I recently did an interview with Paula Goodyer from the SMH about seeds.
She has a great column called ‘Chew On This’, a blog to support it and clearly has a very keen interest in food, nutrition and cooking.
She rightfully expressed that you hear so much about the nutritional benefits of nuts, however seeds which are almost identical nutritionally don’t get much of a look in. Part of the reason for this is that there isn’t much research into the use of seeds like there is with nuts. So any time you read how healthy nuts are for you, you can confidently include seeds along with them.
I regularly include seeds in my intake. How? Well I….
- include them in my muesli at breakfast, or sprinkle them on my porridge
- bake with them (bread, biscuits, cakes, slices, pancakes etc) either whole or ground
- add them to yoghurt as a snack
- throw them into salads
- use them as an egg substitute (as demonstrated in the recipe below, and also in my jam filled muffins)
- include them in trail mix as a snack
…the list really is endless as to what you can do with them!
I thought it would be fun to try a new recipe that included lots of different seeds. After a quick google search I found a Pear, Cinnamon and Seed Loaf which sounded really good. With a few tweaks (I can’t seem to leave a recipe as is!) I adapted it to this, which I call my Seedy Pear Cake. It is a moist cake with a lovely crunch from the seeds and tastes delicious….
Seedy Pear Cake
Makes 12 generous serves
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 6 tablespoons of warm water
- 1 cup oats (or oat flour)
- 3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 cup poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup apple puree or apple sauce
- 1/4 cup macadamia oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 cups diced fresh ripe pears
- Pre heat your oven to 165 degrees C and line an 8 inch square cake tin with baking paper.
- Start by combining the chia seeds with warm water and set aside to soak for around 5 minutes.
- If using whole oats, place the oats in a food processor and blend to a rough flour. Place the oat flour in a large bowl. Sift together flour and baking powder into the bowl; then add the poppy, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well.
- Add the apple puree, oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup to the chia seed mixture. Stir well, then add to the dry ingredients along with the chopped pear and mix until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
- Place in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 minutes then invert out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Store in an air tight container, preferably in the fridge for 3 days. To store longer, cut into individual portions, wrap well and freeze.
Per Serve (using 2 tablespoons of maple syrup): 753kJ or 179 calories; P 4g Fat 10g SFat 1.5g CHO 16g Fibre 5g
Nutritional merits of seeds:
Poppy Seeds – are a source of calcium which has many important roles in the body including growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth as well as healthy nerve and muscle function.
Sunflower Seeds – a good source of omega-6 fats – an essential fatty acid that we need to consume from food as our bodies cannot make it. Omega-6’s are best in the whole plant form (such as seeds) as they come with other nutrients which protect them from oxidising, which can happen to the extracted form in oil. It is also difficult to over-consume omega-6 fats if you eat them as a whole food.
Pumpkin Seeds – a good source of zinc, an important mineral required for growth and development, reproduction, night vision, appetite, taste sensation (I have discovered low zinc levels in many of my clients who report that food doesn’t taste like it used to, or that it all tastes the same!), a strong immune system, healthy skin and wound healing.
Chia Seeds – used in this cake as an egg replacer, which is why you add water and allow them to sit and ‘gelatinise’, are a valuable source of the omega-3 fat alpha linolenic acid or ALA, which are another essential fatty acid. ALA, although not as well studies as its counterparts, DHA and EPA (found in fish) is an important omega-3 fat with its own nutritional benefits which are only now being studied and recognized. ALA, a shorter chain fatty acid is converted into the longer chain fatty acids DHA and EPA in our bodies.