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25 May 2015

French Toast & Strawberry Chia Jam

Yield: 6-8 slices toast, 1.5 cups jam
Time: 15-20 mins

French Toast & Strawberry Chia Jam
Living a vegan lifestyle you soon discover that you don't have to give up any of your favourite foods, there is a way of veganising almost every vegetarian food relatively easily. e.g. when it comes to replacing egg as a binder chia seeds are the answer; little seeds of goodness that gel up in liquid meaning that they can not only be ground to use as a binder to make french toast but also used whole to replace pectin in jam, for a much easier and quicker home made strawberry jam.  This vegan french toast tastes exactly like regular french toast and has the same texture too, paired with the deliciously fresh strawberry jam made from British strawberries, perfect served up as brunch. 
Strawberry Chia Jam
Apologizes for my lack of posts this past week, I have my exams coming up for my first year at uni, my first one being this Thursday, so I haven't had as much time to cook or blog lately. I honestly can't believe how fast this past 8 months have gone or that I'm almost done with my first year, which has been one of the most challenging but also greatest years of my life so far. Living on my own for the first time has not only allowed me to discover who I am but also it has allowed my cooking develop more as I have greater control in what I buy and can experiment more in the kitchen. I've learned so much about the foods we eat and how the nutrients directly impact our bodies so I will try to include more of the nutritional aspects of foods in my posts too (don't worry, I'll keep it pretty simple). 
Chia Seeds
I used strawberries to make this jam and therefore only used 1 tbsp of maple syrup to sweeten as they're naturally pretty sweet, but if using any other fruits that are quite tart like raspberries or blackberries then I would recommend using up to 1/4 cup. Depending on the water content of your strawberries and the amount of sweetener you add, you may need to slightly adjust the amount of chia seeds added, but remember it will thicken slightly once cooled. Chia seeds are the perfect addition to the strawberries in this jam and contribute a nutritional benefit too; these seeds are high in essential omega 3 fatty acids and also contain omega 6's, the body cannot synthesise essential nutrients from other sources and therefore they must be consumed as they are necessary for cell functioning. They are also sources of calcium, fibre and manganese. To grind the chia seeds use a pestle and mortar, coffee grinder or the milling blade from a nutribullet.

You'll need:

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Saucepan
  • Spatula/wooden spoon
  • Masher/fork
  • Frying pan (non-stick)
  • Cup measures
  • Bowl (to dip the bread in)

Ingredients:

French Toast:
  • 6-8 slices crusty wholemeal bread 
  • 3 tsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Oil/spread for cooking
Strawberry Jam:
  • 400g Strawberries 
  • 2.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Method:
  1. Remove the stalks from the strawberries and cut lengthways, add to a saucepan along with the maple syrup and vanilla extract and heat gently for 10 minutes, stirring every few mins. After 10 minutes, mash the strawberrries if needed, then add the chia seeds, stir in and leave to thicken. 
  2. In a bowl mix together the ground chia seeds along with the milk, vanilla and cinnamon and leave to thicken for a few minutes. Then add a splash of oil to a pan and put it on a medium-low heat, dip both sides of the bread in the mixture and fry for a few minutes on each side until slightly golden (this will take longer than french toast made with eggs). 
  3. Repeat until all the french toast has been cooked, serve up with your freshly made strawberry jam and enjoy! Cassidy xx
French Toast & Strawberry Chia Jam