Chia Threesome! Chocolate, Vanilla Caramel Cinnamon and Berry Pud


I thought I would have a little fun with some chia puds yesterday and what better, given it’s nearly Valentine’s day, than a decadent looking and tasting, yet totally healthy threesome pud!

I can almost feel the love! 😉

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This is super easy to make. Of course you don’t have to make three flavours – you can make two, or one! whatever you like! If you don’t have lacuma you can leave this out of the chocolate pud, and for the caramel one you can use maca instead (though go easy and keep tasting to get the taste you want, or use vanilla instead).

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For the Chocolate chia pud you will need:

5 tbsp Chia seeds

1 1/2 cups of Almond or coconut milk (or soya milk if you prefer)

1 tsp liquid sweetener (to taste) – you can use coconut syrup, maple syrup, agave, rice malt syrup – your choice

1 tbsp Raw cacao powder

1 heaped tsp Lacuma

 

For the Vanilla caramel cinnamon pud you will need:

5 tbsp Chia seeds

1 1/2 cups Coconut or almond milk (or soya milk if you prefer)

1 heaped tsp Lacuma

1 tbsp Mequite powder

1 tsp Cinnamon (to taste)

2 tsp liquid sweetener (to taste)

 

For the Berry chia pud you will need:

4 tbsp Chia seeds

1 1/2 cups of berries – I used blackberries, blueberries and strawberries

1 cup Almond or Coconut milk (or soya)

1 heaped tsp of Vanilla powder (if you don’t have this then use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

Liquid sweetener – to taste (I didn’t bother using any as I like my berries tart 🙂 )

For each of the puds pop the chia seeds into a bowl (one bowl for each flavour), mix the dry ingredients in and then add the milk and liquid sweetener and mix really well with a fork. For the berry pud I pureed the fruits in a blender – blitzing them for a few seconds, then poured that straight over the seeds.

Make sure you mix really well and then cover and leave in the fridge to set for a few hours (at least). Check after an hour and give another stir. If you prefer a thicker texture add a little more chia at this point. If you want it a bit more liquid add a little milk.

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Once set remove from the fridge and layer in to your bowl or jar. Sprinkle some desiccated coconut on top and a couple of berries to decorate and enjoy!

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Heaven in a tub! CoYo coconut yoghurt review


I am so so excited! I’ve been waiting to publish this post for a while now. I’ve mentioned this yoghurt a couple of times before so this review should come as no surprise! I first discovered this wonderful product in my local health food store but the fantastic news is that they’re now being sold through Ocado so everyone can get their paws on it! Wooohoo! 🙂

The wonderful people over at CO YO sent me some samples to review. I was sent the Natural, Raw Chocolate flavour, and the Mango one (in a rather nifty little cool bag – thank you! 🙂 ). There is also a mixed berry flavour and a pineapple one (which I’ve tried separately so I’ll give an overview of all of them!).

Firstly the thing I love most about these yoghurts, aside from the fact that they are dairy free, is that they are also totally free from added sugar. They do contain xylitol which is a low GI naturally derived sweetner though, but it’s low calorie and natural so I’m ok with that. They’re also gluten free (they contain tapioca starch but nothing else), nut free and soya free. To top it off they’re also probiotic, so all in all they’re just a little pot of amazingness!

My favourite comfort dessert of stewed apple, berries and toasted nuts and coconut with some natural CO YO! Yum!

All the flavours, apart from the raw chocolate one, are essentially the natural coconut yoghurt with a layer of fruit at the bottom (or not in the case of the natural one). The yoghurt itself is just so good – it’s rich, thick and creamy but still retains that yoghurty tang you’d expect from any natural yoghurt. They obviously have a coconuty taste about them but it’s not at all over-powering. The natural one is perfect on it’s own, or with nuts and seeds for brekkie, or in place of cream or ice cream with dessert. It works really well with my salty spicy pumpkin seed recipe I posted for hallowe’en too 🙂

The fruit flavours are all lovely. I think my favourite is probably the mixed berry but they’re all good. The layer of fruit is just about right – not too much, not too little. The fruit tastes lovely and natural, without that fake flavour you sometimes get in layered yoghurt products. Stir it in to the yoghurt for a yummy full flavoured treat 🙂 Again this is great as a snack or with your breakfast. I particularly like the mixed berry one sprinkled with some roasted hazelnuts as a dessert (or mid afternoon snack!).

The raw chocolate one is joint favourite with the mixed berry. This is simply divine. It tastes like an indulgent chocolate mousse and really hits the spot if you’re having a chocolate craving.

Look at that chocolately goodness! 🙂

These yoghurts are full fat, but there is increasing evidence that the fats in coconut products are “good” fats not bad so consuming more coconut-based products could actually bring you health benefits. In fact coconut is rich in medium-chain fatty acids which are processed by the body differently to other saturated fats and there is evidence that they help with maintaining weight without raising cholesterol. So if you’re worried that these yoghurts might be high in fat, then I really wouldn’t worry too much. We need fats in our diet, fat isn’t always a bad thing, and if you’re going to consume fat then this is a very good way to do it! The product is all natural and also delicious!

