Strawberry chia jam and almond muffins are a tempting treat with a great combination of flavours.

Chia seeds are attracting lots of interest at the moment due to their reputed health benefits. Chia seeds are tiny seeds from the seed pods of Salvia hispanica L, a summer annual herbaceous plant that is a member of the mint family, related to sage. It grows in Mexico and South America, where it is believed they were once part of the Aztec diet. The seeds have been described as having either a bland or mild nutty taste.

chia

Makes 12 muffins

Chia jam

200g of strawberries

3 tbsp of chia seeds

2 tbsp of honey

1 vanilla pod

Muffins

300g of ground almonds

300ml of full fat coconut milk (from a can)

2 organic freer range eggs

1 Pinch of sea salt

½ tsp baking soda

4 tbsp honey

1 vanilla pod scraped

Preheat oven to 180° C

To make the muffins mix the almonds, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the coconut milk, eggs, honey and 1 vanilla pod scraped. Combine together and pour the mixture into muffin paper holders, but only fill them 2/3 full as they will rise.

Bake the muffins for 20 minutes until just cooked through and golden on top.

While the muffins are baking put the strawberries, honey and vanilla bean pod in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Let this sit for 15 minutes stirring every 5 until it thickens into a jam like consistency.

Top the muffins with the strawberry jam and enjoy.

Will you give these strawberry chia jam and almond muffins a go?

clairejustine

My Random Musings

Make a Valentine Day cake because they do say the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy!

Berry-special-Valentine-cake-11

There’s no need to buy a special cake tin to make this extra special cake, a large Swiss roll tin or roasting tin will work fine with a homemade paper template. .

Cuts into 8 slices
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 15-18 minutes

Cake layers

175g (6oz) soft margarine
175g (6oz) caster sugar
150g (5oz) self-raising flour
25g (1oz) cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs

Filling

100g (4oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
200ml (7fl oz) double cream
150g (5oz) raspberries
225g (8oz) strawberries, hulled, sliced
Little icing sugar, sifted

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Grease the base and sides of a 25 x 38cm (10 x 15 inch) Swiss roll tin or roasting tin with the same base measurement and line the base with a piece of non-stick baking paper. Add the margarine and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor, sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder then add the eggs and beat until smooth, or mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

2.Spoon the cake mixture into the lined tin and spread into an even layer. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the centre of the tin with fingertips. Leave to cool for 15 minutes then loosen the edges and turn out on to a wire rack.

3.When cold, peel off the lining paper and fold the paper into three triangles, with the two outer triangles going one way and the centre one pointing the other. Draw a large heart in one of the triangles that is about 14 x 20 cm (51/2 x 8 inches) then cut out, and use this as a template to cut two more hearts from the other triangles. Lay the templates on the cake and cut around them with a small sharp knife. Check the shapes are the same by stacking the cakes one on top of the other and trimming a little off the sides if needed, then separate the cakes once more.

4.Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of very gently simmering water for about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth then take off the pan. Slowly whisk in the cream until thick and glossy then chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes until thick enough to spread.

5.Spread the cream mixture evenly over all three cake layers. Arrange a single row of raspberries around the edge of one of the cakes, then crumble the rest and arrange with the sliced strawberries over the other two layers. Carefully stack the cakes together on a pedestal plate, if you have one, with the raspberry edged cake on top then dust the raspberries with a little sifted icing sugar. Chill the Valentine Day cake in the fridge until ready to serve.

Hijacked By Twins
Mum Muddling Through

Adding just a hint of cracked black pepper to pureed strawberries adds a real kick, combine with the white chocolate, lime and white rum mousse and you will wow your friends. Make extra sauce and freeze in sections of an ice cube tray, defrost as many ice cubes as you need in the microwave and drizzle over a scoop of vanilla ice cream to give it the star treatment.

White-chocolate-mousses-with-strawberry-and-black-pepper-sauce-11White chocolate mousse with strawberry sauce will certainly get your Valentine in the mood.

Serves 4
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Chill: 3-4 hours

White chocolate mousse

◾200g (7oz) white chocolate, broken into pieces
◾1 lime, grated rind only
◾2 eggs, separated
◾2 tablespoons white rum
◾150ml (1/4 pint) double cream

Strawberry and black pepper sauce

◾50g (2oz) caster sugar
◾75ml (21/2 fl oz) water
◾1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, roughly crushed
◾225g (8oz) strawberries, hulled, sliced
◾½ lime, juice only
◾Few extra small strawberries to decorate

Method

1.To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of very gently simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl isn’t touching the water.

