CHIA SEED PUDDING

#MeatfreeMonday, Breakfast, brunch, chia seed pudding, dairy free, Desserts, exercise, fitness, food, free from, fruit, Fruits, fun, General, Gluten Free, go vegam, health, Healthy, healthy food, meat free, meat free monday, nutrition, Snack

Chia seed pudding

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes (plus soaking overnight)
Makes: 1 portion

I had never tried chia seed pudding before, but I have noticed that it is becoming increasingly popular in health food stores and healthy cafes, so I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss was all about. It was so easy and quick to put together, I guess the only drawback is that you have to leave it to soak overnight until you can eat it. It was really, really tasty and it was a new experience for me as the texture is a little unusual because the chia seeds swell and jellify. It reminds me a little bit of rice pudding but there is no downside of feeling guilty about eating it, which is always good. Chia seed pudding is great as a breakfast and it is a great way to start the day but it is also great as a snack.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 250ml of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • A dash of vanilla extract
  • Berries (e.g. strawberries, blackberries or any berry in season/that you like)
  • A mango, cut into small cubes

Method:

1.   In a jar or bowl mix together the chia seeds, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

2.   Cover the bowl/jar with cling film and place in the fridge over night or for around 6-8 hours.

3.   The chia seeds will swell and will jellify leaving a thick textured pudding.

4.   Put the berries and mango over the top of the pudding.

There you have it! So quick, easy, tasty and healthy. I really hope you like it guys!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Coconut milk: Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.

Maple syrup: Maple syrup is high in manganese and zinc.

Strawberries: Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and a good source of manganese.

Blackberries: Blackberries are a really good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Mango: This is a really delicious stone fruit that is native to South and Southeast Asia (it is definitely one of my favourite fruits). Mangoes provide a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

PINEAPPLE RICE WITH MANGO SALAD

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Pineapple rice

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 4 portions

I was never a fan of including fruit in savoury food until about three years ago when my girlfriend made me some pineapple rice. I wasn’t optimistic when she said she was going to make it, but I was so surprised as to how much I enjoyed it and by the fact that my perception of having fruit in a savoury dish changed almost instantaneously. Since then I have been experimenting with adding fruit into different dishes and I have loved it. This recipe is a take on what my girlfriend made me three years ago along with the addition of the mango salad with a delicious Asian dressing. When you make a fried rice dish, it is always better to use rice that has been cooked and left to cool as you will get a much better consistency of rice. I always like to cook the rice the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 3 large handfuls of brown rice, cooked and cooled 
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 1 medium-sized pineapple, peeled, core cut out and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 handfuls of broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 handfuls of cauliflower florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

For the salad:

  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 ripe mangoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic, crushed into a paste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A dash of toasted sesame oil

Pineapple rice 2

Method:

1.   Put a very large frying pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add in the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander (leaving a little to the side for garnish at the end) and pineapple chunks. Fry the ingredients for five minutes and be sure to keep stirring as you do not want any of the ingredients to burn.

2.   After 5 minutes, add the light and dark soy sauce to the wok followed by the broccoli and cauliflower chunks. Again, constantly stirring, incorporate all of the ingredients in the wok and make sure that all of the ingredients are covered by the soy sauce. Add the cold brown rice to the pan and fry and stir to get all of the ingredients combined together. Fry the rice for a further five minutes to get it nice and hot.

3.   When the rice is piping hot, turn the heat off and leave in the pan. You can now quickly make your salad. Firstly, put the spinach, lettuce and mango into a large bowl. Secondly, you can make the dressing; put the light and dark soy, chilli, garlic, lime, sugar, and sesame oil into a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Taste the dressing and check the seasoning to see whether it is well balanced. If it is too salty, add in a little more lime juice and if it is too spicy add in a little more sugar (just adjust it to your taste). Pour the dressing over the salad and using your hands toss all of the ingredients together.

4.   Tightly pack some rice into a small bowl in order to make a rice mound. Turn the rice bowl over onto a plate and carefully lift the bowl off (fingers crossed it will come off nicely and leave you a nice mound of rice). Then put a load of the mango salad around the rice and top with coriander.

There you have it guys, a delicious meal that will blow your socks off! There are so many amazing flavours going on in this dish. Adding the fruit to this meal really turns it up to a new level and it just wouldn’t be the same without it! 

