Scotland might not be renowned across the globe for its lovely hot summers but it is inextricably linked (in many British minds) to a fruit that seems to epitomise summer; the raspberry. Nothing says British summer to me more than a bowl full of raspberries and strawberries and this week they’re back. So despite whatever else is going on outside at least we know for sure. Summer’s here.
It is often said that the not-so-exotic raspberry is one of the world’s healthiest foods and that’s not without reason. Full of phytonutrients (anthocyanins, flavanols and flavanols to name but a few) raspberries have a particularly strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory action really helping to reduce the risk of diseases such as certain cancers, artherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Two of these compounds (ketone or rheosmin and tiliroside) have also been linked recently with weight management as studies show that they can increase metabolism, help decrease the activity of the fat digesting hormone lipase and help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. And of course have the added benefit of tasting like little sweets.
The Scottish have loads of different recipes for raspberries but one of the best, and simplest has to be cranachan or crowdie cream. Traditionally it is served all in separate bowls and everyone dives it to make their own and uses skimmed cottage cheese as well as double cream and whiskey. A combination no one should argue with but delicious as it is, was not one I could really use as I had an idea of adapting cranachan for a healthy weekday breakfast. I like a drink as much as the next man, but whiskey for breakfast would possibly be starting the day off on the wrong footing. So I switched the whiskey for vanilla extract and coconut milk for the double cream. The chia seeds more than compensate for the thick double cream and the vanilla extract adds the extra dimension usually provided by the whiskey. Of course if you miss it that much, this way you get to have it on the side later.
Healthy Cranachan Recipe
1 handful porridge oats per person
3 tbsps chia seeds
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsps good quality honey
A scattering of cocoa nibs (optional)
Start by stirring the honey and vanilla extract through the coconut milk. Mash 225g of the raspberries roughly with a fork and mix them and the chia seeds into the milk well and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours or longer if you have time.
Put the oats in a clean, dry pan and lightly toast for around 15 minutes to give the finished result a lovely nutty flavour. Give the pan a shake every so often and make sure they don’t catch. Remember; you’re going for a nice nutty roasted flavour not charcoal.
When the oats are lightly browned, remove them from the heat andI’ve to cool. Then you’re ready to start putting it all together.
Start with the raspberry chia mix in first, then top off with the toasted porridge oats. Either artistically arrange the extra raspberries or just chuck them in if its only for you. Top off with a sprinkling of cocoa nibs if you fancy a real treat. Summer in a glass. Enjoy!