From Seasons

Chia pudding could be the easiest [and yummiest] thing you ever make

We went out for dinner recently. AND a gig. Pretty smug, that we still ‘got it’. Until we lined up to settle the bill for dinner. When asked what we were doing afterwards [and who was playing], the friendly restaurant dude [probably half our age] grinned and exclaimed: “old school!”. I was at a loss for words. How did I find myself in this age bracket? Yes, I am here, I have arrived. Officially OLD SCHOOL.

So, it only seems right that I denounce all attempts at wannabe-cool and admit to being completely late off the blocks with this one. I might be late, but she’s goodie and has revolutionised mornings around here: I am officially obsessed with chia. A bit tired of breakfast, I find it the hardest meal of the day to be excited about. Not strictly limited to any meal time [thankfully], this ‘pudding’ preparation requires so little fuss, it just needs enough time for the seeds to soak and swell. Keeps for about a week in the fridge [if it hangs around that long]. Wink, wink.

coconutchia1

C O C O N U T   A N D   L  I M E   C H I A   P U D D I N G  [ F O R   A N Y   T I M E   O F   T H E   D A Y] :

[makes 2 cups]

  • 250 ml / 8.8 fl oz milk*
  • 50ml / 1.7 fl oz maple syrup
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, crushed slightly in your hand [or feel free add some lemon or lime peel; star anise or a cinnamon quill].
  • 250 ml / 8.8 fl oz coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds [I used black]

[*or substitute for coconut milk if you’d prefer dairy free].

Place first 3 ingredients into a saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring milk to a gentle simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Leave for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This just gives the lime some time to infuse. Add coconut milk to saucepan, heating through gently and dissolving any lumps of coconut.

Add chia to milk mixture, stir through and cover. Leave seeds to soak and swell, stirring occasionally. I often leave overnight, but you could have it ready in 2-3 hours in a rush. Once cooled, place mixture in the fridge. I like to leave kaffir lime leaves in the chia mix, they continue to add flavour. [They are big enough to fish out prior to serving].


P O A C H E D   F E I J O A   A N D   L I M E :

[loosely based on David Lebovitz’ caramelised pineapple]

  • 1 kg feijoa [about 10-15 feijoas]
  • 125 ml / 4.4 fl oz maple syrup [or to taste]
  • zest and juice of 4-5 limes [about 100 ml / 3.5 fl oz]
  • 1 tsp each cardamon, cinnamon and mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste/essence
  • 2 tablespoons marmalade or apricot jam
  • 75ml / 2.6 fl oz malibu liqueur [optional]

Heat oven to 100 deg C. Peel feijoas and place them in a shallow oven dish [you want them packed in snugly together, in a single layer]. You can either slice feijoa into large chunks, or of late, I have been leaving them whole. Pour liquid over feijoas and bake for around 2 hours, until feijoas soft. Place into preserving jars or into an airtight container once cooled. Will keep in the fridge for a good week or so.

Served here with poached feijoa and honeycomb, but any fresh or preserved fruit will be delicious. Of course, honeycomb is entirely optional [but just for the record, it still tastes as good as it did in school science].

Three cheers for chia! Four cheers for old school, [I may or may not be in denial].

xx

webcoconutchia

Feijoascoconutchia2

Pumpkin and eggplant curry

[ M A K I N G   A   F U S S   O F   F E N N E L ]

We’ve had a blast with wild fennel this summer. I think I’ll start claiming fennel [and blackberries] as residents of our vegetable garden. They grow better than anything I ever grow, and they need zero love! At the moment, those vibrant yellow ‘licorice’ flowers have all but disappeared and we are being treated to the tastiest fennel seeds. Hence this ‘curry’ [or some kind of an interpretation of a curry. I can’t attest to its authenticity, but I can attest to its tastiness]. And pumpkin seemed an obvious choice, given its abundance at the moment!

Fennel1
Curry

 

P U M P K I N   A N D   E G G P L A N T   C U R R Y  :

[serves 4 hungry adults]

P A S T E :

This paste can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. I make this amount, use half to make this curry and keep the rest for a soup paste or a meat rub a few days down the track.

  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 4 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp tumeric
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 heaped Tbsp tomato paste
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp fresh chilli/chilli flakes [optional, or add more to taste. Whatever it takes to keep your crowd happy]

Stir together, it should make a thick but mixable paste. [If using later, store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge. This will keep for a least a week].

T H E   R E S T :

  • 1 pumpkin, cut into 2cm chunks [or thereabouts]
  • 1 eggplant, cut into similar sized chunks
  • 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes [I used cherry tomatoes]
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 400 – 500ml coconut cream or milk [I love the AYAM brand, so i would use most of 2 x 270ml cans]
  • 1-2 Tbsp fish sauce [or to taste]
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar [or to taste]
  • Toasted cashews, coconut and shredded coriander [optional, we have none so I used parsley]
  • oil for cooking

M E T H O D :

Preheat oven to 100-150 ° C / 200-300 ° F / gas mark 1-2.

Scatter pumpkin on a roasting dish, drizzle with oil and toss pumpkin to coat each piece. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven, turning occasionally until pumpkin soft. They can sit in there for an hour or two, just check on them from time to time. [Cover with foil/baking paper if they are starting to get to crisp on the edges].

