Thursday, April 16

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

I'd seen recipes for chia seed jams before, but I had always been reluctant to try them. I guess I doubted they would taste as good as claimed, or thought that the texture might be weird and slimy. But I was so wrong. Chia seed jam is a revelation, and it's my new favourite thing. I've already made two batches this week.

Sometimes it takes a quarantine to push you try new things.

This is a great way to use up the frozen fruit you might have lying around in your freezer.
And it makes a delicious topping for all that sourdough bread everyone seems to be making during this pandemic. And given that this jam is essentially just crushed fresh fruit with a smidgeon of maple syrup and chia seeds, it is actually super healthy. So you can pile it on guiltlessly. I love to swirl it into yogurt too.

Chia Seed Jam

2 cups fresh or frozen berries
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp chia seeds

In a small sauce pan, warm the frozen fruit over medium heat until soft enough to mash. Use a potato masher or fork to squish the fruit to your desired consistency (I like mostly mashed with some small fruit clumps). Then add in the maple syrup (taste as you go, since you will need more or less depending on the types of fruit/berries you use and their natural sweetness) and chia seeds, and stir until evenly distributed.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
The jam will thicken up as it cools (as the chia seeds to their magical thing).
Store in a jar or container in the fridge.

Friday, March 27

Salted Chocolate and Tahini Shortbread Bars

When the world seems to be falling apart all around you, and you need a little treat, make these bars.
They are fantastically delicious and very easy to make. And they hit all the cravings - salty, sweet, chocolatey, with a buttery smooth top and crisp shortbready crust. I have nothing more to say - just trust me and make them!

Salted Chocolate and Tahini Shortbread Bars

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter (unsalted)
4 Tbsp Tahini (+1-2 Tbsp extra tahini to drizzle on top after baking - optional)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
7-8 ounces semi-sweet chips (or dark chocolate, finely chopped)
flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (or similar sized dish - I used a rectangular 11x6 inch dish)
2. In a food processor pulse the flour, almond flour, brown sugar and salt a few times to mix.
3. Then add in the butter, tahini and vanilla, and pulse together until well combined and mixture has a crumbly texture.
4. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and press firmly to make an even layer of crust. Prick holes in the crust with a fork.
5. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and scatter chocolate over the surface. Return to oven for 2 minutes to soften/melt the chocolate.
7. Remove from oven again and use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate in an even layer over the surface.
8. Drizzle top with an additional 1-2 Tbsp tahini (you can swirl it in to make a pretty design if you feel so inclined) and sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt.
Allow to cool before slicing (you can put it in the fridge to speed this up).

Recipe inspired by and modified from Melissa Clark/Food52

Wednesday, February 19

Healthy whole wheat banana carrot applesauce muffins

We eat a lot of muffins in this family. I probably make a batch every week or so (alternating with our favourite nutritious and delicious banana bread). It's my boys' preferred breakfast food as well as favourite after school snack. I'm often concocting different versions depending on what I have available in my fridge, but I always like to keep the general approach the same.... hidden vegetables, whole grain flour and part almond flour for extra protein. This version turned out particularly good so I'm sharing it here. Of course when you use 100% whole grain flour you don't get the same dome-like rise on the muffin top, but I promise you won't miss it. You still get a golden crisp lid with a delicately moist and flavourful interior.