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cookies

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti “Make half your grains whole grains.”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti … a nice way to feed the blog in the new year, a tad late perhaps. Life has been a bit of a whiz, things that happen often least expected, yet as they say, life goes on. Every time I thought I’d post on the blog, something new happened. Then I suddenly discovered a shop in the neighbourhood selling locally sourced buckwheat groats. Pretty mundane and boring for most of the world, yet almost a mini celebration for me.Buckwheat groats Buckwheat groats are gluten free seeds from a plant related to rhubarb. The outer husk is pulled away and the grain-like fruit is harvested and eaten. Buckwheat is very nutritious, making it popular in many nations across the globe. Buckwheat provides complete protein, including all the essential amino acids. These soft white seeds have a mild flavor, but when toasted or roasted, they have a delightfully intense flavor. Groats can be steam-cooked like rice for salads and side dishes or ground in your own mill into fresh flour. The robust flavor of this quick-cooking gluten free grain is perfect for salads, soups and cereal. Use buckwheat groats in any recipe that calls for whole grains.

buckwheat groatsFood connects are strange! These heart shaped seeds had me mesmerized. I still remember my fascination with this pseudo cereal when our Ukrainian friend fed them to our 6 month old daughter every morning in Moscow way back in 1996. She always talked about how good they were as cereal, how they had been brought up on them etc.  I’d heard a load about them, read a bit about them, often wondered if I should order them online, yet laziness got the better of me. Then the day I saw them on the shelf, they were mine in a heartbeat. I was so excited, so raced home to first get a close look at them babies! Chocolate buckwheat groats biscottiRather lost at sea with my new ingredient,  it was back to the google gods for help. I soaked some overnight and thought I’d do a salad with them. Left them to drain the next morning, and was making a batch of biscotti, and then thought why not? Why ever not can I steal some groats into my biscotti, and that’s just how this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti came to be. The biscotti turned out to be quite good if I may say so myself. Attracted a lot of interest from a very curious dog too!

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti A few days earlier, in the first week of January, I was contacted by the the local TEDx team here inviting me to host a TED talk. Did catch me by surprise, and it took me a bit to figure out if I was good enough for TED. Well eventually after much nervous mulling over I said yes  and got together  a small talk. Deeba Rajpal TEDxFor the uninitiated, the TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.”

Be local, stay seasonalMy talk was in a light vein touching upon my graduation from refined foods to whole foods, briefly touching upon my journey from college to food blogging, recipe development and food styling. The mainstay of the conversation was of course to rethink what’s on our plate, and try and look beyond foods with no nutrition and empty calories. Not the words of a food researcher or historian, just ideas from someone who enjoys getting good healthy fresh food on the table.

Just desserts, wholefoodsThe audience was great, so enthusiastic and appreciative, that I think most of the nervousness melted away! I think they did hear me out to the very end, as my last slide mentioned this biscotti, and that I was carrying some in my bag just in case someone wanted a nibble. Sure enough, once I left the auditorium, there was a line of kids from the audience outside. One sweet lad hesitatingly asked, “Ma’am, you said you had biscotti in your bag. Do you?”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti The rest, as they say, was history! The same evening I received a mail from a smart  bespectacled young lady from the audience, praising the biscotti, discussing recipes, and asking for advise! My closing line at the talk was meant to be “If you can inspire even one, you have left a mark in this world.”. I think I missed the line out there as the talk was extempore, but here it is anyway! I guess I left a mark!

Recipe: Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti your picture

Summary: Crisp, chocolaty, satisfying and wholegrain, this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti is healthy delicious. Keep it on hand for a quick nibble! Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus resting time
Ingredients:

  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 50g oats
  • 60g buckwheat groats, soaked overnight, drained
  • 75g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 15g yogurt
  • 50g butterscotch chips or chocolate chips
  • 15g brown sugar for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a heavy duty cookie sheet, or line with parchment.
  2. Stir together the wholewheat flour, oats and groats in a bowl. Reserve.
  3. Place the melted chocolate, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until mixed. Add the dry mix and mix on low speed until it all comes together. Add the yogurt if required. {The biscotti dough is meant to be quite firm}
  4. Stir in the butterscotch/chocolate chips, or walnuts if you like.
  5. Bring the dough together with your hands, divide into 2 and shape into logs.
  6. Transfer to prepared tray, spritz gently with water, and sprinkle over with brown sugar.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes until the logs are firm to touch.
  8. Take out from oven, and reduce the temperature to 160C.
  9. Slice the logs thinly, about 1/2″ slices, and lay flat on the cookie tray.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until firm. {return to the oven if they feel a little soft. Biscotti should be firm and dry}
  11. Cool completely on cookie rack, then store in an airtight box.

