“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
– from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Imagining the impossible is a wonderful thing to do. Children are, of course, experts at this. Ground down by reality, us adults need a little more practice. Cooking is, I find, the perfect conduit to the creative. In the same way that the paradoxical ‘going forward and standing still’ of train travel lets the imagination break free, so does the paradoxical ‘action and waiting’ of cooking. A flurry of cutting and slicing and chopping followed by a slow methodical stirring; sifting and stirring and kneading and then sitting by the oven, waiting. Plenty of time to imagine the impossible.
I love preparing breakfast at night, the last thing that I do before getting into bed. S will be in the kitchen measuring and grinding coffee, the kids will be asleep, and it feels relaxing to be mixing and roasting and stirring. Allows my mind to mellow out before sleep, meander along whatever path it feels like taking while my hands are busy. The well-worn movements are familiar, grounding. It is fertile soil for unexpected ideas to take root. Plus, of course, it’s nice to have one less thing to do in the morning while the children are underfoot, as they are wont to be. Often it’s bircher muesli that I’m preparing, but lately I’ve been all about chia bowls.
To be honest, it’s not like the internet needs another chia bowl recipe. So here, have two! They were just so delicious (and so pretty!) that I couldn’t resist. The coconut milk in the muddled strawberry version makes it rather rich – and especially tasty – so I tend to use this one for dessert, or a decadent weekend morning tea. And a few shavings of bittersweet dark chocolate over the top wouldn’t go astray. Just sayin’. The version with almond milk is slightly bigger and makes an ideal breakfast – filling yet light. The tang of passionfruit over the top pairs most beautifully with the sweet cherries and creamy chia.
Either way, if you haven’t yet jumped onto the chia bowl bandwagon yet, this is a great place to start.
Chia Bowl, 2 Ways
As long as you keep the ratios, chia seed bowls are endlessly adaptable. You can use whatever milk you have on hand, and as for the toppings? Go crazy! Roasted hazelnuts, dried goji berries, toasted sunflower seeds, sliced nectarine (really any seasonal fruit will do the trick), poppyseeds, grated lime zest…
Coconut Milk Chia Pudding with Muddled Strawberries
6 – 8 strawberries
2 tsps maple syrup
2 tsps lemon juice
Coconut Milk Chia Pudding
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
5 tbsps chia seeds
4 tsps maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Shredded coconut, toasted
Maple syrup, to taste
Slice the strawberries into thin slices, divide between two tall glasses (or bowls), adding one teaspoon of the maple syrup and lemon juice to each glass. Stir to combine then let sit at room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes.
While the strawberries are macerating, combine the coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a jar, stirring to combine. Transfer immediately to the glasses with the macerated strawberries, dividing between the two. Put the glasses/bowls into the fridge and leave for one hour, or up to overnight.
When ready to serve, top each glass with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, a drizzle of syrup, a handful of berries, toasted coconut, bee pollen, and roughly chopped almonds.
Chia Breakfast Bowl with Cherries
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
3 tbsps chia seeds
3 – 4 medjool dates
Pinch of salt
Using a blender or handheld mixer, whizz together the almond milk and the dates.
In a shallow bowl combine the whizzed milk, chia seeds, and salt, stirring to combine. Pop the bowl into the fridge and leave for one hour, or up to overnight.
When ready to serve, top with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, a handful of (pitted) cherries, pistachios, bee pollen and passionfruit.
Serves: 1 (generously)