Amaranth, Buckwheat and Quinoa

 photo WP_20170409_002_e_zpsqdlclmsx.jpgA “Clearing Out The Freezer” Dinner.

Dear r-reader, is it r-really you? It’s been millennia since we last…what? You sure? It has felt like an eternity getting through these recipes. I wanted to show how easy it is to use these seeds and in trying to prove it I’ve driven myself sightly mad, but it’s finally finished. I hope that all of you out there struggling to find new ideas for weekly meals will look at these and at least consider adding one, or all, of these seeds to your diets. They’re really worthwhile. I complain because these recipes are really basic and I needed to space them out and try them properly. I made it and still have some in date buckwheat groats. The first two recipes had a texture very similar to just amaranth, but today’s triple combo has a texture split down the middle. A soft, thick porridge combines with individual seeds firmness. It’s unusual, strangely like a crumbly porridge. An odd description, but apt. I did go for a nut butter option, but you can do whatever you like with the basic version. If all else you’ll find unique, interesting recipes here, whether people will try them is uncertain, but I like the fact that I can make this diet work. Okay, that’s all for today. No garden post to pester you with today as the promised weekend sunshine has vanished. I’m off to read and complain about the lack of spinach being planted. I don’t even eat it, but I want to grow it! Until later.

Ingredients

170ml Water
20g Amaranth
20g White Quinoa
15g Raw Buckwheat Groats
Olive Oil

Method

1. Put the Quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water.

2. Add a little Olive Oil to the pot and heat. Add the Quinoa and cook until dried. Then add in the Amaranth, Buckwheat and Water. Bring to boil, reduce to a medium heat cover and cook for 15 minutes.

4. After the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat. Let it stand for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lift the lid and take a fork and fluff.

Variations

Peanut Butter: Cook as normal. While cooking mix together 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter Butter, 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 2 Cloves Garlic, Grated, a Pinch Sea Salt and Black Pepper until a smooth Paste is formed. Stir Paste into Amaranth, Buckwheat and Quinoa just before serving.

Amaranth and Buckwheat

 photo WP_20170402_001_e_zpsfvarpwfk.jpgI’m trying baby corn for a while. It seems okay, like most vegetables it just tastes like nothing to me. Not bad nothing, so that’s okay.

Bah! Dear reader, you’re loyal enough to already have seen this preamble about the usefulness of basic, healthy recipes dealing with lesser known ingredients, numerous times no doubt, so I won’t repeat it and that’ll save you and me a headache. You know what I have been thinking of? The fact that health is a pretty abstract thing when we’re viewing ourselves in regards wellness and well-being. What is healthy for you, for me? How does it feel? I think too often our feelings are overridden. Bear with me, I can think back, back to the fat-days, but I can’t remember what the strain on my bones felt like, the pains and aches, the general feeling of bad health. I can recall it in vague ways, in general terms, but not with the clarity of my feelings now. So how can a check-list of benefits really tell me anything of how a food will affect me, even another persons experience with an ingredient isn’t going to mirror my own exactly. When we see a post on something like amaranth or buckwheat that’s a run down of it’s nutritional values and benefits that does have it’s uses, but isn’t it’s effect on an individual more useful? You’re talking with someone who’s eaten alternative seeds or pseudo-grains for as long as he’s been on a restricted diet. Isn’t the fact that I eat these regularly more informative than regurgitating the same tired information on them in an informal way? If it isn’t then that’s fine too. I just hope there’s worth in these words and these recipes.

