the dessert and make two. One for this meal and the other to send home for loved ones elsewhere.

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Finally, time to eat ! We serve it with vanilla yoghurt.

It’s wonderful how eating mindfully  makes it easier to dwell in the sensual pleasures of a dessert like fresh rhubarb crumble. When we are fully awake in the moment of eating, we are not letting our thoughts entertain the idea of racing through this serve so we can have another, or that ‘someone else’ is eating more than their fair share – we can just stay  here, now, fully in the moment.

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A treat, when thoughtfully planned out and enjoyed, mouthful by mindful mouthful,  leaves no time for feeling guilty – not before  -or after – or ever – the only need is to sit replete in its joyful memory, tasting the last of the flavours as they linger, knowing this is just how all things delicious should be consumed.

Now all that’s left to do is to share this simple crumble recipe with those who wish to try it for themselves:

  • 4 tablespoons butter (or a polyunsaturated margarine*)
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½- 1½* cups rolled oats

* (I use an unsaturated margarine for those watching their cholesterol levels and I use more oats than less, to reduce the ratio of fat in the original recipe)

Method: Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add in sugar and oats and mix through.

Top stewed fruit and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Enjoy!

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