Tag Archives: buckwheat

Cooking grains successfully every time..

 I regularly eat bowls of grains topped and mixed with various vegetables, seeds, cheeses and/or dips and sauces. Grains replace rice or pasta for me. These provide my lunches and dinners and even sometimes, my breakfast 🙂 

My favourite grain is quinoa, I like the flavour and it provides a source of protein in my vegetarian diet, but I also like to try different grains for their flavour and nutrients. 

In these dishes, I want my grains to be perfectly cooked, which is what this post is dedicated to…read on…

 I’ve talked about this before in my post about not cooking quinoa as it says on the pack – and I really really mean it: my experience has been that if you go by the packet instructions and cook quinoa in all that water for all that time it has only ever produced mushy, often bitter tasting, quinoa for me. 

I want perfectly cooked quinoa grains that are not stuck together and that have that slightly nutty flavour that they’re meant to and this method works for me every time…

Ingredients 

1 full cup of dried quinoa

1 full cup of cool water

NOTE: my ‘cup’ is a small mug, it doesn’t have to be a measuring cup; basically, it’s equal volumes of grains and water. Whatever you use to measure out the grains, use the same for the water. My mug full of grains makes enough cooked quinoa to last several meals. 

Method

Put the quinoa and water into a pan and heat on your hob/stove.

Bring the water to the boil and turn the heat down to simmer so that you keep the water bubbling.

Boil/simmer for 6 minutes ONLY.

(Don’t worry if it looks like it’s boiling dry, just give it a stir, it will be fine) 

After 6 minutes, turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan. The steam inside the pan will do the rest of the cooking.

Leave it to sit for 15-20 minutes then remove the lid and fork the quinoa to separate the grains.

Eat warm or place in a  bowl to allow to cool for cold recipes.

Keep it covered in the fridge for up to a week. 

And that’s it! 

It works every time for me with standard white quinoa. It has also worked with red quinoa, but I haven’t tried black quinoa, I think it tends to need further cooking. 

I’ve now gone on to experiment with other grains. With standard cooking instructions I found that buckwheat groats (above) are easy to overcook and turn to a sticky mush. With my method, it came out so much better; again, nice separate grains and a great favour.

Again: 1 cup of buckwheat groats + 1 cup of water and method as above.

And then to freekeh. 

Freekeh is a very young green wheat which has been eaten for centuries in the Middle East but is now finding fame in western countries. It’s a really tasty grain, but unlike the quinoa and buckwheat above, this is not a gluten free grain. For me, I find it is still gentle on my stomach though.

For freekeh, the ‘method’ still works it just benefits from a little bit more water:

1 full cup of uncooked freekeh

1 & 1/4 cup of cool water

Follow the method as above but leave the lid on for more like half an hour after simmering. 

Then fork up your freekeh and eat it in any way you fancy 🙂 

Enjoy! 

I have numerous examples of my bowls of grains on my Instagram feed if you’d like some ideas, as well as many and various ideas here on the blog. 

I will be continuing my experiments with rice and other grains very soon…x


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Spiced spinach, buckwheat & cheese baked flatbreads/pancakes/pizza bases…

Welcome to Friday!!! Or…depending where you are, I hope you’ve had a good Friday and a good week? Let me share with you a recent creation from my kitchen..colour, goodness and flavour all in one go..

Basically, these concoctions could be used for so many things, hence the title…what they truly are, are tasty, healthy rounds of goodness that you could eat on their own or as a base for something else..

It all began with some leftover cooked buckwheat groats, a bag of spinach and some cheese…
Ingredients 

250g baby spinach

1 cup (when uncooked) buckwheat, cooked

80g mature cheddar 

Harissa spice mix – I just threw it in but probably around 2 heaped tablespoons would do – and if you don’t have this spice mix, throw in any spices that you like 

Method

Blend it all together in a food processor then place in a bowl to use immediately or refrigerate for later

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) 

Press several spoonfuls of the mixture onto silicone paper sprayed with olive oil until about 2mm thick

Bake for 15-25 mins until you start to see the edges dry out

  
  Above shows before cooking..

Below shows after cooking..
  They should happily slide off the paper or you should be able to turn out onto a plate in one piece 

I spread various dips and sauces over mine and ate them like pizzas..

But they would be good with just melted cheese, or a tomato sauce and cheese, or so many other things, or just eaten on their own..

  

  
I was so pleased with these and I had made enough of the ‘dough’ to enjoy them for a few days 🙂 sometimes, leftovers make the best meals!! Plus, the flavours developed further over a few days so maybe these are best made ahead anyway? 

I am bringing these babies to this week’s Fiesta Friday, I missed last week’s, so look forward to seeing everyone this week 🙂 

Lunch? My healthy midday boost..

I like to know that every meal I eat is providing me with great nutrition; 

I want every plate I meet to be full of goodness, and health boosting food; 

I want it to provide energy, and nutrients that make my body and mind sing. 

That’s how I view my food. 

With everything I eat I want to be aiding my health and happiness, whilst enjoying wonderfully tasty fresh food, and this dish definitely fulfilled that requirement..

  
How’s this for a lunch to help you sail through the afternoon with energy? A feel good factor on a plate, in looks as well as goodness, backed up by great ingredients and fresh produce…

 

This lunch bowl contains chunks of courgette/zucchini pan cooked in spray olive oil, buckwheat groats, crumbled melting goats cheese and dukkah stirred through to add crunch and flavour..

  

In my world, this equals a big fat healthy YUM!!!! 

Aubergine, spinach and buckwheat dip on ribbons of carrot & courgette..

   
I’ve been playing around with some new grains recently, including buckwheat. The first time I cooked it I decided to use my little pressure cooker and sadly I managed to completely overcook it! It still had all the flavour but it was more of a stodgy solid that lovely separated nutty grains…all is not lost though, I just found ways to use it up, like this, in a dip…

 
…that’s not to say it has to be overcooked for this recipe, perfectly cooked buckwheat groats will work too 😉

This dip was a result of using things up and chucking things together and came out very nicely indeed. 

Ingredients 

2 aubergines, roasted whole, cooled, peeled

50g baby spinach

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tbsp tahini

100g cooked buckwheat groats (follow instructions on the packet)

2 tsp roasted cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 clove garlic

Method

Bend it all up together! 

I ate it some ribbons of raw courgette and carrot, chopped black garlic, sprinkles of hemp seeds and pink peppercorns.