DIY Food

that’s also great for your gar­den

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents -

A great, easy-to-grow, grain-free, flour op­tion

Peo­ple tend to think of buck­wheat as a grain. It sort-of looks like one and it is cat­e­gorised as one from a culi­nary per­spec­tive.

But buck­wheat is not a grain or a grass or re­lated to wheat. Its clos­est rel­a­tives are sor­rel and rhubarb. It has been cul­ti­vated for over 3000 years in moun­tain­ous re­gions like Ti­bet and north­ern China where wheat will not grow at high al­ti­tudes.

Buck­wheat noo­dles are a ma­jor fea­ture of Ja­panese (soba), Korean, Rus­sian and north­ern Euro­pean cul­ture. The groats (hulled seeds) are com­monly made into por­ridge, eaten raw, or can be sprouted.

The cur­rent trend is to ‘ac­ti­vate’ or soak buck­wheat be­fore us­ing it. Pan­cakes made from ac­ti­vated seeds have be­come my new favourite break­fast for their nutty, earthy taste. When­ever pos­si­ble, I use or­ganic groats.

Buck­wheat pan­cakes and I go back a long way. I like to think the rea­son I love buck­wheat so much is be­cause I was con­ceived in Canada, home of buck­wheat flap­jacks (pan­cakes). Some­how, a snap­shot of a whole stack of flap­jacks with a knob of but­ter be­tween each one, drip­ping in cas­cades of maple syrup, is an iconic Cana­dian im­age for me.

I asked my dad if he re­mem­bers eat­ing these when he lived in Canada in the 1960s, work­ing in bush camps as a young man. He re­mem­bers lots of flap­jacks and that ev­ery ta­ble had pep­per, salt, and a squirt can of maple syrup.

Flap­jacks are hefty, thick cakes made with bak­ing pow­der or soda, cre­at­ing hun­dreds of lit­tle air holes for the maple syrup to soak into.

How­ever the French side of Canada must have snuck into my culi­nary pref­er­ence genes at a cru­cial mo­ment be­cause I don’t like thick pan­cakes. I much pre­fer crêpes, the thin­ner the bet­ter, with slightly crunchy sides.

That means pan­cake day at our house is a dou­ble pan af­fair. There’s me pour­ing in a min­i­mum of bat­ter and quickly tilt­ing the pan to spread out the mix as thinly as pos­si­ble. My other half Paul is Cana­dian to the core (by birth), cook­ing his much thicker, soak-up-the-syrup flap­jacks.

I have in­cluded both recipes. The ‘ two-ser’ one is from my Cana­dian brother-in-law Chris. The ac­ti­vated crêpe ver­sion is from my tal­ented cir­cus ac­ro­bat friend Da­mara, who lives at the River­side Com­mu­nity in Motueka.

Chris’s mix is made from buck­wheat flour and is not soaked overnight. Da­mara’s ver­sion is soaked. Soaked buck­wheat groats are also known as ‘ buck­i­nis’.

If you’re in­ter­ested in grain-free eat­ing, Kristina would like to in­tro­duce you to a good friend. Words Kristina Jensen

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