Oat and buckwheat bread

If you struggle with eating ‘normal’ bread (by that I mean the supermarket offerings!), then this oat and buckwheat bread might just be the thing for you. This was last weeks live cooking session on Facebook – in case you missed it or would like the whole recipe without having to watch me jabber on for 20 minutes, here it is.

If you haven’t got buckwheat flour, then you can make your own but toasting buckwheat groats and then blending it into a flour using a high-speed blender or food processor. Alternatively, you could try quinoa, millet, spelt flour (if you don’t want to be gluten-free) or even just all oats. Be mindful about the amount of ground flaxseed you use if you are using a wheat-based flour (and therefore one with gluten) as this will help hold the bread together more. Reduce the flaxseed by 1 tablespoon otherwise your loaf will be rather dense. Plus if you need to be super-careful with gluten, then make sure use use gluten-free oats.

The seeds add extra flavour, texture and nutrients to this bread; if you haven’t got everything I’ve listed then improvise with whatever is in your cupboard, or leave them out. Baking in current times is a challenge whether it’s due to lack of stock or even just getting out to the shops. Fortunately, this recipe is very flexible, so go with what you’ve got.

Storage wise, this loaf keeps for 4-5 days, but if you know it’s not all going to be eaten then cut into slices and freeze. Then you can pull out the amount you want whenever you want it. Just defrost and use plain or pop in the toaster to perk it up.

I hope you enjoy making this bread – don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

Oat and buckwheat bread

A tasty loaf thats easy to make, can be gluten-free and is packed full of important nutrients as well as loads of healthy fibre.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

  • 40 grams whole oats
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 150 ml warm water
  • 340 grams oats ground into a flour
  • 115 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 375 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds extra for top of the loaf

Instructions
 

  • Mix the chia seeds and whole oats with 100ml water and leave for a few minutes to thicken
  • Line a 2lb baking tin with non-stick baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC./390ºF.
  • Add the flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder, ground flaxseed and seeds together in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Pour in ¾ of the water and the thick paste and stir well to combine. It should come together to form a sticky but not wet mix. Add more water to get the right consistency (remember the flaxseed with absorb water so if its sticky to start it will dry out).
  • Transfer mix to baking tin. Level the top and sprinkle extra sunflower seeds on top. 
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is toasted and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Keyword bread, buckwheat, child-friendly recipe, easy recipe, freezer, gluten free, high fibre, oats, whole-food bread

Lentil and buckwheat bake

Just in case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m all about eating amazingly tasty food that just so happens to be good for the body too. Just as well, as I use the food I eat to keep myself healthy, and keep my multiple sclerosis under control.

Near the end of last year, I took on the role of Ambassador for the OMS programme, setting up and running a support group for people living in my county (Sussex). OMS stands for Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. It’s a seven step, research-based programme that empowers people with MS to manage their condition with diet and lifestyle, as well as medication if needed. Food is a major part of the programme; the research indicates that a mainly whole-food plant-based diet is the way to go, which is why I wanted to get involved, as that’s my thing! This programme has had a fabulous impact on people’s lives, but it can be challenging, so being an Ambassador means that I can help give support to others nearby, and it also helps me too.

Yesterday we had our latest meet up. Everyone brings an OMS-friendly dish to share. We had a veritable feast, including three different cakes (I of course had to try them all). I had been pondering for a few days about what to take, but then remembered a recipe I had made years ago for my then boyfriend (who is my now husband!). This was in early days of veggie cooking, and I remember it was a bit too hard-core for him. He’d never heard of buckwheat and wasn’t very impressed with my ‘hippie’ offering. The recipe has been improved and refined since then so I decided to see how it went down with the OMS group. Fortunately, everyone loved it, and wanted the recipe, hence this blog post.

Buckwheat benefits from being soaked if you have time, in order to remove some of the phytic acid that can make it less digestible for some people. Phytic acid is a naturally occurring enzyme found in grains, seeds, pulses and nuts that prevents the produce from growing until the conditions are right. This is good for storage, not so good if you struggle to absorb nutrients due to poor gut health. Different foods have different amounts. Cooking often removes most of it; soaking beforehand also helps too – if you remember! Sometimes even an hour in some warm water will help. If you do that with buckwheat, you’ll see the drained water contains a cloudy gloop. That’s the phytic acid making an exit. If you don’t have time, don’t worry too much – the buckwheat gets a good boiling before being baked.

This dish takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes in total to make, so might seem a bit too much like hard work. Don’t be put off though as it can be eaten hot or cold, and freezes really well, perfect to grab for a packed lunch or quick evening meal. Play around with the flavours to fit your tastes. I like the addition of a few chilli flakes to give it a bit extra pizzazz.

