Sprouted buckwheat crepes

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Before we get to the actual crepe recipe, we have to sprout our groats.

sprouted-buckwheat

Sprouting takes a nut or seed that is dormant and brings it to life. You can watch as a food that has been sitting in a bag on a shelf for months begins to grow a little sprout and transforms. One of the easiest foods to sprout is buckwheat. Buckwheat becomes packed with live enzymes and vital nutrients when sprouted.

Sprouted buckwheat is an amazing food because it tastes like a grain but is actually gluten and wheat free and not a grain at all. It is one of the most complete sources of protein on the planet, containing all eight essential amino acids. This makes it perfect for diabetics and those who want to cut down on their sugary carbohydrates and to balance their blood sugar levels. It is also known to lower high blood pressure.

Sprouted buckwheat also cleanses the colon and alkalizes the body. Buckwheat is a wonderful super food for people who have varicose veins or hardening of the arteries. One of the reasons is that it is full of rutin, which is a compound that is known as a powerful capillary wall strengthener. When veins become weak, blood and fluids accumulate and leak into nearby tissues, which may cause varicose veins or hemorrhoids.

This healing food is also rich in lecithin, making it a wonderful cholesterol balancer because lecithin soaks up “bad” cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed. Lecithin neutralizes toxins and purifies the lymphatic system, taking some of the load off of the liver. Sprouted buckwheat is also a brain boosting super food. 28% of the brain is actually made up of lecithin. Research suggests that regularly consuming foods rich in lecithin may actually prevent anxiety, depression, brain fog, mental fatigue and generally make the brain sharper and clearer.

Buckwheat is high in iron so it is a good blood builder.
 It also prevents osteoporosis because of its high boron and calcium levels. Sprouted buckwheat is high in bio-flavonoids and co-enzyme Q10. It contains all of the B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and selenium, as well as many other health giving compounds. 

How to Sprout Buckwheat

Place 1 1/2 Cups of buckwheat groats into a bowl and cover it with 2- 3 times as much room temperature water. Mix the seeds up so that none are floating on the top. Allow the seeds to soak for about an hour. Drain the water in a colander and let them stand, rinsing 3 times per day with cool water for 2 days. You will notice a gooey substance on the buckwheat, which is starch. Make sure that you wash this off thoroughly. Spouts will form after a day or two.

RECIPE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sprouted buckwheat groats

1/2  – 3/4 cup milk, non-dairy if you prefer

1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (agave nectar, coconut nectar, honey, stevia, etc.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 whole egg

1 tsp coconut oil

Method:

Place all of the above ingredients except coconut oil in a high speed blender and blitz until you have a creamy batter.

Melt the coconut oil in a hot pan. Pour a 1/4 of your batter in the pan and swirl it around to create a nice round crepe.

Fry until the batter seems all firm and the edges of your crepe are starting to turn golden brown.

Flip your crepe. Fry until the other side is golden brown.

You probably made enough batter for 4 big crepes.

Now for the yummy filling.

I had a honey-sweetened greek yoghurt, strawberries and a mango. That’s what I used to fill my crepes this morning.

But you can try a savoury filling if you feel like it. Just omit the vanilla and the sweetener from your batter mix.

Add creme cheese or avocado, maybe a cucumber, tomato, radishes. The choice is yours.

Enjoy!

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Spanish style mussels in tomato sauce

  
INGREDIENTS:

1 link chorizo sausage or cacciatore sausage, diced 
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter 
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 bullhorn pepper, red, diced

1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. crushed chilli pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 large garlic cloves, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and blended
1 Tbsp tomato purée 
1/2cup white wine
4 Tbsp cream
Handful finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
750 g fresh mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
French bread or focaccia to serve

DIRECTIONS:

In a heavy based pot, cook the sausage in oil until brown over medium-high heat, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Scrape up any large brown bits and discard. Drain off all but 2 Tbsp of fat. 
Add chopped onion, paprika, pepper, red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper and half of the parsley. Cook, stirring, until onions are tender, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for further 3 minutes. 
Add the garlic and tomatoes and a cup of water, and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes or until the water has almost disappeared. You can blend the mixture using an immersion stick blender at this stage. 
Stir in sausage. Add mussels and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover, cooking until the mussel shells have opened. Stir a couple of times. 
Remove from heat. Take out mussels with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish. 

Add the cream and parsley and ladle the tomato mixture on top of mussels. 
Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve immediately with French bread for dipping.

Enjoy!

Salmon and egg phyllo parcel

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I’ve been MIA for a while. That’s why I made this New Year’s resolution: at least one post a month, recipe or otherwise. Will see how I go.

So here we go, first post for 2014

Just enjoyed this light lunch on our patio, perfectly paired with an Australian Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a home-grown rocket salad.

