Even though my parents are retired they are busier than ever which I'm sure helps with staying young and they pack their days with plenty of activities - carefully metered out so that they don't get too tired. My mother's day starts with checking my blog - she gives me a call if for some reason the blog hasn't published. The other day she called my mobile while I was away and left a voicemail that consisted of a single, loud sneeze and then hung up.
Another thing that keeps them busy is staying healthy. They love studying labels and my father's previous job as a food technologist means that he loves studying food to see its nutritional benefits. They eat cholesterol reducing margarine, raw nuts and lots of soy milk and add to this is a giant bulk canister of chia seeds.
You probably know by now that chia seeds are supposed to be great for you which is fantastic of course but I actually like them for the gelling properties that they hold. An example of this is my coconut chia pudding which is such a favourite in this household. Another idea for your chia seeds is to make a jam. Jams usually set because of the pectin in the fruit and require consistent boiling or simmering. But imagine a jam that you can make easily within about 5 minutes that doesn't require lots of sugar?
For this "jam" I used a combination of fresh strawberries and frozen raspberries. The raspberries were used so that the chia seeds would resemble raspberry pips but you can use any berry you like. All you do is simmer the fruit, add some sweetener and then stir in the chia seeds. Because it is so low in sugar it isn't suitable for canning or preserving but it is absolutely delicious with some cream on a scone or on toast.
So tell me Dear Reader, what did you eat this morning for breakfast or brunch? Do you eat a big breakfast?
Healthy Berry Vanilla Chia Jam
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes + 15 minutes waiting time
- 2 cups berries (fresh or frozen - I used fresh strawberries and frozen raspberries)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half horizontally
- 3-4 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds (black or white although black looks more like raspberry pips)
Step 1 - If you're using strawberries or larger berries, slice into chunks. Raspberries and other berries can be used whole. Place the berries and vanilla bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan and simmer gently, using a masher to break up the fruit into chunks.
Step 2 - Add the sugar or honey to the mixture and taste for sweetness. Add the chia seeds and remove from heat. Allow to gel together-it takes about 15 minutes. This jam is not suitable for canning as it doesn't contain enough sugar to act as a preservative.