Last summer this was by far my favourite breakfast. And as temperatures are improving, it’s back on the reperoire. It’s really simple to make (always a plus) and you can add what ever kind of berries you like or have to hand. It’s also makes nice gluten free breakfast option, if you feel you need a break from smoothies or perhaps your usual egg based breakfasts.
It was this post from the amazingly talented Sarah B which got me truly hooked on this raw summer breakfast last year. Until then I had tried some another variations, but wasn’t all that fussed. Let’s say it just didn’t rival my standard bowl of porridge or my love of muesli…
What truly makes the difference here is the the banana. Not only for taste, but truly for texture! Buckwheat has a strong flavour and it also tends to have a very gritty texture if blended on its own. Adding the banana truly was the game changer!
So what’s the deal with these tiny little tetra grains? What’s to gain by introducing buckwheat into you life?
Despite its very confusing name, it is actually a seed and not related to the cereal grain wheat at all. This is what it looks like as a flower. The grains you see above are the seeds from the flower. Buckwheat is a native plant to Central Asia. Though its use is becoming more common in these parts of the world, you will find it used in traditional dishes in countries such as Russia and Poland. And the flour is used to make in crêpes in France and to make soba noodles in Japan. (Note here: if you want to use soba noodles and need them to be truly gluten free, read the labels carefully of any brand you buy as some of them also have wheat flour added)
The seed itself is high in the phytonutrient flavonoid compounds quercetin and rutin which are two powerful antioxidants which has been shown in some studies to have a positive effect on relieving the symptoms of hayfever and asthma.
Turns out buckwheat is also a very good source of magnesium which is an important mineral for cell energy production and often an electrolyte which can be deficient through sweating (hello hot summer weather!). Muscle cramps are a fairly reliable symptom of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is also an important mineral to protect our heart (which is a large muscle). Stress and high refined sugar intake can easily deplete our stores, so it’s important to make sure you get enough of it through your diet. Other great sources of magnesium is kelp (seaweed) almonds, cashews and leafy greens like parsley.
Adding more wholefoods to your overall diet can only mean overall improvements to your health and wellbeing. It’s all to easy to get stuck in a food rut so by increasing the variety of food you eat mean that not only do you have a greater chance of getting all your nutritional needs covered through your diet, it also gives you an opportunity to become more creative with your cooking (and eating) which in turn it may even help you become more expansive in your thinking! And who knows where all that creativity and expansion may lead?!
Variety truly is the spice of life!
Raw Buckwheat Porridge
1 cup raw buckwheat groats, soaked overnight
1 ripe banana, fresh or frozen
3 tbsp full fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp ground cardamom – optional, but really nice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract – optional
Fresh berries of choice – I used blueberries and cherries here but strawberries, raspberries or any type of currants would be delicious too.
A sprinkle of bee pollen or cocoa nibs or hemp seeds for an added super boost – optional
Soak the buckwheat groats in water overnight with a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This will make them nice and soft for blending and starting the sprouting process, making the easier to digest. Drain your soaking water and then rinse of the goey stuff (which is completely normal) well before your place the groats in your blender together with the banana, coconut milk and spices.
Blend for about 30s until you have a lovely creamy “porridge”. Serve immediately in bowls with your choice of toppings.
Note: If you want a really cold porridge use a sliced, frozen banana. I normally have mine at room temperature with a fresh one though. But either way, the banana will make a huge difference to the consistency so I wouldn’t leave it out.
As I write this, the rain is smattering against the window… Right now it doesn’t exactly feel like summer. But then yesterday it was hot and sunny. I suppose considering it’s already the end of June, things could be better, but they could also be a lot worse. Living in Ireland, one thing for sure is, you don’t take sunshine for granted! Luckily this life giving rain has my little garden patch overflowing with green goodness. No watering required.
A lot of people start their new healthy eating regimen in January, when it’s wet and cold and generally miserable. I don’t know about you but eating salads and cold food in general when the weather is cold and damp just doesn’t do it for me. When it’s cold I crave warm food, though as soon as it gets warmer, raw food is back on! It’s so much easier to fill your plate (or bowl) with lots of fresh colourful food this time of the year when it’s bright, warm and (hopefully) sunny. Plus fresh produce is in abundance right now.
So to help you keep this fresh food, rainbow and salad mojo going I’ve decided to share with you some cool summer salad recipes over the coming weeks. What ends up in my bowl (and subsequently here) will depend on what happens to be growing in the garden, what I can find at the market and what ever inspiration I might pick up from my many, many cookbooks. This is the first part of the Summer Salad Series.
When I first tried a hand at growing my own food, only last year, radishes were one of the first things I planted. All the well meaning advice went something like; “they are super easy to grow”, you can’t fail growing radishes” and so on. Well actually, turns out you CAN fail at growing radishes… Well at least if you do what I did and planted them in a small pot in a wild place of the garden where a bunch of rabbits hang out. Probably not one of my most brightest moments. I just had the pleasure of seeing the sprouts, then it quickly turned into a no show. So this year, wise from my learnings of last year’s experience, I built raised beds. And it has proven a worthwhile experience! These radishes shown above are some proudly home-grown ones!
Normally you eat these little pink beauties raw as they are, but after coming a cross a few roasted radish recipes, I decided to test it out myself. Roasting them in the oven for 10-15 min offers a completely different taste experience. Instead of the normally crunchy, peppery flavour you, end up with a soft sweeter flavour, which adds a nice contrast with the lemony quinoa and tart cherries. I also added some Tamari toasted seeds for a little extra saltiness and crunch.
Turns out you can eat the radish tops too, so if you have your own, definitely add them. Actually tops from carrots and beetroots are also edible, though we often tend to throw them out. If you grow your own you can definitely include the tops of those in your salads. The radish tops are a little prickly though so you can either chop them finely or wilt them slightly in a warm lightly greased frying pan. Or quickly steam them.
This salad is actually a warm salads, so perfect on those not-so-sunny days when you are looking for a little cheering up. If you have some cold leftover quinoa from the day before, making this salad is even quicker!
Roasted Radish Salad with Cherries
Serves 2 (double the amount if you are serving more people)
a bunch of fresh radishes (about 10 or so), washed, tops removed and kept aside if fresh enough to use
a large handful of fresh cherries (1o-15), washed, halved and stone removed
2/3 cup of quinoa, rinsed well
1 2/3 cold water
For the dressing:
1 tsp clear raw honey, local preferably
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp water – optional (for thinning out the dressing)
sea salt & black pepper to season
Tamari toasted seeds – Makes 5 portions
5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
5 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp Tamari sauce – wheat free soy sauce
Start by placing the rinsed and drained quinoa in a sauce pan with the water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook with the lid on for 12 min. Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the hot hob with the lid on for a further 10 min. You should then have ended up with a fluffy cooked quinoa and all the water absorbed.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place your seeds in a small bowl. Add the tamari sauce and toss until well combined. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Roast for a about 15 min until the seeds are dry and crunchy but not burned. Give them a toss every 5 min to ensure even roasting.
While you are roasting your seeds, wash and halve the radishes. Place them all on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over the lot and season with sea salt and black pepper. Gently toss the radishes around with your hands to ensure they are evenly coated with the oil. Once your seeds are done, remove them and set aside. Place your radishes in the oven and toast for about 15 min or until soft.
In a small bowl add all the ingredient for the dressing and then once the quinoa has cooled a bit, add the dressing and mix them together.
Assemble your salad in individual serving bowls (or one large one if you are using it as a side dish). Add the quinoa, the roasted radishes, then the de-stones cherries, some finely shredded tops and lastly a scatter of the toasted seeds.