When visiting grandparent’s as a child, dessert would either be fruit at my Italian grandparents house or on special occasions, Vienetta icecream, or at my other grandparents house we would get a traditional baked dessert (golden syrup dumplings, apple crumbles or rice pudding were common – Nan even used to leave the sultanas out to cater for my aversion to dried grapes) or – our favorite – sliced white bread slathered in jam and cream. I think this was viewed as not only a quicker, but slightly healthier dessert option. Arguably it may have been a tad healthier than some of the other baked treats, but sliced white supermarket bread smothered with generic cream and sugar-laden jam is hardly a “healthy” option. I’m guessing this view was related to the thinking of the time – something we’ll be discussing here in more detail over the coming weeks – a “healthy” diet back in the 80s included a lot of grains and cereals, and large quantities of added sugar in our diets was the norm. I’m guessing the cream and it’s high fat-content would have been the only issue back then.
Nowadays, the fat would probably be the least of my concerns (though admittedly I can’t remember the last time I ate dairy cream – coconut cream though is a whole other story!) – I try to limit my sugar and therefore traditionally made jam doesn’t feature highly – or at all – in my current diet, and at risk of sounding like a massive snob, there is no way I would eat overly-processed, nutritionally-devoid sliced white supermarket bread. Asides from the fact that there is nothing there to nourish my body, I fear it would do a lot more harm than good, and – lets be honest, it tastes pretty crap!
But let’s leave bread alone for today, and instead look at jam. Traditionally, jam is made through cooking down fruit with jam and a little lemon, however you may have noticed a much simpler and healthier way to make jam appearing throughout the internet over the past few months – chia seed jam. It is such an ingenious, and if you think about it – obvious – idea; chia seeds mixed with water create a gel-like texture, similar to jam. I am a huge chia seed fan and eat them daily – they are high in protein, fiber and loaded with antioxidants. This jam is just spices, berries and chia seeds – no added sugar, just wholesome, healthy ingredients, and loads of flavour!
- 2 cups fresh or frozen berries
- 2 Tbsp water
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- ⅛ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2.5 Tbsp chia seeds
- Place berries, water, spices and vanilla in saucepan over low to med heat and mash with fork or potato masher as the berries start to thaw. Once completely heated and fairly smooth, stir through the chia seeds and leave to cool at least half an hour before serving - the mixture with thicken up and the seeds soften as it cools.