What else could I eat? That’s a question I ask myself often. Take away these seeds and what else is there for me? I could find alternatives, but I like these, they keep me in good health, keep me full and satisfied. I remember when I first pledged to be better or to, well, truthfully: Die. Don’t despair, dearest reader, I’m still here, Jack is tough and inventive. But as I was saying, when I first started I said to myself that I would eat plain rice and chicken to be better, every single day if needs be. Thankfully I was able to create a diet that has plenty of options, but that was my determination Sounds like a bad anime, right? “I’m going t get stronger! Even if I have to eat bland Chicken and Rice every day!”) and I would have stuck to it. It’s also why I share these simple recipes, combinations of seeds all properly cooked, no guessing, the experience I’ve accumulated bringing you worthwhile, healthy and useful dishes. So, today side is simplicity itself. It’s a more textured amaranth, thanks to he larger seeds of the buckwheat, deliciously combined with nut butter, but that’s optional. Simple fare, but also enduring fare. I could, probably will too, eat this for life. There’s no taste here but what you add, well, there’s a bit of earthy taste from the amaranth, flooded with nut butter it vanishes beneath the creamy richness, thankfully. So, I’ve tried Amaranth with quinoa and now buckwheat. So next is Quinoa and Buckwheat? If it doesn’t expire first. One thing I should mention at if this came out badly then that’s me stuck for a dinner, I have no alternative, no other dish to whip up to replace it while everything else cools, it’s the reason I don’t try these things too often. The fact that they succeed is half luck and half knowledge. Okay, see you in a few for a garden post. A more chipper one, I swear! Later.

Oh! Forgot t mention something. I’m not even going to try to cleverly work this in. The reason you toast the buckwheat is for flavour and the reason you let it cool it is to avoid heating the amaranth too much. I’m not sure if it’d affect that much, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ingredients

30g Raw Amaranth
25g Raw Buckwheat
175ml Water

Method

1. Add the Buckwheat Groats to the pot with a drizzle of Olive Oil and then toast on a medium heat until fragrant, lightly golden and just starting to pop. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes then add the Amaranth and Water. Bring to boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

2. After the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat. Let it stand for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lift the lid and take a fork and stir the Amaranth and Buckwheat and then serve.

Variations

Cashew Buckwheat: Cook as normal. While cooking mix together: 1 Tbsp Cashew Butter, 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil and a Pinch of Sea Salt and Black Pepper until a smooth Paste is formed. Stir Paste into to Amaranth and Buckwheat just before serving.

Quinoa and Amaranth

 photo WP_20170319_001_e_zpsepyfs5lr.jpgNot only a new recipe, but it already has variations!

I just realised that my Quinoa recipe was in dire need of editing. It’s been sorted now, sorry to anyone that tried it and had trouble. So, again, I’m back with a basic recipe, but you know what? I’ve found that often when these seeds, not grains, not pseudo-grains, are being sold they can often be listed with erroneous recipes on how best to prepare them, if they include a recipe at all. You’re flat out of luck if you’d like a little flair with your new side. That’s why I’m here, I was caught time and time again and one day decided I couldn’t do any worse. Think of these as the four Mother Seeds, like the sauces, you know?…Just Google it. You have Amaranth, Pigweed, The seed of the Aztecs, blah blah blah, you’ve heard it countless time and probably haven’t seen much use for it outside of porridge. I have you more than covered. No, no need to thank me. Wait, do, do thank me! I’m just wonderful, right? So humble, modest too. Then there’s Buckwheat, oh, you delight, seed of my heart. Perfection, to me at least. Then there’s Kaniwa…moving on. And finally Quinoa. You might be a bit dull, but you’ve stood me well in time, my old seed. I think no healthy free-from diet can be without a few of these seeds regularly. Just check the links and tags because if you think I’m linking to all those recipe you’re a sanguine lunkhead.