I made this recipe previously on many occasions, following Laura Calder’s recipe Baked Tuna and Egg Phyllo

This time I had some hot-smoked salmon fillet leftover so I used that, equally as good as tuna.

INGREDIENTS

1 grilled fillet of salmon (250-300g), cooled

Cup of grated Gruyere cheese

3/4 cup of chopped parsley and/or coriander (cilantro)

2 scallions, chopped

Salt and pepper to season

6 to 8 sheets phyllo pastry

Melted butter, for brushing, about 50 g

2 eggs

1. Heat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Cool and flake the salmon up in a bowl with a fork. Add the Gruyère and the chopped parsley, coriander and scallions.
Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

2. Brush one phyllo sheet with butter put another sheet on top. Cut into three long strips. Using two pieces of the pastry drape one over the other making an “X” formation. Lay the third piece of pastry right down the middle over the “X” formation, it should then look more like a circle or wheel. (You may want four thirds.)

3. Make a ring of filling, like a flat doughnut in the middle of the pastry where the layers cross. Crack an egg into the ring. Season. Pull the phyllo edges into a parcel and set on a baking sheet. Make the remaining parcel.

4. Brush the parcels with melted butter. Bake 5 minutes for a runny egg inside and 10 minutes for a firm egg. This is nice with a simple rocket salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Best Home-made Bread

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This recipe was given to me by my Slovakian auntie. She bakes her own bread on a daily basis.

For a long time I had missed the taste of  bread that I was used to from home  so I asked her to send me her recipe.

When I moved to Australia it took me a good couple of years to get used to the white fluffy, cotton wool-tasting bread you buy in the supermarket. And toasting the bread – that’s not the practice at home.  At least it wasn’t when I was growing up. You don’t really toast rye bread.

Rye bread with caraway seed is the most common variety in the Czech Republic.

One day I used my aunt’s recipe and tried to bake my own bread that tasted like the one from home. And I succeeded.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful bakeries here in and around Melbourne baking the most amazing sourdough I’ve ever tasted. For example The Red Beard in Trentham that we visit quite often.

But still, the first thing I go for when I get home to Prague is bread. Fresh, not toasted, plain, just like that, yum…

Or with a spread of home-made lard and thinly sliced onion and lots of salt. Not so good for my waistline though 🙂

Try baking your own bread. It’s quite easy. And the reward? Two loaves of preservative – free goodness. The better quality flour you use, the better the quality your bread will be.

I use white bakers flour, organic white spelt and organic wholemeal flour in a 2:1:1 ratio.

You can use just white flour, if that’s what you have at home.

I tweaked my auntie’s recipe a little.

Here is my latest version.

INGREDIENTS:

This recipe yields two loafs.

500 g strong bread flour

250 g white spelt flour

250 g wholemeal flour

3 tsp salt

1-2 tsp caraway seeds, whole or crushed

3 Tbsp vinegar ( I use organic cider vinegar, but white is fine)

3 Tbsp olive oil

200 g cooked potato, grated (3 small or 2 bigger potatoes will do, cook them in their skins, peel and grate finely)

200 ml tepid water

YEAST STARTER

1 Tbsp dry active yeast (my Tbsp is 20 ml, that’s 5 ml bigger than a standard US Tbsp)

3 tsp granulated white sugar

300 ml tepid water

METHOD

Mix the starter ingredients and let them ferment for about half an hour – until bubbly.

Put all remaining ingredients (except the 200 ml water) in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl if you don’t own a mixer.

I use my stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, makes the kneading so much easier. If you knead by hand, that’s a bonus exercise for you.

With the mixer on minimum speed start adding your fermented starter. Also add bit by bit the 200 ml of water.

Dough ball will start forming. Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes on minimum. It’s a lot of flour, we don’t want to overheat your machine.

Dough should be elastic, smooth and not too wet. Keep adding water if the dough feels too dry. The ball should pick up all the flower off the sides of the bowl. If the dough feels too wet and sticky, add more flour.

Let the dough rise in a covered bowl for an hour or until the dough doubles in size.

1st rising

1st rising

after 1 hour, dough has more than doubled in size

after 1 hour, dough has more than doubled in size

Punch the air out of the dough, roll and knead for a minute, return it to the bowl, cover and let rise again for another hour or until the dough doubles in size.

Meanwhile prepare the tins for baking.  I butter mine and dust them with some corn meal (flour).

Punch the dough again and divide in two equal parts. Shape the dough according to your tin. I use rectangular high bread tin.

3rd rising in the tins, I’m using meat loaf tins

Let the bread rise one last time.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to maximum, mine gets up to 250C.

Make a couple of slits (with a thin sharp knife) in the top of your bread and brush it lightly with some milk, sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake in the middle of your oven for 15 minutes then reduce to 150C for 45 minutes.

