It’s been a while since I’ve used Chia seeds – I was obsessed by the little protein miracles a while ago. I had a kitchen tidy up last week and discovered a large stash so I’ve started to use them in everything again. Along with my chia discovery was a large packet of cacao powder and half an orange looking sad in the fridge – and so the chocolate pot was envisaged. Along with the yoghurt it packs a good protein punch too.
Brilliant to make the night before to let the chia seeds do their magic – and what could be nicer than a chocolate breakfast ready to eat as soon as you open the fridge.
Sprinkle some nuts, seeds and coconut on top and it’s ready to enjoy.
Chocolate power pot
- Juice of half an orange
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon cacoa powder (or cocoa powder)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 100ml soya yoghurt
Mix all the ingredients together and put in the fridge overnight.
Choose your sprinkles – nuts, seeds, coconut or even granola would be great.
These are little powerhouses of energy, easy to make and keep for ages in the freezer. I made some of these recently for a post run snack and they filled the gap perfectly.
I have tried very hard over the years to like fresh apricots – and they have to be pretty perfect for me to be tempted. Dried, however, I could eat all day and they blend up really well for energy balls and flapjacks. They also pair well with most nuts – but especially with almonds in my opinion.
I added in some matcha powder for the extra feel good factor – but you could add in the same amount of cocoa powder for a choc version, or just leave out the powder bit.
Apricot & Almond Snack Attacks
- 200g dried apricots
- 100g desiccated coconut
- 200g almonds
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- Some water to mix
- 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder or other powder of choice (maca, cocoa, cacao)
- Put everything into a food processor and mix until it holds together – add enough water to ensure it sticks together, but not too much that it looks too wet. The chia seeds help to bind the mixture as it settles.
- Press the mixture into a square dish (a baking tray is good) – around 8x8inch and lined with greaseproof paper. You want the mixture to be about an inch high for a chunky sized square.
- Put in the fridge for around 4 hours to harden up. Then take out and cut into squares. Makes around 10 squares, depends how big or small you like them!
- Store for a few days in the fridge or freeze them – they don’t take long to defrost and I have been know to eat them straight from the freezer.
Two ways with gooseberries, one fairly easy and the other super simple. The glut of gooseberries continues, the early hot sunshine this year has ripened them a month earlier than usual and I can’t eat them quickly enough. I have a few portions of gooseberry crumble in the freezer and couldn’t face any more, so instead I’ve made flapjacks. Easy and freezable – so a bonus. I also have a glut of tahini as I went into mad lockdown panic in April and stock piled tahini! – so I’m using it with everything and it works brilliantly with gooseberries.
Then, as I really couldn’t eat any more, I tossed the the remaining gooseberries in a freezer bag, added some sugar to coat them and froze them. I have discovered they are delicious eaten straight from the freezer like sweets.
I’ll keep experimenting as I still have a lot to pick and eat.
Gooseberry and Sesame flapjacks
- 250g gooseberries – topped and tailed
100g castor sugar
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
50ml sesame oil
3 tablespoons tahini
- 100g vegan spread melted (or butter)
Toss the gooseberries in the sugar and then add the sesame seeds and oats. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, tahini and spread. Then add this to the gooseberry mixture and mix well. Use a baking dish to spread and flatten the mixture – you want to keep it looking quite chunky, so about an inch high.
Cook for 30 minutes at 200c, 400f or Gas 6. It should look browned on the top but will still be a little soft. Leave in the dish until cool and then divide into slices. Mine always crumble a bit, so don’t expect perfect slices! The crumbly bits are nice mixed in yoghurt or just eaten immediately.
Top and tail your gooseberries. Put in a freezer bag, toss with some sugar. Freeze. Eat frozen. As an additional option, also toss in some desiccated coconut with the sugar before freezing and/or some cinnamon. You now have a bag of healthy sweets to dip into every time you go into the kitchen!
The rhubarb keeps coming and so does the Tahini. Tahini is one of my favourite foods, I have it with almost everything. During the first few weeks of lockdown I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I went for almost a month without any- until my lovely bestie delivered a jar and left it outside my door. That didn’t last long! but fortunately my stocks are now replenished and I am eating it liberally again.
