A Weekend of Treats, Rounded off with a Raw Chocolate Orange Chia Dessert!

Hi everyone!  I hope you are having a great week so far! 🙂

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday but I was busy all day taking photographs for “the book”!  My aim is to get all the photos finished by Easter, which isn’t far off considering how quickly the weeks are flying by!

So how was your weekend?  For us, it was a weekend of “treats”!  Lil’ L had the treat of going to stay for a night with his lovely nanny in Dorset, while M and I went for our belated Valentine’s night away at Carey’s Manor in Brockenhurst, Hampshire.

This place is pretty special…

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and has the most beautiful Thai-style spa with hydrotherapy facilities.

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Okay, I’ll stop the photos now 😉

This was our first ‘date night’ in months and it was nice to go somewhere special and spend some quality time together.  We reduced the costs as much as possible by staying on the Friday night (thus avoiding the Saturday night supplements), and we also took advantage of the hotel’s special free evening meal offer.

We were booked into the hotel’s Manor Restaurant for our evening meal, and I can happily report that the chef rose to the challenge of meeting my dietary requirements 😉  I didn’t take any photos as it wasn’t the type of restaurant where you can whip out your camera and start snapping the food , but here’s a quick run down of what they served me:

Entree – strawberry sorbet (M was given a white onion cappuccino which sounds bizarre to me, but apparently it was really nice!)

Starter – beetroot carpaccio with mushrooms, rocket and a balsamic dressing.

Main course – wild mushroom risotto…which they made with soya milk for me!

Dessert – pineapple carpaccio with shredded basil and coconut sorbet.

All courses were totally delicious!  I really want to have a try at making both the beetroot and pineapple carpaccios as they were stunning!

After our meal, M and I stayed in the lounge until 1 in the morning chatting.  We haven’t had an opportunity to do that in a long time.  It was really nice! 🙂

The next day, we met my mum and Lil’ L in Burley.  Every time I visit this village, I have to stop at the Old Farmhouse Tearooms for a soy cappuccino and slice of their ginger cake.  That cake is dairy free and gluten free… and totally scrumptious!

We then took a circular walk on the common to walk off our cake.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, it was warm enough to not wear a coat.  Is this really February?  The crazy weather continues!

Along the walk, we saw lots of this beautiful yellow gorse…

We warned Lil’ L that it’s really prickly but you know kids.. they have to find out for themselves 😉

We also came across lots of these beautiful little New Forest ponies.  So cute!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.  Lil’ L loved his time with nanny and, since M and I rarely go on dates these days (perhaps 2-3 times a year?), we really cherished our night away.  M has suggested that we do it again later this year and I’m totally up for that!

As you can imagine, I did very little cooking this weekend …. but I did make a raw chocolate orange chia pudding!  I’ve only recently started to buy chia seeds as they have been hard to come by in this country.  Local to me, they’re now available from the Harvest Health Food shop in Bath.  I also purchase them from online stores including Healthy SuppliesElements for Life, and Earthfare.  I find that the cost of chia seeds can really vary from one store to another, and at different times of year, so I always make sure I shop around.

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These seeds come from the beautiful chia plant, which belongs to the mint family (salvia hispanica).

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I’ve read so much good stuff about them on the Internet.  Here’s a quick rundown of its nutritional profile:

  • Chia is a very rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acid
  • It is a good source of protein, and contains all 9 essential amino acids.
  • It is high in dietary fibre.
  • It’s easily digested and absorbs more than 9 times its weight in liquid when soaked, helping to regulate blood sugar and hydration.
  • Chia is a good source of minerals, notably phosphorus, manganese, calcium and zinc.

They sound like another “super food” to me!

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The seeds have been eaten throughout Central and Southern America for thousands of years, and were part of the staple diet of the Aztecs and Indians.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that chia seeds have a history of safe use as a food.  However, for some reason (which I’m yet to fathom out) these little seeds have been classed as a “novel food” under the EU Novel Food Act 1997.  This means that when you buy chia seeds in Europe, they have a big label on the packet that they can only be consumed as an ingredient for baked goods comprising a maximum 5% of the content!

Since I haven’t read anything on the Internet about chia seeds being harmful and, on the contrary, have read time and again about the health benefits of this little seed, I’ve joined my fellow American and Canadian health foodie friends in eating chia seeds raw 🙂  If you bake them, you lose the omega 3 content which, to me, defeats the object of eating them in the first place.