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“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents”
M Chiarello

Crackers & DipsWholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips…. for times like these when the game is up. Nothing unites the world better than sport and food. I think the two were meant to go hand in hand. Think world cup cricket, soccer, or then super bowl, and the first thing that comes to mind if food! OK, after the game of course! With the ICC  Cricket World Cup warming up nicely, it’s imperative to keep the food going!

Crackers & Dips Yesterday spent 20 minutes rolling out crackers … thin, crisp, delicious Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers. Paired them off with 3 quick dips. Dips are an out and out game favourite, and I have gone with simple ones! A Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut Dip {earthy, smoky, finger licking good}, a Classic Garlicky Cream Dip {tangy, creamy, GARLICKY ... an all time favourite} and a seasonal Rocket & Cashew Dip {where sharp peppery leaves meet the sweetness of cashew nuts}. Ingredients for dipsDips are really really versatile to throw together. Make them using what you have on hand. Herbs, seasonal produce, cold pressed oils, garlic, garlic greens, onion scapes, legumes, citrus fruit, nuts, cheese, spices. Get creative and follow your taste buds. You will be surprised at how much you can create with so little! To thin them down you can add coconut milk, citrus juice, single cream, sour cream, buttermilk etc.

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & DipsOnce ready, which is a matter of minutes usually, you can dip into them of course, or add them to your cheese platter. There’s so much more you can do. Slather sandwiches with them, toss them through a pasta, top grilled chicken or fish with dip. If you are more adventurous, them use them in a bread like the French Fougasse. I love that you can tweak the flavours as you like, and also that dips embrace local and seasonal produce whole heartedly!

Wholegrain Crackers & Dips Why so many nibbles of late you might wonder? Well these are game days. Cricket, cricket and more cricket. From games you expect nothing and get the word, and from games you expect the world and hit rock bottom, the sports world is a funny place to be in. The cricket world cup down under has begun,and how! Talk sports and there is another huge thing in common …FOOD!

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & Dips And that’s where we DIP! These are simple ones to rustle up. You could even do a  make ahead simple hummus that I just shared with oat & cheese crackers. On the side, you could go the healthy crudite way or whole grain crackers maybe. Else grab the bag of chips, nachos, pita chips…whatever. Dig right in. foodEvery major gaming event, be it the super bowl, soccer or the cricket world cup, churns up an appetite for food, yummy, good, delicious food. These dips will hit the ball out of the park … like South Africa did today! If you are deft in the kitchen, and love getting quick stuff together, then here are a few other options.Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian KalácsThe India Pakistan thriller saw us polishing off  rustic Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács Do a quick version with cooked chicken tossed in the rocket cashew pesto dip and cheese! Or skip the chicken and go vegetarian. Next was the India South Africa match. That saw a rerun of Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers with a quick Hummus! Delicious times indeed!  Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus 8If you aren’t the cooking types, but certainly the eating types, then your best option would be a quick call to Food Panda to order your favourite food. It’s an online food-ordering service that makes it easy for customers to find their favorite food conveniently from home, work or on the road and get it delivered. It is now active in 30 cities in India and has over 4000+ restaurants available and the delivery of your food is free.

ticketThe nice thing is that during the Cricket World Cup,  Food Panda is running a “One child’s mid day meals collaboration” called Ticket to Cheer. ​In rece​nt months, the company has begun to get involved in helping for civic change of India, supporting NGO’s projects etc. This particular campaign is a novel concept. They are offering a platform where people can donate, in order to give mid-meals to 1.4 million kids for a whole school year. It’s certainly worth a shout out! As we cheer on our favourite teams, give Food Panda a cheer for the good work they are doing as well!

Oh and don’t forget to participate in the Philips giveaway here. Just a day to go!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers

Summary: Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips. Crisp, light addictive crackers. Top them with spices or enjoy them as is. Crackers don’t get simpler than these!
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 200g wholewheat flour
  • 100g oats
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 150ml water {approximately}
  • Olive oil for brushing over
  • Zaatar and Sumac for sprinkling {optional}

Method:

  1. Place first five ingredients in bowl of food processor and blend to mix. Gradually add water to make a firm, pliable dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly dusted surface, take a quarter of the dough and roll it out as thinly as you can to a rectangular shape to fit the tray. Transfer dough to the parchment paper, brush with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over with Zaatar if desired.
  4. Take a pastry / pizza cutter and cut into desired shapes.
  5. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until light golden brown. Keep an eye on them towards the end as they can over brown pretty quick.
  6. Cool completely on racks. Store in an airtight container. Serve with dips.