What’s the worth in listing a recipe this simple? Because chances are you don’t know how to cook these seeds singularly never mind together. I can only guess at this, perhaps you’re all, everyone one of you, well informed, but secretive, but I don’t often see them used, never to the absurd extent I’ve tried them. I’ve been on a restricted diet so long that it no longer feels that way. It takes so much effort, graft and willingness to get to here and that’s why I’m sharing the fruits of my labours. Quinoa and Amaranth go together really easily because they share a cooking time The water and weight was different for each, but they cooked perfectly. The basic side is very bland, hence the addition of a variation below. What you end up with here is a slightly differently textured amaranth. This is more on the side of homogeneity rather than the individual  distinct grains of quinoa. I like this. Mix it up with some nut or seed butter, some additional flavours and you’ve got a side that you can enjoy in place of mashed vegetables. I’ll just say that you should give these seeds a chance, they might be just what your diet needs. Oh, about the peanut butter and cranberry: You’d eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich right? That’s what this is, just savoury. So good with sweet potato and broccoli. Okay, dear reader, I’ll leave you now, to go and lament my lack of compost on this fine day, but to also marvel at my started seeds. Until later.

Ingredients

160ml Water
25g White Quinoa
30g Amaranth
Olive Oil

Method

1. Put the Quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water.

2. Add a little Olive Oil to the pot and heat. Add the Quinoa and cook until dried. Then add in the Amaranth and Water. Bring to boil, reduce to a medium heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

4. After the 15 minutes is up, remove from the heat. Let it stand for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lift the lid and take a fork and fluff.

Variations

Peanut Butter and Cranberry: Cook as normal. While cooking mix together: 1 Tbsp Cranberry Sauce, 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil, a Pinch Sea Salt and Black Pepper until a smooth Paste is formed. Stir Paste into Quinoa and Amaranth just before serving.

Quinoa and Amaranth Flour Bread

 photo WP_20170318_007_zpsjbu2jsb3.jpgFresh out of the oven.

Hmm? You again? Dear reader, you are a jewel of the ocean, the acme of blog readers, etc etc, but you can’t expect me to stay with you forever and ever, can you? Okay, fine one more recipe and that’s it. I mean that. I had wanted to test out quinoa flour and amaranth flour, but there was no quinoa flour that wasn’t absurdly expensive, so I gave up, no, sorry, made my own, again. It’s tedious, but at least you avoid the nasty taste so many store bought flours possess. I’m going to cut this short, it worked, but it’s nearly identical to the all Quinoa Flour Bread. That’s not a disparagement, that bread is really great. I’d praise it more if it weren’t my own recipe, but modesty prevails and I quietly mumble its praises. The one thing I love about this is that one minute out of the oven it was cut without any crumbs. I do think the texture is slightly firmer, but that might be the lessened water. Go to the quinoa flour bread page and you’ll get all the information you’ll ever need. This is just here because it worked. It’s never a bad thing to know additional flours work and because it was too different to list as a variation. I used two small tins, I think they’re four and a half inches each, because you get a better crust to, ummm, not crust? ratio, but you could use a normal sized loaf tin and it should be fine. I just prefer to list what I used so you’ll hopefully avoid any failures due to me. Your failures are yours to accept. I’m perfect! Heh. Okay, until later.

 photo WP_20170318_006_zpszlo5spcs.jpgLook! It’s tulip time. More tulip time…

 photo WP_20170318_005_zpsmfygdwv5.jpgPotato time too. I’ll have to cover them with more compost and feed soon.

Ingredients

170g Toasted Quinoa Flour
30g Raw Amaranth Flour
25g Ground Flaxseed
150ml Water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Large Eggs (70g to 75g in Shell)
1/3 Tbsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt

Makes two small loaves.
Can be frozen.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 175c (No Fan).

2. Grease (With Butter or Olive Oil) and line a 6×3 inch loaf pan.

3. In a large bowl mix together the Egg, Olive Oil and Salt. Add the Quinoa Flour, Amaranth Flour, Flaxseed and Baking Soda and stir until combined, then add the Water and stir together until smooth. Rest for 5 minutes until batter has thickened. It will be lumpy.

4. Pour batter into prepared tins and bake for 40-50 minutes, turning halfway if needed, until brown, the tops firm when pressed, and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Remove from he tin and let cool completely on a wire-rack.

