Why you need to start making your own Strawberry Chia Jam at home

If you haven’t tried making your own jams before than you need to start. It is easier than you think, much more flavoursome and this recipe contains no added refined sugar so making it much better for you.

I’m an advocate of sugar free foods that is added refined sugars and only like to use natural sweeteners in small amounts where necessary. When making this strawberry chia jam I just let the juicy overripe strawberries be the star of the show. Adding some pure honey as a natural sweetener, though the real sweetness evolves when the strawberries are gently boiled and start to break down and soften.

Like most homemade products the quality starts from the produce. Look out for some good quality, ripe strawberries from your local fruit shop or farmers market usually on sale or quick sell stand are ideal. Adding chia seeds means you don’t need pectin which is the thickening agent used in most jams. Chia seeds absorb liquid when left to set and the added bonus is they are little balls of goodness. Chia seeds are full of protein, minerals and fibre they can be found in the health food isle in the supermarket or health food store.

Make sure to have sterilised jars handy to fill, let the jam set in the fridge until cool for a few hours at least and you will have juicy flavoursome fruit jam ready for your morning toast, afternoon scones or children’s sandwiches.

Homemade Strawberry Chia Jam

  • Servings: makes 2 large jars
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Recipe from Donna Hay


800g ripe strawberries, hulled and halved

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup maple syrup, honey or rice malt syrup

2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped

1 tablespoon white chia seeds


  1. Place the strawberries, lemon juice, water, maple syrup and vanilla beans and seeds in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Cook for 15mins, stirring occasionally until strawberries are soft.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Transfer to sterilised Jars and refrigerate until cool.

Real Homemade Custard


I’m sharing a homemade recipe for my ‘Real’ custard. Carton or powdered custard while they are convenient if you don’t know how to make it yourself though they are generally filled with an excessive amount of refined sugar. If you are like me and try and eliminate processed sugar as much as possible then here is an alternative recipe using either unrefined coconut sugar or even better raw honey or rice malt syrup. If you still like the taste of sugar then use the coconut sugar. Enjoy it with Apple & Rhubarb Galette, sweet pies, crumbles or on it’s own.

Continue reading “Real Homemade Custard”

Homemade Basil Pesto 

Do you like to grow your own herbs?

It does feel like it takes a while to kick off after being planted. The anticipation gets overwhelming you water, then wait, check the progress everyday you watch the tedious amounts the plant is producing and ask yourself is it all worth the bother. Then all of a sudden it’s out of control with more herbs than you can possibly use in a salad or cooking. Sound familiar?

Continue reading “Homemade Basil Pesto “

Turmeric Garlic Aioli


I’d like to share my recipe for Turmeric Garlic Aioli. It is certainly a great accompaniment to many dishes but my favourite would have to be Turmeric Spiced Polenta Eggplant Chips . You can use also with fish, chicken or steak or baked sweet potato. Wonderful golden in colour and with the added benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric Garlic Aioli


1 clove garlic

1 egg yolk

1tsp turmeric powder

juice 1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

150ml olive oil


In a blender or vitamix place garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and pepper and blend on low to medium speed. Gradually add olive oil slowly while motor is still running until emulsified to make a thick mayonnaise like consistency.

Serve with some of my favourites  Turmeric Spiced Polenta Eggplant Chips or Sweet Potato Chips


Sicilian Blood Orange & Fennel Salad

What to do with a kilo of blood oranges?

Like always my mind is thinking of a million things at once, who’s picking up son 1 from basketball training? Son 3 birthday party in a few weeks, son 2 preschool excursion coming up oh did I send back the permission slip, school packs for next year are due, bugger I haven’t washed the dog and the ironing can wait till tomorrow or next week… eek and of course thinking what’s for dinner. All whilst hearing the three most repeated words in my household nagging at me every half an hour, “Mum I’m hungry”… Typical day in the life of a mum I’m sure many can relate.


So when I rush to order my online groceries and mistakenly 1kg of blood oranges arrive at my doorstep instead of  just 1 it’s time to think outside the box on what to create with these beauties and one dish comes straight to mind.

In season here now in Australia Blood Oranges are readily available, you can eat them just as is in a fruit salad or in your breakfast bowl (which is what I originally planned to do)  as they contain more antioxidants than ordinary oranges and excellent source of vitamin C. But with a kilo of them might be a lengthy task. Blood oranges do taste a little sweeter than oranges but with a touch of bitterness which can make them be a little tart for juicing and may have to mix with some other sweet fruits such as green apples or pineapple.


Crimson in colour almost blood like hence the name makes salads pop with colour and makes a talking point for entertaining. Also popular uses are for making marmalade, gelato and sorbet but my husbands favourite which is a Sicilian dish which I couldn’t deny him of is a fresh salad of  blood orange segments, pieces of fennel, fresh mint, torn pieces of  creamy buffalo mozzarella, pistachios for crunch and dressed with an olive oil and blood orange vinaigrette.

The Aniseed flavour of the fennel and the bitter sweet oranges are made to be together with few ingredients and little time to put together you have a very captivating dish others will surely swoon over. Perfect paired with a fillet of fresh grilled fish and a glass of wine. A very healthy and delicious dinner indeed.

Sicilian Blood Orange & Fennel Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 2-4
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A Bitter Sweet Sicilian Salad perfectly accompaniment with grilled fish or chicken


1 bulb fennel top cut off and sliced

2 blood oranges -1 sliced, 1 peeled and segmented

1/4 red onion thinly sliced

1 large buffalo mozzarella roughly torn into pieces

1/4 cup marinated olives

1/4 cup pistachios roughly chopped

Handful mint leaves torn

Blood Orange Vinaigrette 

1  blood orange juiced

30 ml olive oil

1 tb red wine vinegar

1 garlic crushed

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt and pepper


  1. Place fennel, blood orange pieces in a bowl, add red onion, buffalo mozzarella and olives. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and top with torn mint leaves.
  2. In a jar add all vinaigrette ingredients and shake well. Serve with salad.