A lot of people ask me how I run two businesses from home, write two blogs and run a household with a 20 month old toddler
crashing hanging around.
Well I don’t want to give away all my secrets, but I can tell you about the food blogging part. Specifically, trying to take photos of food when there are curious chubby fingers that are never more than an arm’s length away…
Please see picture above for complete graphic disclosure of the types of hurdles I face. It goes something like this:
Are you getting the idea? Surprise! Working from home is not as glamourous or easy as it seems, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being able to cook, photograph and write at home in between reading stories, dancing and finger painting. It’s fantastic! But enough with the whinging and moving right along to today’s topic: chia seeds.
Chia seeds are the highest known plant source of omega-3 and are an ancient grain/seed that has recently come back into fashion. They are a nutritional powerhouse, but many people are not comfortable cooking with and eating them yet.
I’ve been playing around with chia seeds for a while – throwing them into cakes, on top of muesli and porridge and even mixing with water and using an an egg substitute for vegan baking. Yep, it really works! And here’s why: chia seeds are excellent at absorbing liquid.
Once they take a nice long soak in any liquid (water, milk, juice etc) they swell like crazy and the mixture becomes thick and goopy – kind of like a raw egg consistency (hence using them in place of eggs).
One day I was experimenting with soaking chia seeds in soy milk when my toddler distracted me with something and I completely forgot about the bowl. When I came back a few hours later the mixture was a very thick custard consistency – kind of like junket - with slippery, semi-crunchy seeds throughout.
The seeds are a cross between strawberry seeds (for size) and tapioca (for texture). I know, you’ll really have to use your imagination. It’s quite an unusual bubbly texture that you might just find addictive. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.
Anyway, the taste of the chia and soy milk mixture alone wasn’t the best, but it got me thinking that with a few flavours thrown in it could make a very nice dessert.
Add a chunk of almond toffee for dipping or nibbling and you have got yourself a hostess-with-the-mostess dessert that’s a cinch to prepare. Just make sure you serve it when the toddlers have gone to bed. Enjoy!
Have you tried chia? What did you think?
Cherry chia pudding with almond toffee
6 tablespoons chia seeds
500ml (2 cups) Vitasoy Calci Plus
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons cherry conserve (or jam)*
125g (1/2 cup) whole, peeled and blanched almonds*
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
1. Put chia seeds, soy milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and one tablespoon of the cherry conserve into a large bowl. Immediately stir vigorously with a whisk or fork so that no lumps form. The mixture will seem very runny.
2. Place into the fridge for four hours, stirring every half an hour or so to smooth out any lumps. The seeds will eventually absorb all the liquid and the mixture will become very thick. It is ready to serve after four hours when thoroughly chilled, however you can leave it overnight if making ahead.
3. Meanwhile, spread the almonds out onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
4. Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves then allow to boil, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until a light caramel colour. Pour over the toasted almonds then put the tray into the fridge until ready to serve.
5. When ready to serve, spoon the chia pudding into four small bowls and top each with one tablespoon of cherry conserve. Break the almond toffee into shards and stick into each pudding. Enjoy right away.
*I used Bonne Maman cherry conserve. Blanched almonds can be bought pre-prepared at health food shops or good supermarkets.
Fig & Cherry was commissioned by Vitasoy Australia to develop this sponsored recipe featuring their range of non-dairy milks. For more great soy recipes (including plenty more by Christie!) visit www.soy.com.au.
If you are a brand or PR who would like to commission a sponsored recipe, please get in touch via the Advertising page.