Roasted Amaranth Flour

 photo WP_20170312_003_zpsne77wpmt.jpgRoasted because it went into the oven. This is boring! I’m sorry! *Weeps*

What? You’ve lost the will to continue? Sorry, dear reader, you’ll eat your ground toasted pigweed and enjoy it! Think of poor Jack, I’m sightly addled by the sun, it’s been an unknown factor for a long time and now I’m exposed to so much I shall be freckled to within an inch of my life. No, no tan for Jack. No sun-kiss bronzed god status for me. No, all I do is smell faintly of compost and pigweed. Oh, one interesting thing. A look-it-up-for-yourself titbit, I make no promises of its worth, it was suggested to me to add a little salt, I like pink salt, just for the taste, to some sugar, no artificial sweeteners, sweetened squash, the drink not the glorious berry, with plenty of water to dilute and it should keep you hydrated better in high heat weather. I’ve found it seems to alleviate my dodgy stomach, which I always get when too hot, even when I drink copious amounts of water. No idea if it works for everybody, but it’s better than the store bought drinks and interesting, as opposed to this post. Hah…Sigh.

 photo WP_20170312_005_zps3vu2kcet.jpgThere’s a huge difference in colour as you can see.

Why  roast your amaranth? Why? Because (I said so!) it tastes strongly of dirt, no, I’m not kidding. I’ve eaten a lot of amaranth and am extremely fond of this little seed, but the truth is it’s strongly of the soil in regards taste. Why not toast? Because it’ll either pop, like for everyone else, or it’ll burn, like for me. Does toasting help? Yeah, a fair bit, there’s still a taste underneath, but nowhere near as potent. I may try cooking toasted amaranth too, just to see if it’d cook as normal, leave it to me. I do find it hard to get a really fine texture, the seeds are s small my coffee grinder just can’t seem t whip them up enough to get an even grind. It’s fine, just ads a little pop. It’s a cheapish grinder, nothing special and I’ve never had an trouble grind the amaranth so you should be find if you don’t have any heavy duty equipment. I do love the colour you gain from roasting. Okay, that’s it for a while. I might have a new curry next week, unless it ends up terrible and you never know. Later.

 photo WP_20170312_006_zpss5dmducj.jpgI made Roasted Toasted Scones.

 photo WP_20170312_007_zpsdsfxeksr.jpgThey do retain a lovely hue even after baking.

Ingredients

Amaranth as Needed

Method

1. Preheat Oven to 175c (Fan)

2. Measure out the weight of flour needed in Amaranth and add a little extra, then pour onto a greaseproof paper lined tray.

3. Bake, stirring the Amaranth occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until Amaranth is golden and slightly fragrant. Let cool completely on tray.

4. Add about 1/4 Cup of Amaranth to coffee-grinder and grind a few times, letting the grinder rest in between so as not to overheat the motor, until it resembles a fine powder. Repeat until all Amaranth is used up. Either use right away or store in the fridge.

 

 

 

On The Tip of My Tongue

 photo WP_20170110_004_e_zpsdjuqskvk.jpgI made carrot muffins. Here’s a photo for no real reason, but it makes the post look better.

Ah, dear reader. Yet again here we are. Ever and always, right? Forever friends? Absolute associates? Alliterated allies? I’m here to maunder again. I love that verb. It perfectly sums up these posts. I do have a topic of discussion, but not one of a resolute ending. An open discussion of one and one imagined. You’re the imagined one, an impermanent place-holder until a real person appears. You’re very useful, if ephemeral. I use that word a lot, but it’s too perfect to discard. I learned it from an anime: Now and Then, Here and There.

“Because ten billion years’ time is so fragile, so ephemeral…it arouses such a bittersweet, almost heartbreaking fondness.”