The combination with rhubarb really works, although be warned rhubarb and tahini blended does look a bit beige – so the decorations on top of this dish are worth it! You do need some sweetener with this – I don’t add much sugar to my stewed rhubarb so usually need to add a bit extra into whatever I’m using it with.
Enjoyed eating this today after an early dog walkies in the sunshine.
Rhubarb & Tahini overnight oats
- 2 tablespoons stewed rhubarb (plus extra for the topping)
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 200ml Milk (almond, soya or coconut work well)
- 35g oats
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Blend the rhubarb, tahini, maple syrup, milk and ginger in a blender. Pour into a bowl and add the oats. Leave overnight.
To serve – sprinkle over the sesame seeds and add the extra rhubarb on top.
I love Rhubarb and thankfully it’s growing like a Triffid on the plot again this year. I’ve eaten crumble for breakfast, made muffins and mixed it stewed through yogurt and overnight oats. But today, it became my new favourite smoothie ingredient. Be warned this is a very creamy smoothie but rhubarb and peanut butter is a fabulous combo and deserves to be decadent.
Method (makes one smoothie)
- Cold stewed rhubarb – I used about 3 tablespoons
- 200ml of soya milk (coconut milk works great with this, in fact any milk. You might want to add more than 200ml to make it less creamy, I like mine almost mousse texture! Or thin it down with some water to make it slightly less creamy.
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter OR 1 tablespoon peanut butter powder (or both, why not)
- 2-3 dates
Optional – Protein powder for an extra hit of protein works well.
So go and stew up some Rhubarb, make a crumble and save some for your morning smoothie.
When in lockdown, eat heartily – is the current mantra in my household! I went out for my usual lockdown morning dog walkies, got soaked through and came home feeling cold, wet, fed up and in need of something warm, sweet and quick.
I did have crumble on my mind as i had made a lovely rhubarb crumble for my mum a few days earlier, which took ages what with having to wait 30 minutes whilst it cooked in the oven. The leftovers were great for brekkie, until i discovered the last portion had been eaten by my husband…
So – this was my urgent recreation with whatever i had in the house – and it’s pretty close to the real thing too. Probably took around 5 minutes to make and certainly hit the spot.
Almost instant brekkie crumble
(serves one hungry person – but could do two)
The fruit layer
Some fruit that will go juicy and mushy in the microwave – I used a punnet of blueberries and zapped them for a minute. Rhubarb or apple is great too as that only takes a few minutes to stew.
- 1 piece bread (stale is good too) – blitzed into breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons oats
- sprinkle of cinnamon, ground cloves or nutmeg or any warm spices you like
- 1 – 2 teaspoons sugar – less or more depending how sweet you like your crumble (i go for v sweet!
- Knob of non dairy spread or butter – coconut oil or other oil works too.
- Melt the spread in a frying pan. Mix the breadcrumbs, spice, oats and sugar together and add to the pan. Fry for 2-4 minutes until the mix has some bite to it like crumble (i.e not too soft)
- Whilst the crumble is frying – zap your fruit in the microwave – it won’t need long, maybe 30 seconds or so.
- Add the crumble to the fruit and there’s your crumble. Lovely with some extra fruit on top and some yogurt and maple syrup. Or cream or ice cream – after all we’re in lock-down.
I also added a sliced banana on top of the hot blueberries before i added the crumble on top. Play around and add in anything you have handy – peanut butter, nuts, seeds…
I had a gooseberry glut this year, first time ever so after over excitedly harvesting them all at once, I had a week of gooseberry themed breakfasts. These are the top 3 – all very easy and quick and making the most of the tartness and sweetness combo that makes the gooseberry one of those ‘love it or hate it’ type of fruits.
The combo with peanut butter is fab – but be warned, the colour mix doesn’t make for pretty photos!
- A large handful of gooseberries (approx. 15)
- 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
- 150ml apple juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
Blend it all together. The sweetness of the apple juice and maple syrup is a great foil for the tartness of the gooseberries.
Hot Gooseberry crumpet
- A large handful of gooseberries
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
- Nut butter
- Maple syrup
Melt the oil in a frying pan, add the gooseberries until they start to soften and split (about 3-5 mins). Toast a crumpet and spread with a nut butter of your choice and pile the gooseberries on top. You can swirl some maple syrup over the top for extra sweetness.
