Same Old, Same New: Espress(o) Ramen

Quick and easy. And not a combination you see everywhere…or anywhere…

Sauteed Sweet Potato because why not go all in?

A quick rework of Espresso Steak, Dear Reader, because I muddled up my days, this is getting to be a theme and I don’t do it on purpose! I forgot it was a pasta day, all my days are planned ahead and I can’t and won’t change it, and left out steak strips I keep for this kind of meal, but don’t usually do with pasta, but I had a grinder loaded with rich espresso beans and a bit of a curious thought as to how well it’d go with the Buckwheat Ramen, King Soba, you can get it on Amazon UK, so, yeah, Espresso Ramen. The only major Tweak was I kept everything covered, I did uncover the onions for a time to get them nice and browned, but I didn’t want any of the sauce evaporating, I added the rinsed noodles when everything was ready and let them just soak in the flavours. It worked well, you taste a lot more of the coffee this way as there aren’t any competing flavours, it’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s fun and a bit different so I thought I’d just share it.

Today was a great day to get out and harvest.

A mix and match.

Old strawberries are coming out now. Turnips are done.

A surprising haul today, I was out to thin out beetroot and had no idea so much was ready, a mysterious yellow beetroot has appeared too, it’s either a discoloured white or I’ve won the grand prize! The yellow beetroot is of course orange on the outside for some reason known to nature. The carrots are all various sizes, the Atomic Red were firmly stuck in the ground and the tops kept coming while the roots remained, I had to fight them to get them free. The rainbow seem very prone to bolting, the Resistafly seem to be the best of all, they’ll all get bigger as I leave them, but I needed to thin out some of what I have. I love these as you can just scrub and cook them, no peeling, no hard, woody cores, just sweet tender carrots. The tops of everything went straight into the composters, no waste in this garden if I can help it, Dear Reader. I have a fresh supply of comfrey tea fermenting and the weather is starting to look a bit better so I’ll hope things pick up. It’ll grow as i pleases regardless what I want, but I still like to pretend I have a say. Until later, Dear Reader, take care.

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Same Old, Same New: Peanut Butter Pasta

I’m still gradually overcoming old food aversions.

Raw onions aren’t gross, but I had to learn to eat onion when I first started, this is a lot of progress. I didn’t cook them at all and I know that’s a terrible thing to do to onions like these, but I couldn’t help it once. Way back when, before I stopped eating fish sauce is a good marker of time as any, I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Pasta, which didn’t really stick because I’m not that sold on ginger, unless it’s cooked and mingled with other flavours, but recently I have wanted to use it more, no coincidence that I’m currently growing some. So, when I was sitting here thinking about how to use it I remembered this old recipe, older than I realised, which included raw scallions and ginger. So, using that as a base I left out the fish sauce and use smoked salt, kept the peanut butter natural, left out the water, but kept the stock cube, I gave that paste a little heat and added the chicken, tossed it well and let it just cook, then in went the coconut milk and I let it all simmer away. The whole thing is super quick to prepare, I upped the ginger to about a tablespoon, I have it minced and frozen in cubes, increased the garlic and served it with buckwheat ramen, which is a thing apparently, I found it on Amazon under the King Soba brand, they make great free from noodles, it’s a little chewy and slightly elastic, you do need to rinse it well in cold water after cooking or it’ll clump. Then I tossed over the Welsh Onions because they’re all I had.

It’s a light sauce, ginger is the foremost taste, but it’s mellowed by the coconut and the peanut butter gives it just a hint of richer texture, but by using just enough it doesn’t thicken too much and detract from the slippery noodles, which refused to stay on my spoon, yes, a spoon. I was tempted to make this a separate recipe, but as with all of these reworks it wasn’t different enough and it’s still being shared. I love so many cuisines, Dear Reader, but I can’t eat any of them! Still I can take gentle inspiration, never matching the original, and get a little extra goodness in my meals. I hope to have fresh green onions to top rice and pasta with, I’m trying to include the fresh, easily harvested greens from the garden this year more than I have. I’ll get there eventually. Until later, Dear Reader, take care.

Same Old, Same New: Peanut Butter Timing and Noodles

Simmer, simmer something new(ish) for my dinner.

Welcome to Pep’s Free From Kitchen, I sometimes post food. Heh. Yo, Dear Reader, I told you I’d be back with…I didn’t? Well, surprise? I muddled a lot of ingredients together yesterday and just made a mess, edible, but nothing worthwhile so I decide to do myself better today. So, this is a mixture of recipes, but essentially you need a peanut butter, I used smooth for a change, version of Tahini Chicken which varies as to how it cooks but that doesn’t matter here, toss that aside, and fry some onions and a few cloves of garlic, all chopped chunky, or as you like, in some olive oil until they’re nicely browned, no need to go as far as caramelising, this is a quick preparation, then add the coated Chicken pieces give it all a stir and just cook for long enough to give the honey a chance to release that just starting to burn smell, it sounds like I’m being funny, but you’ll smell what I mean if you toss that mixture into a hot pan, a quick toss about is all you need, just to seal the chicken really, reduce the heat for a few minutes and then add the coconut milk, not cream we’re using a thickener in the nut butter after all, you let the heat reduce to avoid splitting the milk, give it a stir, let it bubble away for a while until it turns from a light brown to a more rich caramel colour and slap in your noodles, I’m using 100% Buckwheat Soba, I’ve bought quick cook noodles online so I might be playing with looser recipes in the future, and let them heat. Oh, you have to really rinse the soba in cold water to prevent it clumping, it works is all I can say, but you need to extra few minutes to reheat. The whole thing should take the same for boiling a large pot of water, give the onions a hair more maybe.