You know I think out of all the aspects of blogging it’s the writing I enjoy most. I’m not the world’s greatest writer, nor do I have an literary aspirations, I know my limits, but there’s a catharsis in writing, a challenge in finding the mot juste (See? I pay my respects to France) and just seeing where your thoughts can take you. A certain Je ne sais quoi (Heh) Of course I hold an appropriate irreverence when using words. My inspirations and, little thefts, run the gamut from everything I’ve read. From Popeye to Tolstoy. From Dickens to Elfen Lied. From…you get the idea. Classics and gag material are intermixed to create, well, the me you see in these words. They’re what form the person, or perhaps they’re there to illustrate the person I am. Who knows? Well, I do, but I’m not telling. Language is pretty amazing. This does flow into my next point, so have no fear I may maunder, but we won’t drown in a meander. As I’m typing I’m thinking, it does, on occasions happen, I’ll have you know, of what the title will be. Blame Dickens or Thackery for the multi comma sentences. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a sentence the length of a paragraph or two. I love the titles, be they puns, playing on things I enjoy or just descriptive word-play. Wait, I’ve got it! Hah! Oh, this is steam of consciousness, like Virginia Woolfe, and if you’ve read any of her works and know I’m lying then it’s actually like Infinite Jest. Hah! Go read that…or don’t, probably better not to. I did and I’m still complaining. Each to their own, but in my heart the only absurdly long novel to read is Clarissa.

 photo WP_20170112_001_e_zpscjolfamn.jpgDid we have a point? “Perhaps, maybe and hopefully”

It all started with an epiphany and amaranth, aka: Pigweed. Delicious, tasty weed seeds. So the point I’ve been getting to is this: How do you describe the indescribable? How do you explain the unknown? Aren’t rhetorical questions great? Of course you can’t. What I’m talking about here is the unfamiliar, to you rather than me. How do I describe amaranth when I make it with nut butter paste? Like a risotto! So simple, eh? But what if you’ve never eaten risotto. Comparisons are useful to a point when trying to help people gauge their interest in a new food or an old one reworked. But though you can compare to a Summer’s day, it won’t help if they’ve only ever lived in Spring. You can wax eloquent on the similarities of two dishes, but if neither are known to the reader then you’re left with a befuddled, possibly hungry, readership. So, what then do we do with with the unknown? We describe! We build on sensations rather than standard savouries. On texture rather than typical tuck. I might have strained something with all that alteration, blame Stan Lee for that. In describing with due care and attention we can help people understand what they’re seeing. I don’t do photography, I’m not that way talented nor inclined, so I choose to type and talk. To express the exquisiteness of eatables and in doing so to entice the every-man into eating something new, something, perhaps, better. So if amaranth as risotto doesn’t work, then we elaborate on the creaminess, the hint of nuttiness balanced by the saltiness and the rawness of the garlic. We add and add until you just need to experience this taste description that has been implanted in your mind. At least that’s the hope. There are many ways to talk food. This is mine, whether it’s worth the effort at times I truly don’t know, but the typing and thinking, the figuring and fretting, the struggling and succeeding are all worthwhile. The gestalt of these posts is far greater than its component parts.

 photo WP_20170110_002_e_zpsfyftoshx.jpgHey look, cake! Blurry cake

As I said this wasn’t supposed to be much of anything and I kept true to my word. What a wonder I am. I had a lot of topics, many of which would have done me more harm than good to type out, this time of year, with its fads, and outright lies, is a difficult time for me. I should ignore it, but I just wish that people could get the real help they need. That’s what this blog is for, for those who are willing to work and they may find the start of a plan herein to help them formulate a lifetime’s successful strategy. As for you and I, dear reader, we’re here for all the yuks, the laughs, the sheer absurdity of everything. We’ll follow in Oscar Wilde’s footsteps and pretend irreverence and all the while hoping that we are indeed making a difference for the betterment of the world and the people on it. Who knows? See you again soon, dear readers.

Buckwheat and Amaranth Flour Scones

19th October Update: Just a quick note: They tasted even better after a few hours, which is the reverse of the usual way these turn out. But I didn’t make it a full day because I ate them all, still, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be okay for at least a day. Still testing the bread.

 photo WP_20161018_009_e_zpswdbygzte.jpgTeeny tiny dainty scones.

