So, I’ve tried several times these last few weeks to write something helpful or useful or even just tasty and nothing has made it to publish! There’s a bit of ‘pandemic waffle’ at the beginning of this post, but if you don’t want to read the ramblings of my mind, just scroll down to the recipe part!
Food shopping and meal planning right now is stressful and strange. I’ve done most of my food shopping online for years but now it’s tricky to get a slot, or get the items you need (several family food intolerances make this worse!) and Tesco have put a limit on 80 items an order, which I struggle to get down to. Food shopping ‘in real life’ is even worse with all the new rules (oh hello social anxiety!) and a feeling like everyone is invisibly contagious and might accidentally kill my youngest (who has an underlying health condition). Food shopping alone used to feel like a nice break and now it feels like a total mission.
I feel like all I’ve done lately is obsess about food, and not even in an enjoyable way! Constantly thinking about stock levels in different shops, budgeting, meal planning for extended periods, researching alternative ingredients or websites to order things from when our usual staples are unavailable, trying to make sure everyone in the family gets their nutritional needs met so that if they do get ill they’ve got a good chance of fighting it off! It’s getting pretty tiring now.
Usually I love to think of new recipes and experiment with stuff but… right now much of my food related thinking is so anxiety inducing instead, it’s been a lot less fun!
One thing which has been enjoyable is creating recipes using foraged food, but I’m a bit wary about sharing some of them in case someone mis-identifies a plant and makes themselves ill! (but if you also enjoy foraging and want to see what I’ve been cooking, then pop over to my Instagram)
Another silver lining is that I’ve been trying some items I wouldn’t normally do and have found some tasty things I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. I had no idea that Aldi did their own version of the Lotus Biscoff biscuits which are also ‘accidentally vegan’! We also tried some Pea Milk, and well… I know it says ‘Barista’ on it, so it’s been designed to be used in coffee and yes, it is really delicious in coffee but omg, it tastes SO BAD by itself and therefore ruins smoothies and cereal! The kids refuse to drink it lol But honestly, if you just want it for coffee then it is good! (We’ve also been drinking my Homemade Oat Milk and have also been ordering our Oatly in bulk!) We also ordered a great gluten free box from Doves Farm, which contained their Pancake Mix and that was really nice, would definitely buy that again.
I also persuaded my husband to build a chicken coop for our garden! I know you might be thinking “but wait a minute, I kinda got the impression you were vegan, wtf is with chickens?” but although I don’t eat eggs, the rest of the family do (and if we’re going to be picky I’d say I was ‘plant based’ not vegan, as I’m in it more for selfish health reasons, not ethics, but that’s not to say I don’t give a shit about animal welfare!). I thought at least by having our own chickens then we’d be able to ensure they had awesome welfare standards and personally I can’t freakin wait to get some tiny fluffy raptors! They’re going to be great for eating up kitchen scraps and keep pests down in the veggie plot too. One small spanner in the works is that everyone ‘panic-bought’ all the chickens, so none are available in my area right now, but fingers crossed some should be come May.
RECIPE PART!! (for those that skipped my waffle and scrolled down lol)
One thing I’ve been struggling to get hold of, which isn’t even actually up there on the ‘important food’ list, but is definitely top of my ‘comfort food’ list, is cinnamon and raisin bagels!
Last time I visited the shop there was just a terrible gaping hole where the bagels should be and while hot-cross-buns were an excellent stand-in, I’ve been thinking I need a way to make ALL bread-like things tasty and cinnamon-raisiny.
Enter – cinnamon & raisin chia jam! Oh yes. Why isn’t this a thing?! (I think this might also make a good ‘mincemeat’ substitute for mince pies too.) Now I can just spread this on toast, or crumpets, or whatever else I’ve managed to get my glove-clad hands on!
Chia jam is generally awesome since chia seeds are packed full of handy nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron and more and this recipe is sugar free too so it’s jam that is actually good for you! (Another good flavour of jam for this time of year is Rhubarb & Ginger, check out my recipe from last year!)
If you don’t have apple puree or a kids apple snack pouch loitering in your cupboards you can use actual apples that you peel, core and dice quite small so they cook fast. If you can’t get hold of stoned, chopped dates you can sweeten with coconut sugar, which does give it a a bit of a caramelly flavour, but it’s still nice! Also the shop only had sultanas and it doesn’t matter if you use raisins or these, whichever!
Cinnamon & Raisin Chia Jam (gf, sf, df, vegan) makes one small jar.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pouch (90g) apple puree
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup sultanas/raisins
- 2-3tsp cinnamon (to taste really)
- 1-2 tbsp chia seeds
- optional extra agave syrup to sweeten further
- Put the water and apple puree in a pan over a medium heat
- Add the dates and sultanas/raisins and stir well, maybe squidge the dates a bit.
- Season with your cinnamon and taste, if not sweet enough add a bit of agave.
- Take off the heat when it’s all mushy and nicely mixed.
- Stir in your chia seeds and leave for a few minutes to firm.
- Transfer to a clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I hope you enjoyed this delicious chia jam recipe and that you can find something bread-y to put it on! (I did try baking some gluten-free, vegan soda bread but it went VERY badly, and I somehow accidentally made a giant scone.. which I guess wasn’t so bad, but it certainly wasn’t bread! … but you might see a scone recipe soon! lol)
Take care of each other out there ❤
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