This is a short blog post from me today since I've been busy recovering from the weekend and catching up on my online study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Last week on Thursday my Dad went into the hospital for knee replacement surgery. On the Friday, my Mum and I went to visit him in the afternoon. He was not yet up and about but was doing well. After the visit we went to the Vegie Bar in Fitzroy for dinner as my Mum had never been before. Of course, while we were there we had a raw vegan entree, main and dessert - it's always nice when someone else does the cooking or "uncooking"! At the hospital my Mum expressed her guilt over our planned outing by saying to my Dad, "I do feel bad about going out", to which my Dad replied, "No you don't!". (I know at least I didn't anyway!)
Anyway, a week or so ago I was asked if I had any recipes or recommendations for a vegan or vegetarian jelly. There are vegan/vegetarian jelly products you can buy in health food stores but most of them are full of refined sugar. You can also try to make your own vegan jelly by using agar agar as the setting agent and adding lots of fruit juice and fresh fruit, like you can see here and here. This kind of jelly is called kanten. But you can also make a raw version of a vegan jelly by using chia seeds, which set like a gel due to their amazing ability to absorb 8 to 14 times their weight in water.
Chia seeds are not only a complete source of protein but also an excellent source of dietary fibre, omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals such as calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Due to hospital food rating very poor in the nutritional stakes I decided to sneak my Dad in a healthy but sweet dessert in the form of a berry chia pudding, which had the added bonus of being a great fibre hit. I'm pleased to say that my dessert was a huge success and I'm sure I'll be making it again for my Dad this week once he's home from the hospital. You know it's good when your non-health-food-freak-dad-who-tries-all-your-creative-concoctions likes it and tells you he'd be happy to have it anytime. Score!
berry chia pudding
1/4 cup chia seeds
Juice of 2 oranges, freshly squeezed (substitute: 1/2 cup coconut water)
1 Tbs pure maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries
Handful of goji berries
Handful of shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pulp of 1 passionfruit (optional)
Mix together well and let the pudding set in the fridge for 30 minutes to 3 hours before eating. Garnish as you desire. Enjoy!