I’ve been curious to try out chia seeds (although I’m currently drawing the line at those chia seed desserts in Wholefoods, they don’t exactly look appetising), so I tried out the Raw Shredded Coconut, Chia and Almond Cereal recipe from My Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich (which is full of what looks like yummy healthy whole food recipes). As well as wanting to try chia seeds, I’m keen to increase the amount of nuts I’m eating, which basically means trying to find more ways of eating almonds, cashews and peanuts, as they’re the only nuts I like (and even then I’m not terribly keen). I also tend to like the idea of muesli and granola but tend not to like shop bought stuff in practice because it’s invariably got something in it I don’t like and / or they’re way too sweet, so I was keen to try and make my own. Anyway, luckily the coconut, almond and chia cereal was a success and it’s really yummy. I’m not much of a milk drinker (ooh this blog post is making me sound fussy), so when I eat muesli I eat it either soaked in apple juice or with plain yoghurt and this cereal turns out to be really good with the yoghurt.
(No photo, this was real rush job, in between shifts baking)
The next experiment with chia seeds was Seeded Banana Bread from A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones (which I’ve cooked from before with reasonable success). It was a really simple bung all the wet ingredients in one bowl, bung all the dry ingredients in another and then combine the two together sort of recipe. The seeds in the ‘seeded’ part of the recipe could be any small seeds you wanted, I used about 50% linseeds, 20% poppy seeds and 30% chia seeds and you add a lot, so it really is a dense seeded loaf and it turned out in the end that I had to add even more seeds because when it came to putting the last wet ingredient in the bowl, the eggs, the very eggs that I swore must be in date in my fridge, were not in date. This would normally be panic stations but luckily Jones gives instructions for using chia seeds as an egg substitutive! Hence me adding even more chia seeds than I planned but it did work impressively well, you basically soak chia seeds in water for a few minutes (google the exact proportions if you’re interested), then add the whole lot to your mixture and it acts as a binding agent and it did. The resulting cake, was, as I said, very densely seeded but it gives it an incredibly lovely texture and it is also incredibly filling. Calorie wise it’s not exactly diet food (being slightly more calories than a chocolate bar) but I know full well I could eat a chocolate bar and want something else within half an hour, whereas with the banana cake, that’s me sorted until the next meal. It’s also incredibly high in fibre and all the other goodies you find in those seeds.
So I am actually already almost out of my packet of chia seeds but I will be buying more, as a family I’ve been looking for a new good source of fibre ever since I switched the family from wholemeal bread to white bread (yes, I know) when I was shocked to discover exactly how much sugar they put in wholemeal bread! I do plan on getting my act together (at some point, maybe 2016) and making wholemeal bread more regularly than pretty much the 0% frequency I’m doing it at the moment (you don’t see sugar in Paul Hollywood’s wholemeal bread recipes!) but until then white bread it is (which the rest of the family are rather glad about, they’re probably hoping for some equally horrifying health story about veggie sausages so that I stop buying and making them eat those to and instead go back to real ones). Also it’s a handy tip knowing how to use chia seeds as an egg substitute to, for the next time I run out of eggs (not sure how well it’d go with a Victoria Sponge though!), so definitely something useful to have in the kitchen.
Anyway back to the chia seeds and the banana bread, whilst making it I had the sneaking suspicion that the kids would class this as one of my ‘healthy cakes’ and turn their noses up at it but they didn’t! I think the moistness and natural sugar of the bananas helped, so I will be making this again.