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add paste, stirring until aromatic. Add tomatoes and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Add eggplant and leave to do its thing- simmer until eggplant is soft and absolutely saturated in sauce. This can take some time, I like to walk away and let mine simmer away for at least an hour or so- but if you’re strapped for time, crank up the heat and have it ready sooner that that- just keep a watchful eye it doesn’t burn. Remove eggplant briefly, add coconut cream/milk, fish sauce and brown sugar. Best to do these last two in baby steps, you can always add more but hard to redeem a major over salting/sugaring! Once happy with how it tastes, return eggplant to pan and heat through again. You can stir pumpkin through briefly, if you wish.

Serve with rice. I like to cook mine with a small handful of shredded coconut. Sprinkle with nuts etc as desired.

[Because if all else fails, the kids will eat the rice. Ha. It’s true].

Curry1
Fennel3
Fennel4

Pineapple and coconut mille feuille

[serves a decent crowd, say 12 people].

Okay, let’s get one thing straight- it’s really just a slightly fancy, slap happy custard square. But a tasty one, at that. We always seem to have custard in the fridge- I don’t know if it’s a hang up from having little babies in the house. These not-so-little-now babies are still avid custard eaters, when all else fails- it is a safe bet and a custard dessert is nearly as good as Santa! And who can go past filo pastry? [“Ha, I hope you have your vacuum cleaner on hand”. That was what my sensible [and cheeky] mum said, when I told her what we were having for dessert. I’d forgotten about that bit, when I last ate filo in 2005]. All crumbs aside, I have nothing but love for that golden, crunchy and messy deliciousness.

millefeuilleMillefeuille2The custard and pineapple can be done days ahead of time, the filo needs to be done the day of. Caramelising pineapple is a great way make your pineapples last [nearly] forever. Sitting in the syrupy goodness enhances the flavour even more. Serving this custard square shortly after you’ve assembled it is best. But sometimes the ducks just don’t line up, in which case your filo might be a bit soft and chewy, as opposed to super crunchy- but still a crowd pleaser.


C U S T A R D :

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4-1/2 cup / 2-4 fl oz. maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch
  • 250 ml / 8.5 fl oz.coconut milk
  • 250 ml / 8.5 fl oz. milk [feel free to alter these quantities, depending on how much milk or coconut milk you have to a combined total of 500 ml ]

Whisk egg yolks, cornflour, maple syrup and about 1/4 cup of above milk mixture together in a bowl and set aside. Heat remaining milks in saucepan over low- medium heat, until almost boiling. At this point, add egg yolk, cornflour, milk and maple to saucepan, whisking continuously until custard thickens. Sometimes this can take a little while, but be patient! In my experience shortcuts are never worth the risk, where custard is concerned. Once you think it’s thickened nicely, place clingfilm snug over top of custard [so you don’t get a rubbery skin on it]. Leave to cool somewhere, until you’re ready to assemble. This custard keeps for a good week in the fridge. [Just do the [very scientific] sniff test before you serve it to your custard square party participants].

C A R A M E L I S E D   P I N E A P P L E :

[adapted from David Lebovitz’s Spiced Caramelized Pineapple]

  • 1/2 pineapple, diced into 1cm thick pieces [but feel free to use the whole lot, just double the other ingredients]
  • 1/2 cup / 4 fl. oz rum, pimms or whatever liquor you have in the cupboard [I used Malibu for a coconut kick]
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup / 3 oz. apricot jam [or marmalade]
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg
  • a drizzle of maple syrup

Heat oven to around 150˚C / 300˚F / gas mark 2. Place pineapple in a baking roasting dish, big enough that they fit and each piece gets to roast in the juice. Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl and slosh over top of pineapple. Place in oven, checking on it from time to time [every 15-20 mins], turning the pieces and re-coating them with the syrup. This can take around 2 hours- but you can sort of stop and start the process if need be by removing from the oven, or turning temperature down. Once pineapple is looking golden and caramelised- and the syrup sticky and mostly absorbed, remove from heat. Once cooled, place in an airtight container and store in fridge. Pineapple is best served at room temperature, so remember to pull out from fridge a couple of hours prior to serving.

F I L O :

  • 12 sheets of filo
  • 50 g / 1.7 oz melted butter
  • Icing sugar to dust

Heat oven to 170° C /  330° F / gas mark 3 . Lay one sheet of filo out, brush with butter and dust with icing sugar before adding the next sheet. Once you have a made a pile of 4 sheets, slice into 12 even sized rectangles. Place on an oven tray and bake until golden and crispy. Repeat this with remaining sheets, until you have baked 3 full oven trays of 12 rectangles.


T O   A S S E M B L E :

  • 1/2 cup / 4 fl oz. cream, whipped
  • icing sugar, to dust
  • 1/2 cup / 4 fl oz. creme fraiche
  • handful of mint, finely chopped
  • toasted coconut

Get all your components and set them out in area with a decent bit of workspace, ala Subway. Beat up your cream and mix through with custard. Lay out 12 of the rectangles and spread custard over each of them  [use a piping bag if you can be bothered, otherwise just slap a couple of spoonfuls on each piece]. Roughly break up pineapple and add a few pieces on top of custard. Add filo rectangle lid to each of the custard piles. Repeat above step, placing last batch of filo lids on top of each pile. Dust each custard stack with icing sugar. Mix creme fraiche and mint together and add a small dollop a top each rectangle. Finish each stack with a small piece of pineapple, some toasted coconut and a mint leaf.

Bring a plate? Oh yeah, you just aced dessert.

Millefeuille3