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.

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Bruschetta, 3 ways!

Healthy, Sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

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Plain and simple, bruschetta is great! It is so convenient and easy to make that you can rustle it up so quickly with practically anything that you have lying around in your fridge and cupboards (you can even use stale bread!). You can be as creative or as simple as you would like, which is why for this post I have created three of my favourite recipes to show you some different ideas that you can use and hopefully give you some ideas so that you can make your own bruschetta!

 Tomato, Basil & Avocado Pesto Bruschetta

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Makes: 3 Bruschetta (with plenty of avocado pesto left over!)
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
  • A handful (6-10 depending the size) of ripe cherry tomatoes
  • A drizzle of garlic oil (or extra virdin olive oil)
  • A drizzle of lemon juice
  • A large bunch of basil (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 2 avocados (peeled and pitted)
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   Half the cherry tomatoes and then slice the halves roughly and put them into a bowl. Slice a few leaves of basil and put into the bowl with the tomatoes. Dress the tomatoes with a good drizzle of garlic oil (this is really easy to make, just peel and slice 6 garlic cloves in half and put them into a jam jar and then top this up with extra virgin olive oil. After a day or so this will start to have an amazing garlic flavour and is great to use in dressings!) or extra virgin olive oil will be great, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.   To make the avocado pesto, place the remaining basil leaves (leave 2 for garnish) , avocados , pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil into a food processor and blend until it is really smooth. Once the pesto is creamy and smooth season it generously.

4.   To prepare the bruschetta, place a spoonful of the tomato mixture onto a slice of the toasted bread and top this with a few large drops of the avocado pesto. To make it look pretty, slice the left over basil leaves finely and sprinkle over the top and voila, you have a delicious bruschetta made really quickly! You can use the leftover pesto as a topping for pasta!

Balsamic dressed beetroot with herby bean cream

025Makes: 3 Bruschetta (with plenty of herby bean cream left over!)
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
  • 1 large beetroot, boiled, peeled and sliced into cubes
  • A drizzle of good balsamic vinegar
  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of cannelini beans, drained (or any other white beans that you can get)
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A bunch of dill (or the herb of your choice)
  • Sea salt & frshly ground black pepper

 Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   In a bowl, dress the diced beetroot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.   To make the herby bean cream, blend the can of beans, oil, water, lemon juice, garlic cloves, dill and salt & pepper in a food processor until you have a silky smooth mixture.

4.   To make the bruschetta, place a big spoonful of the beetroot mixture on top of a piece of the toasted bread followed by a nice dollop of the bean cream. Slice some parsley or dill to sprinkle over the top of the bruschetta. There you have a delicious bruschetta ready. You can use the remaining bean cream as a dip with some warmed pitta breads or some steam veg and it is excellent!

Pea & Mint Bruschetta

032Makes: 3 Bruschetta
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread that you prefer)
  • 280g frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (a little reserved for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   To prepare the pea and mint topping, blend the peas in a food processor until they are roughly chopped. Stir in the mint, oil, salt & pepper. Place a spoonful of the pea and mint mixture on top of the bread and top with a sprinkling of the chopped mint. With the leftover pea and mint mixture you can make a delicious risotto!

I hope you like the different bruschettas; let me know what your favourite types of bruschetta are! 🙂

Asparagus, pea & mint risotto!

Italian, Specials, Vegan, Vegetarian

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Makes: 2 generous portions
Preparation & cooking time: 45 minutes

For me, risotto is one of the most comforting foods going! A good risotto is so easy to make and with a little love and attention you will have a base risotto recipe with endless options (it is a great meal to impress people with as well!)! A risotto should be smooth, creamy and oozy! When you shake the pan the risiotto should move like the waves, or ‘onde‘ as the Italians say, and should never be thick and stodgy like the ones I have been served so many times in numerous restaurants! Peas and asparagus are in season at the moment so it makes this recipe even better! You can use the base risotto recipe and you can add whatever ingredients you like, but seasonal vegetable (see what else is in season here) risottos really stand out in my opinion. I made this recipe for my girlfriend and myself so (as she is vegan) I have left out the butter and the parmesan cheese (which are used in traditional risotto recipes), but I will tell you when you will need to add it in if you would like to use these ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • I litre organic vegetable stock (homemade is the best!)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 1 small glass of dry white wine/vermouth
  • 4 – 6 sticks of asparagus, sliced diagonally
  • 75g peas (fresh if possibl;e but frozen are excellent as well)
  • 4 – 5 mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1.   In one pan heat the stock; you need to make sure that it is hot when you add it to the rice so that it doesn’t slow down the cooking process, and in another large, thick based pan heat the olive and add the onions, celery and carrots and fry slow for around 10 minutes until all ot the vegetables have softened. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice to the pan and turn it up to a high heat. The toasting of the rice is a really important part of making a good risotto as the heat cracks open the rice and allows it to absorb lots of the awesome stock.

2.   The rice will carry on frying so keep stirring it and after a minute the rice will have turned slightly translucent. At this point add the in the wine/vermouth to the pan and continue to stir. The aroma you will get will be amazing and the harshness of the alcohol will all be cooked away and you will be left with the most amazing flavour!

3.   Once the wine/vermouth has been absorbed by the rice it is time to add in the first ladleful of stock. Turn the heat down a little now so that the rice doesn’t cook too quickly and add a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Now that you have added your first ladleful of stock, it is very important to keep stirring the risotto and massage all of the starch out of the rice to give the risotto its amazing texture. After the first ladleful is absorbed by the rice, keep adding ladlefuls of stock to keep it moist and keep stirring! Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before you add the next. This process should take around 15 – 18 minutes.

4.   After 8 minutes, add the peas and the asparagus to the stock pan and ladle in with the stock as you have been doing.  After 15 minutes taste the rice to see if it is cooked. The rice should be soft with a little bite. If it is not cooked then keep adding stock and stirring unitil it is cooked through.

5.   Once the rice has cooked, take the pan off of the heat, check the seasoning and add the mint. If you want to use butter and parmesan, add a knob of butter and a small handful of parmesan now and stir it in. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to rest for 3 minutes. This is a really important stage as it will allow of the ingredients to relax and allow all of the flavours to incorporate together! Serve and eat as soon as possible whilst the risotto has its amazing texture.

I hope you like this recipe everyone. Let me know what you think of it. 🙂

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