Tropical ‘Nice Cream’ Brunch

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Tropical Brunch

Preparation & cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: Enough for 4 people

When the summer comes around and the weather gets better (which is quite rare in the UK!) all I want to do is eat fresh fruit as I feel so good, hydrated and energised for the day ahead. There is so little energy used in digesting and converting fruit into energy that you instantly feel better and more awake. My girlfriend and I recently went to Barbados, where the weather was absolutely amazing, and all both of us wanted to eat was fresh fruit! There was nothing else that made us feel as good as eating watermelon in the sun every morning for breakfast! Recipes like this are a really easy way to impress people whilst there is literally no effort in making it. If you put a dish like this in the middle of the table it will WOW people as it looks so colourful and appealing but it is also amazingly tasty! It is also a great way to get a wide variety of fruits, nuts and seeds into your diet which will give you a wide array of vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals. Use this recipe as a general guideline and not something that has to be followed meticulously as you can easily use any fruits , nuts and seeds that you wish. 

Tropical Brunch 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 small watermelon, cut in half, scoop one half out so you can use peel as a bowl and slice the other half into slices.
  • 1 honeydew melon, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 2 mangoes, that have been frozen
  • 3 bananas, that have been frozen
  • 1 peach, cut into slices
  • A handful of raspberries
  • A handful of pecan nuts
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds etc.)

Method:

1.   Put the frozen mango and frozen bananas into a blender and blitz together until you have a nice thick and velvety smooth texture. This will take a couple of minutes. If the blender is having to work overtime and is struggling to blend the fruit then add a little drop of water to make the mixture a little looser, but don’t add too much as you want your nice cream to be nice and thick.

2.   Whilst the nice cream is blending, you can prepare your dish. In a big flat bottomed dish place the hollow half of the watermelon and arrange the rest of the sliced fruit around the outside so that people can just grab pieces easily.

3.   Once the nice cream is nice and smooth, spoon it into the hollow watermelon bowl and top it with the seeds, raspberries, pecans and peaches. I really like to grill the peaches as it gives them such a good flavour but if you are following a raw diet then you don’t have to do this.

That is it! Just put the bowl into the middle of the table and watch everyone dig in and really enjoy themselves!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

From now on, I am going to provide nutritional information along with my recipes to help me further my own knowledge and to hopefully help you understand what and why foods are good for us. By using this nutritional information you can start creating your own meals with the understanding of the composition of foods and what different foods will do for your body enabling you to get a really good balanced diet. I will deliver this information on an ingredient by ingredient basis detailing their composition and attaching links to a separate page where the benefits of all of the vitamins and minerals will be listed. I hope that you find this information helpful and that it plays a good role in the understanding and improvement of your diets.

Bananas: Bananas not only taste great but they are also a great source of vitamin B6 as well as a moderate source vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre.

Mango: This is a really delicious stone fruit that is native to South and Southeast Asia (it is definitely one of my favourite fruits). Mangoes provide a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

Watermelon: Watermelon is such a good fruit to eat on a hot day; for me it is one of the most refreshing fruits to eat as it is so hydrating. Watermelon, as you can probably tell by its name, has a high content of water (around 90%). It is also a good source of vitamin C and it is low in fat and sodium.

Honeydew melon: Like watermelon, honeydew melon is a really refreshing fruit and is made up of mostly water. Similarly, it also is a good source of vitamin C.

Oranges: As with most citrus fruits, oranges are an amazing source of vitamin C and they are also good sources of folate.

Apples: Apples are a significant source of dietary fibre with modest vitamin C content.

Raspberries: I love raspberries and I am just grateful that they are healthy for you! They are a great source of vitamin C, manganese and they are among the highest known in whole foods for dietary fibre (this represents 6% of their total weight).

Peaches: Peaches taste really nice (especially when grilled like in this recipe) and they contain diverse essential nutrients, however, they offer no significant values. They are a moderate source of vitamin C, vitamin B3 and vitamin E.

Pecan nuts: Nuts in general provide so many health benefits when included into your diet. Pecan nuts are a great source of manganese, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B6. They are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats as well as being rich in omega-6 fatty acids. The list continues! They are also a moderate source of vitamin B2, B5 and B6. Including nuts into your diet can really have great effects as you can see from this copious list of vitamins and minerals that they contain.

Sunflower seeds: As with nuts, seeds are a really great nutrient dense food that will provide so much when they are incorporated into your diet. Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, all of the B vitamins (B1, B3, B6 and B9 in particular) and they are an amazing source of vitamin E. They also contain high levels of dietary minerals including, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

Linseeds (Flax): Linseeds or flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in vitamin B1, dietary fibre, magnesium and phosphorus and also offer moderate levels of vitamin B3, B5 and B6.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. They also offer good levels of riboflavin, folate, sodium and potassium.