There is something intensely passionate about a pomegranate. A rich ruby hue, a sweet sour palate, the vibrant burst of the long contained juice. The smooth skin that makes way for a hidden heart full of jewels. A precious gift.
I have always loved pomegranates. Part nostalgia, part flavour profile. They take me to times spent around an early 80’s breakfast bar devouring the (then rare) gem with my mum, her favourite. A fight to the last jewel, ruby red staining the brown specked laminate and the stories of her love for the jewels of ruby and bursting vibrance in a land of drizzle and grey. In all honesty there were probably only 4 occasions when this happened with the pomegranates rarity, but the senses are keen and memory has no linear path and so it is repeated and stuck and feels more real with a bigger impact than brushing your teeth or the monotonous. Today in the ever growing global market place, a place where the world seems to have shrunk and pomegranates no matter how exotic are readily available in even the smallest grocers I am lucky to be able relive and repeat this moment.
I am so very aware of the surreal nostalgic ability that food has on the mind and it’s ability to recall a moment from the past with the single drop of liquid, the distinct aroma of the minute crumb. It is one of the reasons I love creating food so much. I hope not only to create those life long total recalls for my family but for everyone. Imagine filling your life with moments of happiness, bliss. Moments of comfort and safety that can be tapped into by the drop of an essence. A personalised rescue remedy for times of uncertainty.
And so pomegranates, one of my life’s true rescue remedies dazzles my salads, slow cooked meat dishes, drinks, but most often my breakfasts.
This particular breakfast has been on high rotation. It is all at once, comforting, filling, nourishing and delicious. I keep large jars of chia pudding ready to be dished out and devoured all that is required is a spoon and if there are guests perhaps a bowl too. Coming to the end of summer here in the southern hemisphere has it’s perks, plums are in abundance. Perfect for roasting in large quantities with complimentary spices or herbs, in this case star anise and vanilla or preserving in a mix of alcohol and sugar syrup to be left for a time when winters depths need (albeit temporarily) lifted with the promise of what is to come with warmer weather, but this is for another post.
To keep to a nourishing, vegan theme, which in our house has always been “cool” primarily due to food allergies and intolerance of various kinds. Cashews make for a delicious cream alternative. And with the help of a blender takes no time at all to make. topped with colourful reminders of the tropics, mangoes work perfectly here, but you could use any toppings or fruit that is on hand or simply leave them off.
Potted in jars and kept in the fridge these become the perfect, no think, grab and go breakfasts. Nutrient dense, refine sugar free, high in protein and omega fatty acids, dairy free, gluten free and vegan. Colourful, vibrant and filling.
Vanilla and Cinnamon Chia Pots with Coconut Cashew Cream, Anise Roasted Plums, Mango and Pomegranate
Serves 6 Prep time 15 mins Chill time 4 hrs
Vanilla and Cinnamon Chia
1 cup chia seeds (I used black)
1 400g can Coconut cream
8ooml (or 2 coconut cans worth) filtered water
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
Coconut cashew Cream
1 can coconut cream
water (if needed)
maple syrup (to taste)
Roasted Anise Plums
plums halved and stoned
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 star anise broken
to serve (optional)
Raw buckwheat groats
baby mint leaves
1 ripe mango cut into 1cm cubes
Preheat oven to 180C
In a large bowl add the chia and the coconut cream and stir to break up any lumps.
Add the water stirring after each addition.
Leave to soak for at least 4 hours, preferable overnight.
Meanwhile place the stoned plums into an oven proof dish in a single layer.
Drizzle over the maple syrup, add water to just cover the plums and scatter with the broken bits of anise.
Place into the preheated oven for roughly an hour, or until the liquid has reduced by 2/3 spooning the liquid over the plums once or twice through the cooking.
When cooked and reduced, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Once chia has soaked the liquid and is a thick porridge consistency flavour with vanilla, cinnamon and maple to taste.
To make the cashew cream combine the cashews, coconut cream in a high speed blender and whiz on high until you have a creamy smooth consistency about the same as thickened cream. If it is too thick add some water 1tsp at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Flavour with the maple syrup to taste.
The serve add the chilled chia into a pot or bowl, top with the cashew cream, add the plums and some of the plum cooking juices, top with buckwheat, Pepita, coconut flakes, pomegranate, mangoes and baby mint. Either serve straight away or store in the fridge covered for up to 4 days.
Any colour chia will work here. I had black so I used black.
If you have an aversion to cinnamon please substitute with any other spice. Cardamon would be amazing here. Or just leave it out altogether.
Any type of sugar syrup would work here be that agave, rice malt or coconut.
Cashews could be replaced with other “creamy nuts” macadamias or almonds for example.