One of the requirements for our final practical assessment last year was to create breakfast for a busy morning. I am not a morning person, and I struggle with breakfast at the best of times. So give me a morning where I have to get out the door in a hurry and I am in trouble. This assessment would have presented a challenge for me if not for my Pinterest addiction. I knew it would come in handy at some point.
The idea of assembling breakfast in a jar is a good one. If the right recipe is selected, breakfast can be assembled the night before, ready for quick eating in the morning. If time is not on your side for breakfast at home, the whole jar can be taken with you to eat when you have a chance. The jar is a perfect vessel for those of us trying to limit plastics in our lives.
This breakfast dish has a layer of agar jelly set in the bottom of the jar, which is then overlaid by a chia pudding. Agar, also known as agar agar, is a gelling agent derived from seaweed. It is nutrient rich, high in fibre and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans as a gelatine replacement in some foods. Agar sets at room temperature, and can be reboiled or reheated without losing its setting properties. However it does give a more solid set than gelatine.
Agar is commonly available in flake and powder form, although the powder form is more user friendly. For a good, but not solid, set stir 1/2 teaspoon of agar powder into 1 cup of your chosen liquid, bring to the boil then continue to stir for 5 – 8 minutes until the powder is dissolved. Agar sets up very quickly once cool, so pour it into the desired serving vessel as soon as possible.
Whilst agar forms a good set in most liquids, there are a few exceptions. Agar will not set in distilled water or vinegars, nor will it form a set in foods containing high amounts of oxalic acid such as chocolate, rhubarb or spinach. In highly acidic juices, such as lemon, lime or pineapple juice you will need to double the amount of agar used i.e. 1 teaspoon per cup of liquid.
When strawberries are abundant I chop them finely and place them in the bottom of the jar before pouring in the jelly. You could use any fruits or berries you like in this manner. I am just partial to strawberries. The chia pudding uses the almond milk I taught you how to make last week. Chia seeds are high in fibre, protein, minerals and Omega-3. In essence all the good things. The pudding is lightly sweetened with dates, and spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg. You could substitute any spice that took your fancy.
This breakfast is readily assembled the night before, and just needs a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of nuts to finish it off in the morning. Even I can do that.
Breakfast in A Jar: Chia Pudding with Apple Guava Jelly (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Add chopped fruit to the jelly if that is your thing.
Change the spices to suit your tastes and add a splash of vanilla if you wish. The flavourings are highly adaptable.
This recipe is sufficient for 2 x 1-pint Mason Jars. And if breakfast is not your thing, this also makes a really good dessert.
- 3/4 teaspoon kudzu
- 1 cup juice plus 1 Tablespoon extra
- 1/2 teaspoon agar powder
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 3 dates stones removed
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 3 - 4 Tablespoons chia
- Yoghurt and chopped nuts to serve.
- Put the kudzu in a small bowl and add the 1 Tablespoon of juice.
- Stir to combine and set aside.
- Put the 1 cup of juice into a small saucepan, sprinkle over the agar powder and whisk to combine.
- Place the saucepan over a medium - high heat and, whisking frequently, bring the juice to the boil.
- Continue to cook for 5 - 8 minutes, continuing to whisk frequently, until the agar is dissolved.
- Remove the juice from the heat, stir in the kudzu mixture, and return the pot to the heat.
- Whilst stirring, bring the juice back to the boil to cook out the starch. Once it reaches the boil, remove it from the heat.
- Allow to cool slightly, then pour into the jars.
- Place the jelly into the fridge to set.
- Place the almond milk, dates, coconut oil, spices and salt in a blender or food processor.
- Blitz until combined.
- Pour the almond mixture into bowl or jug, and stir in the chia seeds.
- Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow it to thicken.
- When the mixture has thickened, and the jelly has set, pour the chia pudding over the jelly and return to the fridge.
- Serve with yoghurt and chopped nuts on the top.
Kudzu is a type of starch that is used here to give a smoother mouth feel to the jelly. If you don't have any, leave it out. The recipe works fine without it.
I have given a range for the amount of chia seeds to use. The more chia added to the pudding, the thicker it will be. If you have not used chia before I would recommend you begin with the lower amount then increase it if you feel that you would like your pudding thicker. Be aware that chia thickens on standing, and will continue to thicken overnight.