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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


30g Raw Amaranth
25g Raw Buckwheat
175ml Water


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.


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)


Buckwheat Groats as Needed


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.

Buckwheat Porridge

 photo WP_20170303_003_e_zpsp9se0hen.jpg“Doesn’t heated dairy make you queasy?” The things I do for recipes.

I did warn you there would be a deluge of recipes with buckwheat, didn’t I, dear reader? This is going to be a short post as there’s very little to say about porridge. The interesting thing is that you cook the buckwheat the same way you would any other time, then you add the Milk. Which doesn’t even need to be brought to a boil as the pot and buckwheat are hot enough to warm it up. I use cow’s milk, but any non-dairy option would be fine here. It takes longer as it’s a double serving compared o the standard buckwheat recipe, but still it’s porridge, you just start it and leave it. As for taste, well, it’s as sweet, savoury or plain as whatever you add to it. The texture is actually pretty much the same as oat based porridge, a little lumpier perhaps, but still soft enough. This is mostly here because I couldn’t go through two bags of buckwheat and neglect the porridge recipe. I have one more new recipe readied for tomorrow, not buckwheat, and that should end the run. Then it’s back to thinking of new recipes. As for the garden, it’s mostly been wet and miserable, but warm enough to allay any worries. My onions are just starting to poke their little green shoots out of the soil, the potatoes are getting there too, but I have covered them again so they’ll take longer to reappear. If anything major happens, freakish warm weather, a sale on bulbs or compost, then you can be sure a Jack post will follow. Until tomorrow, take care.


90g or 1/2 Cup of Raw Buckwheat
360ml (1 and 1/2 Cup) Water
120ml (1/2 Cup) Milk or Nut Milk

Optional: Add Sweetener and Fruit to Taste.


1. Add the Buckwheat Groats to the pot in a thin layer and then toast on a medium heat until fragrant, lightly golden. Add the Water and bring to boil, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

2. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork, add in Milk and serve.

Toasted Buckwheat Groats

 photo WP_20170227_004_e_zpsjmhre5wo.jpgWhat colour is this? Brown. Golden brown. Everything is golden brown!

But it’s a seed you say. A groat is a hulled grain you say. Hey, my head hurts from reading the pack of buckwheat groats that are certified 100% whole grain and on the back of the package it states that it’s a seed. Are we ashamed of seeds? Have they had cause to be shunned so? Me and buckwheat are bosom buddies and you had better prepare for an onslaught of groaty recipes. This one is tweaked a little from here. I actually have had a suggestion to toast the buckwheat before cooking and I will be trying that too. This just popped up last night and I decided to test it out and see if the toasted seeds would retain their crunch after a night. They do. Really well. I poured them over pasta and the made a really groat, heh, substitution for croutons. I have stated, and won’t continue to state, have no fear, that these recipes will probably be common place, but they’re new to me, so, yeah. Er, I mean I’ve done, what feels like at least, everything with the flour, breads, pasta, wraps, crackers etc so I think I can be forgiven for taking the easy way for a while. As for the recipe: It’s real simple, but the groats, I’m doing that to mess with you, dear reader, really crisp up well and they didn’t burn at all, I’ve had that trouble with other seeds before this. Whether you want them as a snack or as an addition to a meal you could do a lot worse than good old buckwheat. I have one more recipe to try with it this week, then I have another marinade recipe that has been converted to a no-marinade, it’s ready already but I need a photo. So for a change there are a lot of recipes.

I am busy in the garden still, but I doubt anyone but me would be excited to see photos of pots of potting compost. I’m still waiting on my dual-coloured rose. I have my seeds, but no germinating weather yet. I’m filling pots gradually and storing them in recycled trays in the greenhouse. The weather has been extremely changeable these days and it’s making Jack weary, but have no worries, dear reader, I have recipes to test and little gardening tasks to occupy me and flowering treasures to behold. I’d pick up again soon and the Jack posts will be plentiful. So, for now, eat your groats, gobble your seeds and know that Jack is always here, except when he’s not. Until we meet again.


45g or 1/4 Cup of Raw Buckwheat Groats
1/4 Tbsp Olive Oil or Butter
Salt to Taste, If Desired


1. Add the Olive Oil and Buckwheat to a pot or non-stick frying pan and cook on a medium heat until the Buckwheat is fragrant and has taken on a dark golden colouration. Pour onto a plate to cool. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.