I feel like that toad enraging butterfly. (Kipling, Google Toad Harrow) Flitting to and fro. Also like the toad. I hope these recipes and posts are alright. The funny thing with a new recipe is sometimes you try a little, carefully planned and executed and end up only with failures, other times you try too much, guessing and flying by the seat of your pants and end up with new recipes. Recipes that you have to type up. I don’t know which to prefer. Joking. At least in part. So, we’re onto the second post (First here) and we have, yet again, a scone recipe! Just pop to the recipe page and control F scone. I’m tired, go, do my work, dearest reader. This is a smaller version, but if I’d doubled it it’d be too big as there’s more flour than the usual half measure. More like the quinoa version, I think.

 photo WP_20161018_014_e_zpsymzgllcj.jpgI made these an hour ago and I’m already forgetting.

So, you’ve possibly seen my scones before. Some are dry, others are crumbly. These, actually, these might be the best yet. I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, but it needs to be stated: These are light, firm, not crumbly and just break into two halves (As opposed to three, yuk yuk yuk). They only contain a small bit of amaranth flour, but it seems to be a flour best used sparingly. I think these might be a little better at saying fresh, but, again, you’ll have to wait for that test. You could probably ditch the sugar here, I don’t think it’ll alter the recipe much, outside of a little sweetness, but you could add that after baking if you’d prefer. These don’t need added liquids. The egg is enough, I’m learning that with amaranth flour that’s the best way to go. Amaranth flour recipes aren’t that common so I’m flying blind here. I’ve found it better as a companion flour, used mostly with dry ingredients and less is more. Not much to go on, but you’ve got recipes to try thanks to my tomfoolery.

 photo WP_20161018_026_e_zps8vx3pfxk.jpgThey even rise! That’s new.

All scones rise? Not when you use dense, gluten-less flours, dear reader. Well, you get a bit, but not much. These almost doubled in size. They became little puffed up scones. The tops just popped off cleanly. Backwards order I know, but the dough came together easily, I had to keep adding buckwheat flour, but the recipe reflects the final amount. The raw dough feels similar to the buckwheat and almond scones in that it feels almost too raw. Hard to describe. It’s as if it hadn’t mixed together enough, but it has, it’s just a strange feeling. You might have to fight your baker’s instincts and just pop it in the oven. They cook fast too. When I pulled one open I was shocked at how soft it was, it’s firm, sure, but it wasn’t that dense dry scone that the buckwheat version is. So, amaranth flour, it might be the best way to softer baked goods. I did find as it cools it firms up somewhat, but it didn’t dry out. It was still the same texture, but the outer crust had hardened. This was true for the bread and the scones. I’m still learning what to do with amaranth flour, but I’m making progress and it’s looking at least interesting. Okay, that’s that. See you again soon. thanks for dropping by.

 photo WP_20161018_029_e_zpspase8wme.jpgYeah, jam and butter scones with chicken and cheese sandwiches. I’m in no way sophisticated when it comes to food.

Ingredients

100g Buckwheat Flour
30g Amaranth Flour
15g Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
45ml Olive Oil
1 Large Egg (70g-75g in Shell)

Can be frozen.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200c (Fan) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and set aside. Mix the Olive Oil and Egg with a fork until combined, then mix in the Egg mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork. Keep mixing until a dough starts to come together and stops crumbling. Knead by hand when firm enough to work. Dough should be firm and slightly sticky, only slightly. Form into a ball.

3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and either press the dough flat, about an inch thickness, and cut into wedges or roll out and cut into rounds using a cutter. Then place onto the prepared tray.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until scones are firm and a light gold colour. Transfer to a wire-rack and let cool.

Variations:

Gingerbread: Use 30g Dark Muscovado Sugar, 1 1/2 Tsp Gingerbread Spice Blend and a dash of Vanilla Extract. Everything else is the same.

 photo WP_20161222_004_e_zpsg7tc9cb6.jpgOptional: Top with Microwave Caramel Sauce.