And in their raw form, chia seeds make the most AMAZING chocolate desserts!  Chocolate orange is my current favourite flavour, but I’m looking forward to trying mocha and hazelnut versions.  The possibilities are endless!

It’s so simple to make.  Here’s how I do it:

Do you eat chia seeds?  If so, what is your favourite way of serving them? Please add links to your favourite recipes in the comment section below as I’d love to try them out!

What do you think of the EU law on chia?  Do you think it’s right to class chia as a ‘novel’ food when it’s been around for thousands of years? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week everyone! xx

 

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12 Comments

Filed under Baking & Desserts, Dinners, General wittering, Nutrition, Raw Chocolate Making, Walking & Hiking

12 Responses to A Weekend of Treats, Rounded off with a Raw Chocolate Orange Chia Dessert!

  1. Maybe like our FDA (Food & Drug Administration) it will take time for the EU to recognize the health benefits of chia.
    I do indeed eat chia and love to use them in my smoothies every morning (kind of like a poppy seed) and it gives a little crunch.
    I promise I will not scold you for lack of posts since you were working on your book…AND I would like you to finish that up (I am ready to buy my copy).
    So glad to see you and M had such a wonderful weekend and what a beautiful manor it, keep up the date nights they are good for you 🙂

    • Lil L got me in trouble this weekend by telling my mum that I spend far too much time in blogging world and not enough time on the book! Cheeky thing! All my family are on my case now so I really must get on with it! M and I did have some great chats on Fri night about the design of the book though. I’m really looking forward to getting on with that part of it. I’ll be relieved when the photography’s over. It’s the hardest part for me!

  2. Wow that spa looks lovely and so does the raw choc pudding too.

    We use chia seeds for something very similar, as per the recipe on our website http://www.elementsforlife.co.uk/recipes/raw-chocolate-chia-pudding

    • Just checked out the raw choc chia pudding recipe on your website and i’m now intrigued about ‘lucuma powder’. Is this another superfood that I’m yet to discover? The pudding looks beautifully smooth and creamy. Looks like I’m going to have to buy some lucuma powder and try it out!

  3. I love chia seeds and eat them all the time. They are really good mixed with oats and left overnight to make overnight oats. Usually I just mix mine with some water, raw cacao powder and stevia – I’ve never blended them as I don’t mind the ‘frog spawn’ texture but I should probably try it! I know that there are lots of chia recipes on choosingraw.com 🙂

    • When I first saw chia gel, the first thought that popped into my head was ‘frog spawn’. I was totally grossed out so had to throw it straight into the blender! I’m glad I did though as the whole family is loving these chocolate chia desserts!
      Thanks so much for the web link. I’m looking forward to checking out more chia recipes x

  4. That is so interesting that the EU classifies chia seeds as a novel food, and places such restrictions on them. I do eat chia seeds, usually just sprinkle some in oatmeal or smoothies. I tried soaking them before but was not a fan of the resulting texture. Perhaps I should try blending it. (Into a chocolate orange dessert, perhaps!)
    Glad you had a nice getaway–that place looks gorgeous!

    • The look of chia mixed with water just grosses me out! Hence why I blend it. It’s amazing that you can just add a little cocoa and sweetener and boom you have a delicious dessert! It really is an amazing little seed!
      Thank you so much for allowing me to use your beautiful picture 🙂

  5. this pudding recipe seems so easy but looks so fancy. super creamy although only made with water? wow, i usually add chias to my smoothie or porridge. i always have some flax or chia soaking in the fridge 🙂 i find it quite ridiculous to class chia as a novel food, after all it has been around for ages, its just that the western world discovered them only recently.

    • Yes it’s really simple to make and is a pretty cheap dessert too! (Much cheaper than the shop bought chocolate desserts). As chia has a neutral taste, it works really well with the chocolate. I’ve always made it with water as I use the chia/water gel that I have soaking in the fridge, but I guess I should try it with almond or soya milk to increase its nutritional profile. I’ll give it a try this weekend!

  6. Lindy

    Interesting read about chia seeds. I read in a cookbook recently how to use them as an egg replacement and it worked really well.

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