After my last attempt at a chia breakfast pudding, I did some experimenting to see if I could come up with a tasty recipe for a chai-spiced pot. I realised along the way that the weird taste, which I had attributed to the maca and lucuma powder in the previous iteration, was partly down to the chia seeds, which have a bit of a weird taste in themselves.
- 300ml milk, any
- 2tsp black tea
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 green cardamom pod
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1tbsp sugar, any (e.g. honey, coconut sugar, cane sugar)
- 3tbsp chia seeds
Measure your milk into a small saucepan. Halve the vanilla pod and add the seeds to the milk. Do not discard the rest of the pod.
Add the tea and whole spices. You can either put them into a tea infuser (apart from the cinnamon stick and vanilla pod) or straight into the saucepan. Put over a low heat, watching carefully so that you do not allow the liquid to boil over. As it comes to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for two minutes to allow the spices to infuse.
If you have used an infuser, give it a squeeze to release the extra-concentrated flavours lurking within. If you haven’t used an infuser, strain.
Stir in the chia seeds and decant into a container to cool. Refrigerate overnight.
I served mine with a couple of tablespoons of speculoos butter, Greek yoghurt and pomegranate arils.
This recipe is inspired by the rainbow pie with hazelnut crust featured in Straight from the Source, the magazine made by the bulk store I frequent.
For the crust
- 1.5 cups hazelnut meal/blitzed hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 3/4 cup flour (I used ordinary plain flour, use tapioca flour to make this pie gluten-free)
- 1 egg
- 100g butter
- A good pinch of salt
For the filling
- 5 eggs
- 2tbsp milk or cream
- 3tbsp pesto (I used this recipe)
- 1 small sweet potato, diced and roasted
- 100g gruyere
- 1 small courgette
- 1 small yellow pepper
- 30g spinach/red pak choi if you can get it
- 1 red onion
Note: You may be able to see from my pictures that I followed a slightly different method. Do as I say, not as I do!
Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease a 25cm pie tin. I used a 23cm one because that’s what I have and just meant the pastry was a little thicker.
Mix together the pastry ingredients until they form into a ball. Do not over-mix.
Press into the greased pie tin and bake for ten minutes. If you haven’t already, roast your diced sweet potato at the same time.
I allowed the crust to rise above the edges of the tin deliberately- the pastry burns very easily. This way, any blackened bits can easily be trimmed off at the end.
While the crust is cooking, finely chop the onion and cook in olive oil or butter until translucent.
Chop the other vegetables.
Layer the spinach, onion, pepper, sweet potato and courgette in the crust.
Beat the eggs with the cream/milk and pesto. Fold in the diced cheese and sundried tomatoes. Pour over the vegetables in the crust.
Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the eggs are completely cooked.
I have to say that if I was going to bother to go to the effort of making a quiche again, I would be more likely to go for a quiche lorraine. But it was fun to try something new.
I picked up some dates on clearance at the supermarket. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them at the time, but at 25p a pack I snapped them up.
While looking on Pinterest for recipe ideas, this recipe caught my eye. I am a complete sucker for anything that purports to be salted caramel. While I was dubious about whether dates could ever aspire to the deliciousness of cream and sugar, I had some tahini in the fridge and decided to give it a go.
Tahini is one of those things that I find it hard to use up. I tend to buy a jar to make hummus, only to have the rest of it sitting in the fridge for the next five years, looking all separated and neglected. However, since I am attempting to reduce my plastic waste, maybe more homemade hummus is in my future, especially since I finally found a satisfactory recipe.
Anyway, here is the recipe for the bite things.
- 175g dates, pitted
- 80g tahini*
- 100g dark chocolate, at least 70%
- Sea salt
- Cocoa powder (optional)
*You can substitute any nut or seed butter of your choice for the tahini. For my second attempt at these bars, I only had 30g tahini left so I swapped out the rest for peanut butter.
