seitan is my motor



January 2015



Simple Buckwheat Fries & Einkorn Pancakes

einkorn oat pancakes |

Some more thoughts on the topic of inspiration: I think I do get a lot of it from cookbooks. But it’s not the recipes that inspire me, it’s the ingredients. I realised this when I started to test for the awesome new cookbook project by Tami Noyes and Celine Steen. The Great Vegan Whole Grains Cooking Book will be available in 2016 and it’s going to be full of unique and inspiring grain recipes. Cooking recipes for this book brought me back to a phase where I used to have all kinds of grains stuffed into my pantry. That was when I bought a grain mill and made my own bread. The grain mill gave me a lot of flexibilty when it came to baking. I made whole flours not only from wheat, rye, or spelt but also from farro, oats, buckwheat, einkorn and kamut. But having all those grains around also inspired me to use them in their whole form for everyday meals. Then I stopped baking bread because I let my starter die a couple of times. I used up all the grains and went back to eating expensive and far travelled quinoa instead of cheap and local buckwheat or einkorn.

Testing recipes for Celine and Tami has been very inspiring. I restocked my pantry with whole grains and have been using them a lot not only for test recipes. I use different flours for baking again, especially for those pancakes pictured above, which a certain person in our household demands several times a week.These were made with homemade einkorn flour. The recipe will be at the end of this post. If you don’t have farro flour, you can use another whole grain flour such as wheat or spelt. Pancakes are very hard to mess up and great for experimentation!

I also remembered how much I love oat flour! It can be a bit difficult to grind because it is so soft. But that is also an advantage because you can make it from oats using your food processor.  These cookies are adapted from the Chocolate Almond Bake or No-Bake Cookies from 500 Vegan Recipes.  The original recipe calls for only a handful of ingredients and is super easy to make. I had no chocolate on hand I used 1/4 cup of oil instead and it worked like a charm.

almond oat cookies |

Pancakes are not the only food F is obsessed with lately. She also likes to make pizza. I know I need to stop bragging about my child here, but I think it’s pretty great that a three year old makes her own pizza. We knead the dough together and then she gets a piece to roll out and top. She can do that with no help at all. I like that she’s so interested in cooking and making her own meals. We do not demonise frozen foods or convenience products but I still think that she’ll have a lot of alternatives to frozen pizza once she has to cook for herself. I think that no matter what, knowing how to cook is a great skill to have and I am glad F is starting so early with this. It also teaches her that every family member is responsible for food preparation and she can be part of it, too. Last weekend we were home alone and F decided we should make another pizza. When we were mixing the dough from freshly ground spelt kernels I realised that we had made way to much! I guess I got carried away a bit. It didn’t matter though because leftover pizza dough makes great bread. We made mini spelt breads tossed in poppy and sesame seeds and that way we were set both for dinner and our next breakfast.

mini spelt bread |

If you experiment and improvise a lot, you can sometimes find great new cooking techniques for foods you are not so wild about. For example, I was never a big fan of buckwheat. Many people like to eat it raw (for breakfast cereals) or cooked but I could never deal with its consistensy. Buckwheat doesn’t seem to absorb much liquid. If you mix it with water, it will get a texture similar to soaked flax and chia. And I am not a fan of slimey foods. So since all that didn’t work for me, I ground the raw buckwheat into a flour and tried to use it in baked goods. It’s is pretty popular with gluten-free folks and I thought I should give it another chance. But when I made my first waffles with buckwheat flour I realised that I had to combine it with many other ingredients to make its much to prominent earthy flavour go away. So after a bit of experimentation I went for a gluten-free flour mix instead, including buckwheat and other flours. The waffles I made based on that mixture were actually pretty good! But I still think that buckwheat flour is a much better ingredient for breads or other savoury baked goods than it is for sweet waffles or pancakes. And I still don’t like it cooked except for one recipe, which I really love. One time when I wanted polenta fries but was out of polenta, I cooked some buckwheat instead, processed it, and placed it in a baking dish. Once it was cooled it was very easy to slice and had exactly the consistency of cooked and cooled polenta. And it also tasted fantastic, especially when mixed with garlic. So after all that ranting here is a recipe for simple buckwheat fries that made me, the buckwheat hater, turn into a buckwheat fan. The fries are really easy to make and you can both fry and bake them. You can also store the prepared and processed buckwheat in the fridge and fry it whenever you want. The sticks make a wonderful snack but are a fantastic side dish, too. I like to combine them with stir fried bok choi and chickpeas. Oh, and don’t forget the hot sauce.

These buckwheat fries are so easy to make and they are the only buckwheat recipe you will ever need. Even if you are a buckwheat hater, you will love these! They are both crispy and moist and they are also gluten-free and vegan.