So if you fancy a tasty, versatile, thoroughly fibre and plant protein packed meal, this lentil and buckwheat bake is for you. If you would like to know more about the OMS programme, or discover your nearest OMS group, check out their website here.

Lentil and buckwheat bake (makes 9-12 slices depending on how you cut them)

100g buckwheat groats***
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 small bay leaves
1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
175g red lentils
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon tamari
800ml water or vegetable stock
pinch of dried chilli flakes
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
salt and pepper

Heat a medium-sized non-stick frying pan and toast the buckwheat groats for 5 minutes or so until they release a nutty aroma and start to brown slightly. Turn off the heat and tip out onto a plate to stop any further toasting.

Grab a medium-sized saucepan and heat a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom. When bubbling, add the onion, carrot and bay leaf. Sauté for 5 minutes over a medium heat until both start to soften. Stir frequently and don’t let the onion stick to the bottom of the pan – add a little more water if needed. Add the chopped tomato, herbs and tamari and cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the red lentils and toasted buckwheat. Mix together well and cook for a minute, so the flavours start to absorb into the lentils. Carefully pour in the water or vegetable stock, bring to the boil, pop on the lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or so until all the fluid has been absorbed and the mix is thick and gloopy. You  may need to remove the lid for the last 5 minutes to evaporate the last bit of water.

Whilst the mix is simmering, pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and line a square baking tray or dish with baking paper.

Once the mix is thick and gloopy, turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and stir in the chilli flakes, nutritional yeast and season with salt and pepper. Check the flavour and add more seasoning if needed. Spoon the mix into the prepared baking tin – you may wish to sprinkle a few more chilli flakes over the top if you like a little kick. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes or so before cutting – if it’s too hot the mix will fall apart when you cut it.

Using the baking paper, transfer the bake onto a board and cut into 9 – 12 slices (depending on how big you like them). Can be served hot or cold, keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days and freezes well.

*** Soak for 1 hour or over night if needed. Rinse well and pat dry on some kitchen roll before toasting. You will need to toast for about 10 minutes.

 

Buckwheat pancakes for pancake day

It’s pancake day today, or rather it’s Shrove Tuesday in the church calendar, the day that traditionally all the yummy food is eaten up ready for Lent. It’s another religious date that has been commercially hi-jacked; remember the slogan “Don’t forget the pancakes on Jif Lemon Day”? 
Pancakes can be a challenge for anyone eating a free-from diet, whether it’s due to excluding wheat, dairy or eggs. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives out there; my favourite for savoury pancakes is buckwheat. Despite it’s name, buckwheat is not wheat but the seed of a crop that’s related to rhubarb and sorrel. It tends to be classified as a grain because of it’s culinary use, but it is gluten free (some products such as soba noodles tend to mix it with wheat, therefore making it no longer gluten free). A great whole food source of protein and fibre, it’s also got a good whack of magnesium, iron, phytonutrients and is really low in fat. It does have quite a distinctive earthy flavour though, so can be an acquired taste to some!
Of course, galettes in France are traditionally made from buckwheat. Whenever I think of galettes though, I picture India rather than France, due to the wonderful creperie in Bangalore, Chez Mariannick. An oasis of European familiarity in the crazy overstimulation of an Indian city, it’s well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in the area (they’re on TripAdviser).
To make a truly free from buckwheat pancake, all you need is some buckwheat flour, baking soda, salt and water mixed together. You can use non-dairy milk and vanilla if you want slightly creamier and sweeter pancakes – just use one to one measurements i.e.: one cup of buckwheat flour to one cup of milk, one teaspoon vanilla and one of baking soda.
If you fancy something a bit more healthy (and hippyish according to my daughter!), then try these buckwheat and sunflower seed pancakes instead. Using the whole buckwheat groat ensures you are eating the whole food with all the nutrients available. Soaking makes the buckwheat more ‘alive’; you can soak this up to three days allowing it to sprout, releasing even more amazing nutrients. That’s if you plan ahead of course. If you’re more like me and plan things at the last minute, 20 minutes soaking will be just fine.
Buckwheat pancakes
2 cups buckwheat groats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
(apple sauce, cinnamon or vanilla if you want sweet)
First, rinse the buckwheat groats well and place in a glass jar or bowl. Cover with water and leave to soak – somewhere between 20 minutes to 3 days! When you’re ready, pour out into a sieve and rinse well. Pop into a blender along with the other ingredients. Add enough fresh water to cover the top of the the buckwheat and blend until smooth. Poor a ladle full onto a hot pan coated with a little oil. Cook as normal pancakes and enjoy!