When finished baking remove the bread from the tins and cool on a wire rack.

I slice mine and usually end up with 12 -15 slices per loaf.

This bread has no preservatives so it won’t last a week like the supermarket kind, but I promise you it tastes much better.

I usually put mine in a zip-lock back and freeze.

We toast it straight from the freezer.

marketa

Jamie’s Italian – London

On my last layover in London I visited Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in London, Covent Garden.

Many of our crew had already dined there and I had heard only good reviews. I had to check it out for myself. I love Jamie’s shows!

The food was simple, rustic and delicious, portions were generous.  And quite cheap for London!

Wine selection is great. Atmosphere vibrant. They have quite a large garden but it was just closing when we got there. It was Wednesday night.

Definitely not a place for a romantic or quiet dinner 🙂

Great for small groups and catch-ups with friends.

The restaurant was absolutely full, people were waiting at the bar. They don’t take reservations.

We arrived quite late at 9:30 pm and when we’re leaving at 11 pm there were still people arriving.

Definitely worth a visit!

Prawn Linguine - entree size

Prawn Linguine – entree size

Back bar

Back bar

Black Angel Spaghetti - entree size

Black Angel Spaghetti – entree size

Fish Plank for 2

Fish Plank for 2

Election Day

Today is Election Day here in Australia.

Being the good Aussie I am, I got to the polling booth early, yesterday afternoon. Missed out on the sausage sizzle today. Arrgh! If only I knew… Must remember for next time.

Archie came with me and received plenty of attention from all the volunteers shoving all the propaganda in your face.

There was a young girl next to me in the booth yesterday. She asked me in a shaky voice if she’s allowed to phone her mum to help her with filling of the ballot paper. Poor thing, didn’t have an idea. I asked her who she wants to vote for, her answer “for the Sex party” didn’t surprise me. I just laughed to myself and remembered how confused I was when I at barely 18 had to vote for the first time, all by myself. I think I went for the Greens back then.

Well, that’s how it is. Will see what the future brings and which party will get the leadership for the next 3 years.

Not that I’m into politics or anything.

I just went so I don’t get fined. Hehe.

Today is also the first day of fermentation of my sourdough starter. I purchased a dehydrated starter pack on eBay. I tried to grow my own sourdough bacteria a while ago but failed miserably.

This time it’s a proper, functioning starter, I hope. First promising bubble appeared on the surface today, yay.

I’m sure I’ll be baking my own sourdough bread in no time! Fingers crossed.

We’ve been baking our own bread for at least three months now. None of the preservative-laden commercial bread for us anymore.

I’ll post the recipe for my home-made bread very soon. It’s so easy. All you need is time. And flour 😉

Day 1, first bubble

Day 1, first bubble

TV is full of the Election stuff tonight. Boring.

Weather turned cold and rainy again. I was so stoked to wear t-shirt on our walks with Archie last week. Spring is my favourite season I think.

Time for a glass of wine and some of my comfort food red pasta dish.

Good night

xx

Party food made easy – chicken and feta sausage rolls

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What’s a party without a sausage roll?
Boring.
I know it’s easy just to go and grab a box from the frozen section at the supermarket. But do you know what’s inside? Inferior meat encased in anaemic-looking puff pastry. At least that’s what they look like to me. I never had much luck making them look golden. It must be the years of deep-freezing. There’s no taste to them other than saltiness. So…..

Put that apron on and let’s get baking.

You maybe wouldn’t dream of putting feta in a sausage roll, but it makes these taste so mellow …and because chicken mince is pretty flavorless, this will give it a little zing.
By all means, leave it out if you don’t like cheese.

Makes up to 24 mini-rolls (depends what size you want them)

INGREDIENTS

500 g chicken mince
30 g feta, crumbled
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 egg lightly whisked
1 small onion, diced finely
handful finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce (tomato or barbecue will also do)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 sheets of ready-made puff pastry
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Little milk for brushing rolls

Optional for decoration
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200°C
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine.

Place a 2″ high roll of mixture along one edge of a pastry sheet, close to the edge. Roll tightly until edge of pastry is on the underside. If you wish to, you can brush the edge with a little milk to make it stick better.

Carefully cut your roll into mini-rolls – whatever size you like.
Repeat for each pastry sheet.

You can freeze the rolls at this stage.
Place rolls on a baking paper-covered plate and put in the freezer. Freeze for 2-3 hrs.
When they’re thoroughly frozen you can transfer them into a container or a zip-lock bag.

If you’re baking your rolls now, place them on a baking paper-covered baking sheet and space them evenly – without them touching each other.

Brush the tops lightly with some milk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serve hot with tomato sauce or sweet chilli sauce.

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