Simple Buckwheat Fries

100 g (3.5 oz) buckwheat
240 ml (1 cup) water or broth
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying or baking

Combine buckwheat and water. Cook buckwheat cook for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the buckwheat is soft. Also check your package for specific directions on cooking buckwheat.
Immediately place the hot grain in a food processor with garlic and salt and process until most of the buckwheat is finely ground. Transfer to a greased baking dish about the size of a loaf pan (Of course you can also use a greased loaf pan!) and use a spaltula to press the batter down evenly. Let cool completely.
Once cooled, cut into 1-2 cm (1/2-1 inch) thick strips.
Heat a pan and brush with oil. Fry the sticks on all sides until crispy. Add more oil if necessary. If you want to bake these, brush them with oil and bake until crispy.

Einkorn Oat Pancakes

120 g (1 cup) einkorn flour (use spelt or whole wheat as a substitute)
30 g (1/4 cup) oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
240 ml (1 cup) water or soy milk
60 g (1/4 cup) apple sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
oil for frying

Combine all pancake ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add oil. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the pan and fry until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Einkorn flour browns very fast so check often and don’t burn the pancakes.
Serve with jam or sugar.



January 2015



Savoury Buckwheat Pancakes with Roasted Sunchokes and Chickpeas

savoury buckwheat pancakes |

Recently a fellow German blogger asked me to do a little interview. One of the questions was: “Where do you get the inspiration for your recipes?” I had to think quite a while before answering. Most of the time my inspiration comes out of nowhere. I have a certain ingredient in mind and then I start thinking about what to make from that ingredient and how to serve it. I think about new flavour combinations, colours, and themes. But for this recipe the first inspiration did not come from my head, it came from my daughter. She loves us to read her books and she listens to audio plays. Among her favourite stories are Pettson and Findus. Findus, the cat, loves pancakes and Pettson, the old man Findus lives with, makes them for him all the time. In one of the books there is a picture about how exactly they are made: in a cast iron pan with about six to eight indentations. Once F saw this, she wanted pancakes for breakfast every morning. But she wouldn’t let me make them alone. She wanted to help and she had very precise thoughts about how they should look like. “First”, she told me, “we need maaaaany ingredients. And then we need to stir them.” So we added all of the ingredients to a bowl and F stirred. Then she said I was not allowed to make large pancakes. “Findus only eats small pancakes.” And to make sure I wouldn’t cheat, she dragged a chair in front of the stove and climbed up to check. This is how I cook in my kitchen these days, people! I have fierce competition and supervision.

After all these pancake mornings I thought about changing things up a bit. I tried to think about pancakes in a different context and with warm, wintery ingredients. Buckwheat flour came to my mind first, because of its quite unique rustic and earthy flavour. In my opinion it’s best highlighted in savoury foods so I wanted to make sugar-free pancakes. Then I thought about different meal types. If we can have pancakes for breakfast, why not for lunch as well? And then complementing flavours came to my mind, which would have to be quite wintery as well. Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) are a wonderful and aromatic winter vegetable. They taste sweet, earthy, and nutty at the same time and to enhance all these flavours, they should be roasted. Just like buckwheat flour they have a very unique taste both are so differerent that they are not competing each other. The pancake recipe was adapted from this sweet version and it was quite easy to veganise. There’s no need for an egg replacer but since the recipe calls both for an egg and yoghurt, I added some blended chickpeas into the batter to make up for it. Both the pancakes and the vegetables are seasoned with fresh ginger, which makes the dish a little bit hot and you can leave it out if you are serving this to kids (or other people) who are sensitive to heat.


Savoury Buckwheat Pancakes with Roasted Sunchokes and Chickpeas (yields 8 pancakes)

For the pancakes:
180 g (1 1/2 cups) buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated
360 ml (1 1/2 cups) water
90 g (1/2 cup) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
oil for frying

Place flour, starch, baking powder, salt, ginger, and garlic in a bowl and mix well. Combine water and chickpeas in a blender and purée until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until the batter is smooth.
Preheat a large pan and brush with oil. Use a serving tablespoon and place about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of batter in the pan. I usually cook three pancakes at once. Cook until the pancake is lightly browned and flip around.
You can keep these warm in the oven until ready to serve or you can reheat them in a toaster.

For the roasted sunchokes:
300 g (10.6 oz or 2 cups cut pieces) sunchokes, peeled and cut into cubes (1 cm or 1/2 inch)
90 g (1/2 cup) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Combine all ingredients in a small oven save dish and mix well. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the sunchokes are soft. stir from time to time and season with salt and pepper once the vegetables are done. Serve over pancakes with a salad on the side.