2017 Update: Due to a problem with Photobucket, see here, there will be a lot of recipes without photos. I will be slowly redoing the recipe pages, as best I can, but many other posts will be impossible to replace. I’m doing this in my own time, while continuing to update the blog with new recipes and posts. If you’d like to donate, any amount appreciated, you can do so here. The site will always be free, the recipes will never be locked behind a paywall, but this is a lot of additional work. I’m not demanding or begging, just putting it there so if you feel like repaying my hard work you have that option. I don’t make any money from the site, all that I do here is to help others, I couldn’t charge for that.


2nd March 2017 Update

Okay two new twists already. First I want to thank Dolly from Kool Kosher Kitchen for the toasting before cooking tip. It makes a world of difference to the flavour of the cooked buckwheat, imparting a slightly nutty flavour hat pairs well with the addition of nut butter. Thank you Dolly, or rather, Dolly’s Grandmother. The second I have to thank, why, me! I took my Cashew Butter Amaranth and gave it a try with buckwheat and though it didn’t work quite the same magic it did give the buckwheat just the right taste and texture to boost it as a side. I made it with the toasted buckwheat, but I imagine either could work. So, two new options already and buckwheat continues to amaze and astound the culinary world. Or mine at least. The nut butter, paste for want of a better term, seems to work on soft seed/grains, ones with a mushier consistency, as I found it didn’t work with quinoa.

Oh, yes, dear reader, I’m still working hard for your benefit, okay, mine. My head is not swollen from my fame. What fame? Shush. You read that right! Buckwheat, just buckwheat, I finally found gluten free groats in the shop, with a short expiration date because they aren’t going to do me any favours. Now, you may say, can you really do anything I haven’t seen with buckwheat before? Well, firstly let me say this: I will start at the bottom and learn everything I can, even if the information is already out then it means nothing to me until I master it myself and until I do I won’t share it with you. Secondly, let me say this: Do you know who I am?! I’m Jack of all (Pseudo) Grains! You know quinoa? Yeah, I’ve done so many things with quinoa. I even have crusty quinoa bread! Pah! Amaranth? Old pig-weed and I are as close as the Aztecs and sacrifi…er, amaranth. No problem. You remember kaniwa? That’s a trick question, no one does, but I used the quinoa-like seed and it was pretty meh. We don’t talk about kaniwa. So you ask if I can use buckwheat well? Can I do amazing things with the groats? You know what I say? Maybe. Heh. Come on, dear reader, you know me. I’m willing to try and the flour has been a rip-roaring success for me. I’m used to these seeds as sides and I don’t see buckwheat stumping me, but as I say I’ll start slow, probably repeat a lot of recipes you’ve seen before, but I’ll enjoy it and you’ll reap the benefit of my tests. Win-win eh?

They look pretty much the same raw and cooked.

So, buckwheat, the groats are surprisingly fast to cook. I’d have imagined them to be tough and take a long time, but no. They are like quinoa in that here isn’t much taste and a little goes a long way. I used a half cup’s worth, but I’ll list the equivalent of a quarter which seems just right. The package recipe suggested a cup, but that’d be way too much for one. What I like is the size, they’re the largest gluten-free seed you can prepare like this (Right?). They are really tender when cooked too, which is nice. They still have a pleasant bite though. This is a savoury side preparation, I will try porridge too, but for now this is the way I want this. Not much to say here, they’ll differ depending on what you serve them with. Use them as you would quinoa, potatoes, any side really. This is just the beginning so keep an eye out. I’ve run through what feels like all the possibilities of buckwheat as a flour, it never really stops though so have no fear, and now I’ll see what uses I’ll find for the seeds. See you again soon.


45g or 1/4 Cup of Raw Buckwheat
180ml (3/4 Cup) Water

Optional: Add Butter and Salt to taste after cooking.


1. Put the Buckwheat and Water into the pot and bring to boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Alternately: Add the Buckwheat Groats to the pot with a drizzle of Olive Oil and then toast on a medium heat until fragrant, lightly golden ad just starting to pop. Then just cook as normal.

2. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork and then serve.


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