They cost a couple of pounds for a small 125g tub (they’re also available in 250g and 400g tubs for most flavours) but they are totally worth the price and you definitely get what you pay for, and in this case it’s heaven in a tub! 🙂

The Great Custard Taste Challenge


My challenge this weekend from my lovely taster friends was to whip up some dairy-free, vegan friendly custard..How?! I hear you cry! Is that even possible?

Well first off, did you know that Bird’s custard powder is completely dairy free? I bet you didn’t – the only vegan I know didn’t either! Bird’s custard powder does not and has never contained egg, or milk powder! All it contains is starch, salt, colouring (Annatto) and flavouring. When you make it you add the milk and sweetner, so you can make it dairy free if you like but using an alternative milk. So that’s all good I guess but frankly I don’t want to be eating articifical colourings and flavourings so I still thought I’d have a go at recreating that custardy yumminess myself and to make it just a little more fun I asked my two official tasters, Colette and Mel, and some special guest star tasters, Rod, Ben, Debs and Sue, to try all the recipes out to see which they liked best.

Top row from left – custard 5, custard 2, custard 4. Bottom Row from left – custard 3, custard 1

So my 5 recipes were:

1. Bird’s custard powder, made following the instructions using Soya milk and unrefined raw sugar.

2. 1 pint soya milk, 3 tbsp unrefined raw sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp cornflour and a little water. The soya milk needs to be heated in a pan with the sugar to just below boiling point, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar. meanwhile mix the cornflour with a very small amount of cold water to form a paste. Add that to the soya milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir all the time. Heat until you get the consistency you want. If you want it thicker add more cornflour.

3. 1 pint soya milk, agar flakes (follow the instructions on the packet for the amount of liquid used, I used 2 tbsps), agave nectar or sweet freedom to taste (about 2 – 3 tbsp but taste as you add!), half the seeds from a vanilla pod.  Heat the soya milk in a pan with the agar flakes stir until the flakes dissolve and bring to a very gentle boil then continue to heat for as long as it takes to dissolve them! Add the agave and vanilla at any time. It won’t set in the pan so it will still appear very runny, but as it cools it will start to get thicker so once the agar is dissolved you can take it off the heat and allow to cool.

4.1 carton of silken tofu (approx 350g or so), 1/3 cup of agave nectar or sweet freedom, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, pinch of salt. Blend all the ingredients together using a wand blender or normal blender. Chill to set.

5. 1 pint almond milk, agave nectar or sweet freedom (to taste – probably about 2 – 3 tbsp), seeds from 1/2 pod of vanilla, 1 tbsp cornflour and a little water. As for number one, heat the milk in a pan with the sugar to just below boiling point and add the agave or sweet freedom – stir to dissolve. Meanwhile mix the cornflour with a very small amount of cold water to form a paste. Add that to the soya milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir all the time. Heat until you get the consistency you want. If you want it thicker add more cornflour.

If any of them have lumps (which depending how good your stirring is then then may!) then just pass them through a sieve. They can be served chilled or warm!

Right so what was the verdict?

Debs and Sue braving the taste challenge...

  • Number 1 came in top from all my tasters – Debs said it was perfect and Sue agreed. This was Colette, Rod’s and Ben’s favourite.
  • Number 2  Joint top! Mel said it looked funny but it tasted lovely, Debs would be very happy to have over crumble and Sue said it was fab. Rod and Ben liked this and Colette thought it could be as good as number 1 with a bit more sweetner
  • Number 3  Mel wasn’t keen on this one, Debs said not much taste and Sue didn’t like the texture. Rod liked this one.
  • Number 4  – Everyone thought it was too cinnamony – and generally would be a nice accompaniment to things but wasn’t really a custard (and I agree).
  • Number 5 –  they all said it was ok but not great

So unsurprisingly everyone liked number 1! I think a big part of this is the fact that it “looks” like custard (i.e. fake yellow!) and of course it’s the taste we’re all conditioned to! But I’m pretty chuffed that number 2 came in joint top as it was my attempt to replicate it. In fact it’s not surprising as it’s basically the same ingredients, just without the articifical flavourings and colourings.

Number 5 was probably a bit too almondy but if you like almond milk it’s worth a try. The tofu one is a pretty nice accompaniment for a warm dessert but it’s not a custard really. The agar one was the least successful and I’m not surprised  – it sets too hard and becomes more of a pudding, it’s also hard to work with.

So the winner is soya milk (or whatever milk of your choice), cornflour, unrefined sugar and vanilla!

Top tip – if you hanker for a dairy free crème brûlée you can use this recipe with just a bit more cornflour. Pour into ramekins and leave in the fridge to set! 🙂 Pop a few raspberries or blueberries in before it sets if you want a fruity version, then when you’re ready to eat just remove from the fridge, sprinkly with coconut palm sugar (or unrefined raw sugar) and melt with a blowtorch or under the grill until you get a cripsy topping! 🙂 ta da!