Having spent the last few weeks of this summer break at our family beach house and our childhood home in Raglan, I have recently been thinking back to some of the flavours that I enjoyed so much as a child. Both my Mother & Grandmother would toast spices and create wonderfully aromatic Indian and South East Asian dishes. For those that know Raglan, you will note that during the 80’s and early 90’s, coming across these amazing but unusual scents was quite foreign to most people who lived in the sleepy New Zealand beachside town, so it wasn’t hard to tell which house the Malaysian Indians lived in. We were, in fact, the ONLY Indians of any sort in town for the duration of my entire childhood. Ironically, yet wonderfully, Raglan is now a vibrant melting pot of cultures and displays an extremely healthy and diverse range of ethnicities.
With these memories in mind, I have been experimenting with a few of my favourite spices. Cardamom is one that stands out, with it’s bold and punchy aroma, there is certainly nothing subtle about this spice. These small little pods, native to India are perfect for adding layers of flavour, but be careful not to overdo it – too much can ruin any dish by giving it a strong menthol-like taste that will linger much longer than desired. I have found that it works very well with fruits that are tart or sour as opposed to sweet. Apples, grapes, and even pears are the perfect accompaniment. Other things to be aware of, are that plainer more discreet flavoured fruits and vegetables will not do so well with this spice, they are just not strong enough to stand the cardamom punch, so avoid using it with your cauliflower or cabbage. It is wonderful accompanied with other spices for any meat based curries, so don’t be too afraid to give it a go.
These past few weeks enjoying family time in the sun, have been a little bitter sweet. My daughters’ Daddy and my wonderful Significant Other left the country on Sunday for a long overseas stint with work. It was a hard day, for us all, but we decided to send him off in style with a fabulous family feast for breakfast. Enjoying the memories of these spices, I couldn’t help but put the fond childhood flavour of cardamom to the test, and created this Cardamom Apricot Chia Pudding to feature as part of our last family breakfast together for the next few months.
The tartness of the apricot married with the strong zest of the cardamom creates such a delightful flavour. A simple coconut and vanilla based chia pudding is the perfect accompaniment to showcase this stellar spice. This recipe also makes for a great Kitchen Playdate. The kids loved helping me layer the pudding into the glasses and preparing the chia pudding the night before. When you are ready to enjoy it, this recipe works well as a breakfast pudding or for those moments you simply need to indulge. But don’t feel too guilty, it is packed with the goodness of chia and is conveniently dairy free (thanks to the wonder that is Raglan Coconut Yoghurt), gluten free and refined sugar free. Here is the must try recipe for any spice enthusiasts out there. Enjoy!
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 Tbsp organic maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp organic coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp slivered blanched almonds
- 2 thinly sliced pieces of fresh ginger root
- 4 cardamom pods (give them a little squish with something heavy to release the aroma)
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 3 Tbsp black chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 Tbsp organic maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- Coconut Yoghurt
- 1 tsp slivered almonds or
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds or
- Fresh mint leaves
- In a saucepan, soak apricots in 2 cups of water for 3 hours. They will plump and swell.
- Once the apricots have swollen, add the coconut sugar, maple, almonds, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon and slowly bring the mixture to a boil until the coconut sugar dissolves.
- Once sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat to a steady simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to a syrup.
- Transfer to a bowl/container and refrigerate.
- Combine the chia seeds, coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla in an airtight container.
- Be sure to mix the seeds thoroughly to avoid any lumps.
- Place in the fridge for 3 hours, or overnight if you wish to prep the night before.
- Put the puddings together by adding the coconut chia mixture to a small glass or pudding jar first.
- Add the coconut yoghurt as a layer if you wish, followed by the cardamom apricot syrup for the topping. Add the garnish of your choice.
- The beauty of a chia pudding is that you can add any layers you like. Be creative with the flavours. I chose Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, but a granola or mixed seeds/nuts mixture would also work well as an additional layer with these flavours.