So I have just been on a completely dreamy trip to the south of France…and my jeans are feeling a bit tight! Our French excursion was spent visiting a little town called Gourdes, about an hour outside of Marseilles. If you are in the area or planning a trip to that part of the world, then I really recommend a visit – it is completely beautiful. Surrounding the town are rolling fields of lavender, wild rosemary grows everywhere, and the multitude of vineyards produce the most delicious (and cheap) wines. Gourdes itself is a beautiful old town carved out of a mountainous rock offering the most incredible views. It’s pretty dreamy!
Needless to say, a trip to France is going to offer an abundance of fresh baguette, delicious cheeses, apple and pear tarte tatin and all sorts of delicious indulgence. For me, this is where the jeans begin to tighten I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong, we feasted on beautiful tomato and olive oil salads, barbecued vegetables and a whole host of other delicious healthier options too – but the former ingredients and dishes were not to be ignored, and have helped me to gain a few holiday pounds. Not to mention the odd glass or two of some ice cold pale rosé! My firm view however is that life is for living and I am not going to deprive myself of such delicious treats – especially when I am on holiday!
At times like this when the jeans feel a little tighter, the first thing that I do to rectify the situation is to go for a week or so without having any grains for breakfast. Instead of a porridge or a slice of rye, I opt for delicious green smoothies, steamed asparagus with poached eggs or something like this delicious Chia Porridge with Strawberry Coulis. For me it really makes a big difference and I always feel that it is a healthy way to get back to where you want to be.
Chia seeds are a brilliant source of protein and fiber and have fantastic energy boosting properties too. They make a fantastic option for breakfast as a result.
A couple of things to note when using chia seeds:
- They will soak up a lot of liquid. The longer you leave them to soak the more liquid they will soak up. Don’t therefore be freaked out the first time you make this – the liquid will absorb.
- Soaked chia seeds can work as a fantastic alternative to eggs and are widely used in vegan baking. They work brilliantly as a binding ingredient, so if your pastry is looking too loose or wet or your bread needs something extra to hold it together then try adding soaked chia seeds.
- 50g of chia seeds
- 2 star anise
- 40g (2tbsp) of yoghurt – try using coconut yoghurt if you want a dairy free option
- 100ml of almond or other plant based milk
- 30ml of water
- ¼ tsp of vanilla paste (or extract)
- 160g of strawberries
- 4tbsp of water
- Sprinkling of granola, Brazil nuts, bee pollen, goji berries, raisins, sesame seeds, pecans etc to top.
- Put the chia seeds, star anise, yoghurt, milk, water and vanilla paste into a bowl and whisk together until smooth and incorporated. Set aside to soak for at least 40 minutes, or better still put into the fridge to soak overnight.
- Make the strawberry coulis by putting the strawberries and water into a pan over a medium heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the strawberries are beginning to break down and you have a lovely bright sauce.
- Grab your chia seed mixture and give it another good stir to remove any lumps that may have formed. If you think that the mixture looks a little thick, just add some more almond milk to loosen it.
- Transfer to your bowls and pour the strawberry coulis over the top - add an extra dollop of yoghurt too if you like and a sprinkling of your choice - I love to add my Hazelnut Granola as that cinnamony taste is a great addition. Goji berries or chopped Brazil nuts would be a delicious addition too.