Recipe: Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut
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Summary: Earthy, smoky, finger licking good

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  •  2 red bell peppers
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 50g walnuts
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Place the bell peppers and garlic and roast in an oven at 180C  for 30 minutes, until the bell peppers are charred. I roasted them in my AirFryer. Place in a covered bowl and allow to cool. Peel and deseed the bell peppers, squeeze the garlic out.
  2. Place walnuts in food processor with all the remaining ingredients. Pulse to desired consistency. Stand for 20 minutes for flavours to mature. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}


Recipe: Classic Garlicky Cream  Dip
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Summary: Creamy, garlicky and tangy, this is an all time favourite!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 400g yogurt, hung
  • 3 finely chopped cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic greens {or chives, maybe fresh coriander}
  •  finely chopped green chili
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Place yogurt in a large bowl and whisk well until smooth and lump free. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste and check seasoning. Add more lime or salt if required.
  2. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}


Recipe: Rocket & Cashew Dip
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Summary: A dip where peppery rocket meets sweet cashew nuts. Thin this one down with cream cheese or single cream if you like. You can also add some parmesan.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 50g rocket leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  Salt to taste
  • Dash of lime juice

Method:

  1. Place cashew nuts and rocket leaves in bowl of processor and pulse until everything is chopped quite fine. Make sure not to process it to a paste. We want to feel the texture of the nuts.
  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and blend. Season with salt and add a dash of lime juice.
  3. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}

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“Comfort food….food that reassures. Is different things to different people.”
David Tanis

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & HummusOat & Wheat Cheese Crackers, and a quick Hummus…for one of those days when you are tired, feeling under the weather and craving comforting food. For days like this only quick, simple and flavourful seriously works. For days like these, a food processor is your best friend. Nothing to beat a workhorse that does everything, takes the work out of the cooking or baking, pampers you unknowingly, and delivers like nothing else!

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus I had a bunch of chickpeas left over as I boiled extra the other day while stirring up a quick chickpea curry. I always boil extra chickpeas as having some on hand offers plenty of quick rustle up food ideas. Salads for one. I made this layered savoury chickpea parfait often. Doubles up as a healthy, filling and quite delicious tiffin too!

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus But I was in a mood for crackers. Just one of those strange days where I craved baking something savoury, and had an idea in my head. Working as a fit foodie makes me constantly strive for fun wholegrain alternatives to things. They got to be yum too. I used butter in these crackers, but I think you could easily use olive oil. I might throw in some ground nut meal too the next time to substitute some of the flour. Just a thought…and more ideas to work on!Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus The hummus happened as I was inspired by a quick hummus recipe that popped into my inbox not so long ago. I recall it having sesame paste as optional and it stayed in my head. There is nothing much to a hummus or chickpea dip. Just throw a bunch of ingredients into the faithful food processor, give them a whir. Balance flavours as you so desire.

Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus More garlic if you are like us, more lime juice too. Plenty of extra virgin olive oil, maybe fresh herbs. Skip the smoked  paprika if you don’t have some on hand, degi mirch {kashmiri mirch} or red chili flakes. I have to say though that smoked paprika adds some fine earthy, moorish flavours to the dip…

Wholemeal Crackers with Baba Ghanoush & Muhammara There are other dips you could try. A Quark, Garlic and Chives Dip, Baba Ghanoush or Muhamarra would be wonderful here too. Else if nothing else, some nice cheese, fruit and wine will complete your cheese board.

[print_this]Recipe: Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers
your picture

Summary: Whole grain healthy crackers, bursting with flavours. Crisp, healthy and delicious, they’re a great cheese board option.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 30g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
  • 30g cheddar, grated
  • 15g finely chopped garlic greens {about 1/4 cup}
  • 1tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
  • Wholewheat flour for dusting

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, or lightly grease them.
  2. Place the oats, wholewheat flour, salt and baking soda in bowl of food processor and mix on low for 30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except buttermilk and pulse to mix until you get a breadcrumb like mix.
  4. With the processor running on low speed, gradually add the buttermilk 1 tbsp at a time until the dough seems to come together. You will need about a 1/4 cup maybe less.
  5. Turn dough in a bowl and knead together very briefly till it comes together, 20-30 seconds. Divide into 2, then roll out and cut as desired.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes in a low oven until light golden brown and crisp.
  7. Cool completely and check if crisp. If not leave in a low oven or another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Cool and store in an airtight box.

Recipe: Chickpea Hummus

Summary: A simple chickpea dip, Hummus is ideal to serve with crackers. Hummus is great as a sandwich filling too.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 30g white sesame seeds , toasted
  • 200g {1cup} chickpeas, boiled
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 stalks chives, chopped
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp roasted ground cumin
  • Water as required {2-3tbsp}
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over, paprika and chives for garnish

Method:

  1. Place the sesame seeds in bowl of food processor and grind.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except water and process until ground into a smooth paste. Gradually add a little water at a time, and continue to process until you get desired consistency
  3. Taste and adjust salt, lime juice etc.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle over with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over smoked paprika and chopped chives.
  5. Serve with the crackers, crudites etc.

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