Combine the tahini and stoned dates in a blender. If you are using a domestic machine, make sure to pulse for short periods of time so you don’t overload your motor! The mixture will come together into a ball. If it’s not coming together, add a little extra tahini.
Press into a container. I found this baking tray too big but I’d already oiled it so went ahead with it anyway.
Refrigerate overnight or freeze for 30minute, then chop the date mixture up into chunks of your desired size. I recommend not making them too big so that you get plenty of chocolate in every bite.
Melt the chocolate and coat each piece.
While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle over sea salt.
I also coated some of my bites in cocoa powder because (I think because of my kitchen being hot) the chocolate had some bubbles on the surface that looked unappetising.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
I was sceptical about this recipe but these bites are delicious. The texture is much nicer than most dried-fruit nut bars, with a nice bite and chew. The dark chocolate adds an amazing bitter counterpoint to the sweetness of the dates and the brightness of the salt is the icing on the cake (so to speak).
I would love to learn to temper chocolate. Imagine how beautiful these bites would look if the chocolate was shiny!
The courgette glut continues. Here I am having harvested my biggest marrow yet, which weighed in at over two kilos.
Do you see the symbolism?
I’m hoping to get something other than courgettes out of the garden soon. I have a lot of fruit on my tomato plants, but it’s all still green. I think my carrots and beetroot are nearly ready too.
I made another traybake thing, this time based on this recipe from the BBC Food website. I used a whole pack of my favourite caramelised onion sausages for the stuffing and it was awesome. I think this might be my favourite courgette recipe so far.
I feel like this is a pretty flexible recipe. For the filling I used
- 6 caramelised onion sausages
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- Breadcrumbs made from two slices of bread
- 50g extra mature cheddar
Doesn’t look too bad once it’s tarted up on a salad, does it?
In the past couple of weeks, my garden has started to produce a lot of courgettes. I got the seeds as part of a ‘funky veg’ kit and kind of just planted for the hell of it- I’m not the biggest fan of courgettes. However, I sense that my glut of yellow beauties may make me learn to love this humble vegetable. We’ll see how I do at the challenging task of not embarrassing myself with phallic references in this post. I am a follower of Freud, after all.
I turned my first fistful of small courgettes into a tasty salad. Adapted from this recipe.
I knew that my staff summer picnic would be a good excuse to use up some more courgettes. As you can see, these ones were much larger.
I made another salad for the party- this was actually my first time cooking and eating fennel. I selected a vegan recipe, but when the vegan in the team wasn’t at the picnic, I did add some cheeky feta. Cheese makes everything better.
The cake was lovely- light, moist and tasty. Would probably omit raisins next time. My favourite bit was the frosting, but then I am dangerously addicted to cream cheese frosting. I have a LOT more courgettes coming, so I need to stay ahead of the game with ways to use them.
I’m on a bit of a kick of making brunch at home at the moment. This is another recipe from Jamie’s Superfood, and I have to say that I really like it. It’s also a great way to use up stale bread. I used tiger bread.
I made few changes to the recipe. I used frozen blackberries rather than raspberries. I left them to defrost in the fridge overnight, sprinkled with a tablespoon of sugar. This makes the dish taste a little like blackberry pie, a specialty of my late grandma made with berries foraged every autumn.
I added a little squeeze of honey to the banana and egg ‘custard’. Because this is a diet/clean eating show (despite Jamie’s vehement protestations to the contrary), it is light on sweetness. I would rather have 50 extra calories and find a dish delicious,than 50 fewer and find it just okay.
I’ve tried two-ingredient pancakes before and found that they just taste like eggy banana. I think the combination of blitzing the mix, which means the eggs go lovely and fluffy, and having it with something makes a huge difference. I also used the full banana and two eggs to serve one, as I’m trying to get more protein in my diet.
Top tip: don’t use a knife to make the pocket in the bread as Jamie suggests. Maybe this works if you have super sharp chef knives and very fresh bread. I found that it ripped my slice into bread shreds. Scissors work much better.