This is…two, maybe three recipes all muddled together.

You’re looking for a just thickened, just melted nut butter in slightly reduced coconut milk, sauce. The idea is to eat it as almost a broth, if you’re me, Dear Reader, you’ll need a fork and a spoon and lots of patience, those noodles are slippery. I have done warm Peanut Butter Pasta before, but this is a much thinner style. The short cooking time really imparts a different flavour to the peanut butter, it’s just let melt and little else so it’s much more like stick a spoon in a jar than eating something cooked. Truth be told, I had a caving for onions and have been watching a Japanese Drama about food. I love Japanese style food, it’s so far from what we eat here, I could eat much of it, but I enjoy it vicariously and respect the work that goes into that style. I like to be respectful of other cuisines and understand that imitation pales in comparison to having lived on a food and having everything to hand coupled with the knowledge of how it should taste. This is jut me screwing around, Dear Reader, but today it worked well. Not much else to say so I’ll leave it here. I’ll be back later, until then take care.

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.

Quinoa and Buckwheat

 photo WP_20170406_001_e_zpsjsfyenkq.jpgDéjà vu.

That’s it right? All three seeds, Buckwheat, Quinoa and Amaranth have been combined in various ways. Well, I guess a triple cook is possible…Maybe. I’ll see. So, today the side is different as instead of the soft textured amaranth we’ve got two seeds that remain mostly firm and tasteless. That’s just gravy, you see what I did there? Yeah, yeah, anyway this is a perfect plain side to go with any intensely flavoured meal. Adding the stock and toasting the buckwheat helps take away the extreme blandness that these seeds taste of when cooked as is. I don’t really have much to add here, dear reader, there’s not much here just the measurements and techniques needed to cook this perfectly. Well, if you try it let me know. Take care.

Ingredients

25g White Quinoa
25g Raw Buckwheat Groats
165ml Boiling Water
1/3 Stock Chicken Cube (If water used is 1/3 of water needed for stock then use 1/3 of a stock cube. If water used if 1/2 of water needed for stock then use 1/2 of a stock cube etc)
Olive Oil

Method

1. Put the Quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Add Stock Cube to boiling water and set aside.

2. 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. Add the Quinoa and cook until dry.

3. Pour Stock into the pot and 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 the Quinoa and Buckwheat.

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.

Toasted Buckwheat Flour

 photo WP_20170312_003_zpsne77wpmt.jpgGuess which is buckwheat. That was a joke…this is an enervating post *Weeps*

I feel like sighing. You see, dear reader, there’s no way to make a flour recipe interesting. You’ve seen the numerous uses I’ve put this flour through, this part, funny how I’m at the start after so long, is really rather dull and basic. Not only that, I have two flour recipes. Don’t sigh, dear reader, I’ll keep it brief. I could’ve called this kasha flour, but I’d rather avoid the confusion.

 photo WP_20170312_004_zpsgfolv5ly.jpgIt looks more or less the same as what I get in the shops.

Okay, let’s see. Taste-wise I couldn’t see much difference, which either means the flour I’m using is already toasted or there isn’t much difference in taste between tasted and un-toasted and I’m not making raw flour to test. I did find that this ground really easily and it wasn’t difficult to get it fairly fine. It’s still a bit rougher, but it’s be fine in breads and scones. For pastry and flimsier doughs I’d prefer a  finer grind. Look, dear reader, if you have the groats and haven’t tried this wondrous flour, but would like to without buying a large bag then try this, it can’t hurt. I have expiring buckwheat and I need to use it up, hence this recipe. It’s helpful to have. Go look at he buckwheat flour tag and see what you can do with it. I’m bailing out here, I have another post to type and it’s equally boring. I could be in the garden! Be good.

 photo WP_20170312_001_zpsxeygodty.jpgLook! I’m still eating my vegetables. That’s fun, right? For the ravenous: Quinoa, Cashew Butter Gravy, Sautéed Sweet Potato, Roast Cauliflower, Broccoli and Honey Roased Carrots (They had honey on them, then I roasted them, shush)

Ingredients

Buckwheat Groats as Needed

Method

1. Add the Buckwheat Groats to a large pot, just a thin layer covering the bottom, and then toast on a medium heat until fragrant, lightly golden and just starting to pop. Remove from heat and pour onto a plate to cool completely.

2. Add about 1/4 Cup of Buckwheat 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 Buckwheat is used up. Either use right away or store in the fridge.