Pear & Fennel Buck Bowl

Buckwheat fennel bowl

I’ve been using buckwheat for a little while now mainly cooking risottos with it. However I recently discovered that soaking and blending it (no cooking) creates a fabulous creamy dish.

Deliciously Ella and Oh She Glows have some lovely buckwheat porridge recipes so I’ve been inspired to experiment. This week I’ve also been pondering fennel. On Tuesday I had an energy bar that had fennel seeds in and I loved the slight aniseed hit that it gave.  I’m not a great fan of strong aniseed but this was lovely.

So I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate this into a breakfast dish.  Subtlety is the key and I think that raw blended buckwheat makes the perfect base for including more delicate flavours.

It’s quite a small amount compared to my usual bigger bowls of porridge, but it’s surprisingly filling and tastes wonderfully creamy.  I did add some maple syrup to mine as I was craving sweetness today, but the dish works without this too.

Pear and Fennel Buck Bowl (serves one)

Buck pear with maple

  • 50g buckwheat – soaked overnight – it won’t work if they aren’t soaked.
  • 1 pear
  • 2 tbsp. natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds – grinded in a pestle and mortar
  • 4-5 walnuts

Drain and rinse the buckwheat. In a blender or food processor blend the buckwheat, 1/2 the pear, the yoghurt and almond milk.  Put into a bowl and stir through the ground fennel seeds, the rest of the pear diced up and the walnuts crumbled in.   Decorate with some walnuts and a few extra whole fennel seeds if you fancy a bit more aniseed.   Drizzle over some maple syrup if you fancy more sweetness.

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Brown Rice Apple Porridge

I first tasted brown rice porridge at a yoga retreat a couple of years ago. The rice from the previous evenings meal was re-cooked for breakfast with delicious results. Whenever I cook brown rice for dinner, I always make extra so that I can have this breakfast a couple of times over the following days.  It does take a bit of stirring and infusing of flavours and liquid so it’s an ideal weekend filling breakfast when there is more time to enjoy the wait.

Brown rice apple porridge (serves one)

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam
  • 120g of cooked brown rice
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml Almond milk (or other milk) – plus a bit extra if the rice gets too dry
  • 1 apple – grated
  • 25g sultanas or raisons
  • Cardamom – I crushed around 5 pods
  • Cinnamon – liberal amount – this dish can take a lot of spices
  • Cloves – small sprinkle as it’s quite a strong flavour and easy to overpower the other spices
  • Demerara or other brown sugar to serve

Put the rice and water into a saucepan and boil for around 4-5 minutes until the water is absorbed – keep an eye on it and keep stirring it.

Then add the almond milk, grated apple, sultanas and spices and simmer for 8-10 minutes – keeping an eye on the liquid levels. You want the apple to be really squishy and almost dissolving into the rice so don’t simmer for less time, if it’s getting dry add a bit more milk.

This is lovely with the added crunch of some demerara sugar to serve.

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I managed to do a spinning class and dog walk before enjoying some time in the kitchen to cook and eat this dish, which I really felt I had earned – a lovely feeling.  I did have a banana before heading out to spin – I needed something to keep me going.

 

Jaffa Bircher

I love Jaffa cakes, the mixture of chocolate and orange is one of the best flavour combinations. I’ve recently  run a few trail events where Jaffa cakes have been available at the drinks stations alongside the gels and I have been nicely fuelled by Jaffa power.  I’ve been trying to recreate that Jaffa taste in a slightly healthier way.

I first discovered the joys of orange puree during a patisserie course last year and it’s fabulous for adding a really strong orange hit.  There is a bit of preparation the night before due to having to boil the oranges and make the puree, but it’s really easy and worth it.  The puree also freezes really well.  I freeze it in ice cube trays or small ramekins so it’s portioned ready to use.  So instead of boiling one orange at a time I boil 2 or 3 and freeze the leftover.

To make the orange puree

Put 1 or more whole oranges in a big pan of water, bring to the boil and then simmer for around an hour – they should feel very soft when ready but still intact. Drain them, cut them in half and let them cool. When cool blitz them in a processor – skin and all. This is your puree.

Jaffa Bircher (serves one)

Jaffa bircher

  • 100g orange puree (this a about half of a large orange when pureed)
  • 30g oats
  • 2 teaspoons of cacao powder
  • 10g dried cranberries
  • 100ml Almond milk

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.  If you want a slightly wetter bircher add an additional tablespoon of almond milk over the mixture before putting in the fridge.

Before eating I like to sprinkle a few more cranberries and cacao nibs on top.

This is another most delicious brekkie that tastes soooo much better than it looks.

Quinoa cherry choc bowl

As it’s the start of the Easter holidays my thoughts turn to chocolate.  I discovered the joys of mixing quinoa with chocolate after finding a recipe by the blogger Chocolate Covered Katie and was intrigued about what it might taste like.  It was delicious and has become a firm favourite for breakfast and my favourite way to eat quinoa.  I’ve tried various combinations of milk, fruit and flavourings and i’m sure other versions of chocolate quinoa will feature on this blog again very soon.

I find when cooking with quinoa that the liquid can go from looking like too much to practically disappearing within seconds – so do keep an eye on it.

This isn’t the prettiest bowl to look at but don’t be put off, it really is a taste of healthy chocolate and protein for breakfast.

Quinoa cherry choc bowl (serves one)

quinoa choc bowl.jpg

  • 50g Quinoa (washed and drained)
  • 150ml almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder
  • few drops of vanilla essence
  • 6 cherries, chopped and pitted
Topping
  • 1 tbsp. Greek yoghurt
  • some extra cherries
  • Cacao nibs

Method

Put the quinoa and milk into a pan and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 15-20 mins – you want the quinoa to be really well cooked and soft. Keep an eye on the liquid and add a little more milk if it looks like running dry.

Once cooked, stir in the cacao powder, vanilla essence and 1 tbsp of yoghurt. Stir for a few seconds before turning off the heat.  Stir through the chopped cherries.

Serve with the topping.