Food & DrinkRecipes

Nice and seedy

Nice and seedy

One of the legitimate super­foods of the moment is Chia (Salvia hispanica), a plant related to mint from south­ern Mexico.

These seeds are full of nutrients - they have high levels of protein and fibre, are full of omega 3 and 6 and have no cholesterol.

Sometimes, super seeds or sprouts can leave an unpleasant aftertaste. This is not the case with chia. These seeds have little flavour so are ideal added to smoothies and shakes, adding nutrition without altering the taste.

You can also eat them on their own, dry, or stirred into other foods. They can even be ground and used as a part replacement for flour. They can also be sprinkled on salads, on yoghurt or porridge, or added to soup or to stews. But my favourite way of using them is in puddings or shakes.

In my chocolate and banana milkshake I have used chia seeds to thicken the shake. The result is a lovely cold, ice-cream-like texture. It’s a real treat without all the guilt.

In my summer berry and chia pudding, the seeds absorb the coconut milk, which makes it become soft and gelatinous, a bit like tapioca but still retaining some texture.

There are so many juice and fruit combi­nations to try as summer fruit

Chia Chocolate and Banana Shake

Serves 4
3-4 bananas, peeled and sliced
100ml milk
2 tablespoons black chia seeds
50g whole almonds
1 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 strawberries, halved

1 Place the peeled and sliced bananas into a bowl and put into the freezer for 30 minutes.

2 In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and chia seeds. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, add the almonds, sultanas and caster sugar into the bowl of a food processor and blend until the fully smooth.

4 Add the chia seeds mixture, the frozen banana pieces, cocoa powder, yoghurt and vanilla extract to the almond and sultana mixture.

5 Blend until thick and creamy. Use a spatula to clear down the sides of the bowl as you process the ingredients.

6 Divide the shake between four glasses and serve immediately with some sliced strawberries.

Chia seeds are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants. And they’re an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only two tablespoons - one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day. Fiber is important in reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function

Summer berries and chia pudding

Serves 4
90g chia seeds
200ml coconut milk
200ml almond milk
3 tbsp heather honey
1 vanilla pod, seeded
200g raspberries, plus extra
1 lemon
1 tbsp icing sugar
250g strawberries
100g blueberries
1 measure of Grand Marnier
1 tbsp caster sugar
4 tips mint
50g dark chocolate, chopped

1 Put the chia seeds into a bowl. Pour in the coconut milk, almond milk and honey and vanilla seeds. Whisk to combine and leave to settle for to to three hours, until the chia have plumped up.

2 Prepare the raspberry coulis. Place the raspberries, lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl and, with a hand held blender, mix until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and keep aside until needed.

3 Place the strawberries, leftover raspberries and blueberries in a large bowl and drizzle a measure of Grand Marnier with a pinch of caster sugar. Gently toss once or twice without crushing the berries. Cover with cling film and keep until needed.

4 Fill four glasses with the chia mix, then add some raspberry coulis and decorate with the macerated berries. Add a few mint and chocolate shaving if desired.