2.Take the bowl of chocolate off the saucepan and stir in the lime rind, egg yolks and rum until smooth. Lightly whip the cream until it forms soft swirls then fold into the chocolate mix and spoon into 4 small glasses. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours until set.

3.Meanwhile make the sauce, add the sugar, water and pepper to a medium saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved then simmer for 3 minutes. Add the strawberries and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes then leave to cool.

4.Puree the sauce in a liquidiser or using a stick blender until smooth. Pour into a small jug and pour over the tops of the mousses just before serving. Serve on small plates with extra halved strawberries, if liked.

Will you try this white chocolate mousse recipe

wedsbloghop

Chocolate fondue makes an indulgent treat perfect to share with your Valentine.

Chocolate-Fondue-2

Made in minutes, pour this wonderfully luxurious fondue into a pretty heart shaped cup or keep hot in a mini fondue bowl with a burner.

Serves 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

2 strips of orange rind pared from a whole orange with a vegetable peeler

Large pinch ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons caster sugar

120ml (4fl oz) or 8 tablespoons of water

150g (5oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces

2 tablespoons double cream, plus 1 tablespoon to decorate

350g (12oz) mixed strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

1.Add the orange rind, cinnamon, sugar and water to a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until syrupy and leave to cool for 10 minutes or longer for the flavours to develop.

2.Discard the orange rind and reheat the syrup. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and leave until melted. Stir until smooth and mix in 2 tablespoons of cream until glossy. Reheat gently if needed.

3.Arrange the fruit on a plate with fondue skewers or small forks and pour the fondue sauce into a cup or fondue pot set over a burner. You can even use the saucepan you have been cooking with. Decorate with an extra drizzle of cream and swirl with a skewer. Start dipping!

Tip

For a minted chocolate fondue, substitute the orange and cinnamon for 2 stems of fresh mint instead of the orange and cinnamon.

clairejustine

You could try this Macaroons recipe to make a pretty gift for your Valentine.

macaroons

These pretty patisseries are very fashionable at the moment but can be very expensive to buy, so why not make your own and give as a gift in a recycled box lined with non-stick baking paper and a lacy paper doily tied with ribbon.

Makes 20

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Standing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20-22 minutes

Macaroons
◾175g (6 oz) icing sugar
◾125g (41/2 oz) ground almonds
◾3 large egg whites
◾75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
◾Little violet or pink food colouring

To finish
◾75g (3oz) blackberries or strawberries
◾100g (4oz) butter at room temperature
◾150g (5oz) icing sugar
1.Preheat the oven to 140oC/275oF/Gas Mark 1. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
2.Grind the icing sugar and ground almonds to a fine powder in a food processor or liquidiser then press through a sieve.
3.Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form moist peaks then gradually whisk the caster sugar in a little at a time. Whisk for 2 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy, then whisk in a few drops of violet or pink food colouring.
4.Spoon half the icing sugar and ground almonds into the bowl then gently fold together. Add the remaining mixture and continue folding in until just mixed. Don’t over-fold or the mixture will go very runny and be difficult to pipe.
5.Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tube and pipe 2.5cm (1 inch) rounds on the paper lined trays. Give each baking sheet a sharp tap to ensure a good ‘foot’. You should make about 40. Leave to stand for 20 minutes for the macaroons to dry out.
6.Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the macaroons may be lifted easily off the paper. Leave to cool.
7.For the filling, puree the berries until smooth then press through a sieve. Beat the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor until smooth then gradually beat in 2 tbsp of the fruit puree. Use to sandwich the macaroons together in pairs. Arrange on a serving plate or in a pretty box.

Tips:
◾Once sandwiched together the macaroons are best eaten within 24 hours. Plain macaroons can be kept for 2-3 days in a cool dry place covered with extra non-stick baking paper and the filling in a covered container in the fridge.
◾You might also like to flavour the macaroons with ½ tsp of raspberry, lemon or peppermint extract when adding the colouring to the meringue.

Discover more fruity recipes using Seasonal Berries.

Will you be trying this macaroons recipe?

Cuddle Fairy
Winnettes
Winnettes