Gooseberry and peanut butter compote
- A large handful of gooseberries
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Melt the oil in a frying pan and add the gooseberries for 2-3 mins. Then add the peanut butter and heat through until it all starts to soften.
I’ve eaten this on its own, both hot and cold. Also lovely stirred through soya or coconut yoghurt.
This is seriously the BEST way to cook rhubarb. I discovered this when making a raw cake that included cooking rhubarb for the longest time at a low heat. I’ve played around with the timings and this is about as good as it gets. Honestly, if you like rhubarb this is the way to go! If you have anyone in your family who doesn’t – try them with this. You can make it in big batches so you’re not wasting too much oven time.
The quantities below makes enough for 2-3 portions – although if I’m honest I could easily eat all of this in one sitting. Use it for overnight oats, as a pancake topping, mixed through yoghurt or just eat it on it’s own.
Turn the oven onto almost it’s lowest setting – so 80-100c /180-200f or Gas 1/4 -1/2
- 200g raw rhubarb, chopped into small slices (about 1cm slices)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (any brown sugar will work – I like soft brown sugar best.)
Put the chopped rhubarb into a baking dish or tray and add the syrup and sugar and coast it well. Put into the oven for 1.5 – 2 hours. It should still hold it’s shape but be tender – the picture shown is of the cooked rhubarb so you can see how its held it’s shape.
Eat immediately or put in a container and keep in the fridge, save the juices too. I prefer eating this at room temperature rather than straight from the fridge, but hot, cold or warm, it is truly delish.
Oh the misaligned prune! I had a bag of prunes waiting to be used up, there were given to me by my mum who had announced that they were revolting and can I please take them away. I’ve tried a few prune recipes in the past and used them in porridge a few years ago, which was a surprise success.
For these muffins I went for the ‘hidden’ prune option and blitzed them into the milk – it meant I could use up a lot of them at once! The nuts then add the texture and the milk the slight prune taste – and of course all the added benefits of prunes…
These aren’t very sweet, so they taste good cut in half with some spread and jam, or with some fruit and yoghurt and a splash of maple or date syrup. They freeze well too.
Prune, walnut and pecan muffins
- 100g spelt flour (or wholemeal)
- 180g plain flour
- 100g castor sugar
- pinch salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 100g pitted prunes
- 250ml milk of choice (I used soya, but nut milks work well too)
- 100ml rapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50g walnuts (crushed into chunky pieces)
- 50g Pecan nuts (crushed into chunky pieces)
- Mix the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder together. Mix in the nuts.
- Blend the prunes with the milk. Then add the vanilla and oil and mix together. Add this to the dry mixture and mix quickly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. 200c/400f/Gas 6.
- Makes 9 -10 large muffins
I went to one of my fave restaurants a couple of weeks ago (Tibbits) and was reunited with a big bowl of their very fabulous Indian Rice Pudding. I haven’t quite managed to recreate the original dish, but it got me playing around with different types of rice and spice. As we know, puddings can make delicious breakfast options too and this is wonderfully aromatic and filling as a breakfast, and it went down very well after a long run this morning.
This recipe makes 3 decent portions. Easy to make the night before and reheat. The rice still contains a bit of bite, so it’s not the sloppy rice pudding that I remember from my youth! However, I do like sloppy too – so I shall be experimenting further.
Basmati Aromatic Brekkie Pudding
- 100g Basmati rice (white)
- 400ml can of coconut milk
- 10 cardamom pods – seeds crushed in a pestle and mortar. (So about 1/2 teaspoon of ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon mixed ground spice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 60g sultanas (you can easily add more)
Put the rice in a saucepan, add the coconut milk and all of the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30mins. Ensure the rice doesn’t stick near the end of cooking – add a bit more water or coconut milk if needed. You might want to add some more ground spice if you want more aromatics.
If you make this the night before, leave the cinnamon stick and cloves in the mixture. When you get it out the fridge in the morning the rice will have stuck together into a big clump. Add a portion (about 1/3 of the bowl) into a saucepan and add some more coconut milk. I used some from a carton for this, rather than opening another can. Or you can add water. Stir well and bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins or so, until its looking nice and creamy again.
This is lovely with some fresh mango stirred through.