Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Buckwheat Nut Roast and Easter Reflections

As is our family tradition, we had Easter Sunday lunch at my mum and dad's place.  I took down a suitably celebratory buckwheat and sweet potato nut roast and a batch of marzipan choc chip cookies that I had made the previous day.  The house was groaning with all the food my family brought to the table.  When it comes to eating, we are wealthy, if not always healthy!

The nut roast was one that I have created for my Neb at Nut Roast event.   Ever since using buckwheat in a salad recently, I have been smitten with the groat.  It is so soft and nubbly.  My dad said it reminded him of sago (well actually he said it reminded him of the stuff like fish eggs and I thought he meant caviar but we worked out he meant sago).

I decided to make a GF nut roast because I also had some rice flakes that I wanted to use.  I have made a few gluten free nut roasts before.  As I cooked I thought of how nuts bring a creamy rather than nutty texture to most of my nut roasts.  Buckwheat groats bring a wonderful comforting softness that complements the nuts.  It doesn't harden up like rice or dissolve into mush like millet.

I must also give a nod in the direction of Ricki's Sweet Potato and Kasha Burgers (kasha generally referring to buckwheat groats).  While I still haven't managed to make them, they came to mind when I saw a few stray sweet potatoes in the fridge.  The sweet potato added moisture more than discernible flavour. 

The nut roast was a great success.  It can be cut in slices if you treat it gently but it will crumble rather more easily, as I found when I used up the leftovers (recipe coming soon).  I had it with roast potatoes and pumpkin, cauliflower cheese and peas, plus a spoonful of beetroot and orange chutney.  Fantastic!  E said it was one of his favourites of my nut roasts.  He loved the texture and flavours.  I found it quite strongly seasoned, but could not quite put my finger on why.

Dessert was a tyranny of choice.  GF Chocolate Cake with Raspberries (from this month's Australian Women's Weekly), trifle, pavolva, caramel tart, and caramel ANZAC tarts.  Possibly my favourites were the chocolate cake which I highly recommend and the tarts inspired by Matt Preston.  The latter were a timely nod in the direction of ANZAC Day which is so close to Easter this year.  My mum made her own ANZAC biscuits as the tart cases, made caramel out of a tin of condensed milk for the filling and topped them with some ganache.  Oh, so so so good!  Sylvia made a decent attempt at the piece of pav as well as sampling a couple of other things on the my plate.

I can't mention Easter without referring to hot cross buns.  My mum bakes them every year.  Above is a plate of her HCBs.  They were lovely, though we were so full from dessert that they didn't get a look in until supper.  I still have quite a few in my freezer too and am looking forward to making my way through them.

Easter also means eggs.  Not the kind that we get from these beady-eyed birds.  Chocolate.  You know.  The sort of chocolate that the factory has swept up off its floor and remelted into egg shapes.  Not my favourite way to eat the stuff though I have had a few.  Just to be sociable, of course.  Many eggs changed hands but are really for the kids these days.  We gave Sylvia some little eggs and it took three hours before I found her with half an egg in her mouth, complete with the wrapper.

The weather was just right.  Gentle autumnal sunshine.  Perfect for kids to play outside: kicking a footy about, spending hours on the swing, riding a tricycle or playing a spot of cricket.  Perfect unless you are Grace who was unlucky enough to get hit in the head with a cricket bat.  She was happier about the Easter egg hunt.  My brother Dave cunningly hid the eggs in the garden and the kids had lots of fun finding them.

Above you can see that my mum and dad's lemon tree is heavy with ripe fruit.  So it seems that this time of year is full as a state school.  Everything is happening within a week or two this year: Easter, E's birthday, ANZAC Day, a Royal Wedding and my blog anniversary.  Lots to tell you.  More soon.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe
This time last year: NCR Very Garlicky Vegetable Soup
This time three years ago: Historic Cookbooks and Retro Gratin

Buckwheat and sweet potato nut roast
original recipe
serves 4-6

175ml buckwheat groats
385g sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil (or less)
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 baby carrot (or more)
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (about 4)
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 tbsp tamari
1 1/2 tsp bush spice marinade (or 1 tsp stock powder)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup rice flakes (or oats if not GF)
1 egg (optional)
 cook for about 45 min on 180 until browned and firm to touch

Cook the buckwheat according to packet directions (I rinsed mine and simmered covered for 20 minutes in 350ml boiling water).

Prick the skins of the sweet potato and bake in a hot oven for about 1 hour or until soft.  You don't need to cool but it makes easier to take the skins off.  Peel and mash.

Perheat oven to 180 C.  Grease and line a loaf tin (mine is 13 x 22 cm) unless you are using a silicone loaf pan and even then a little baking paper in the bottom of the tin can help.  NB Silicone pans are good for transporting because you can keep it in the pan overnight or on a journey, and they also are good for reheating in the microwave.

Heat olive oil in a heavy based large frypan and fry the onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms for about 15 minutes on a medium heat.  They should be fairly dry by the time they are done.

Mix cooked buckwheat, mashed sweet potato, fried vegies and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Tip into prepared tin.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and the loaf is firm to touch.  Serve warm.  You can slice this but it is quite fragile and needs to be handled with care because it crumbles easily.

On the Stereo:
Am Himmel mit Feuer: Art Absconds


  1. oh this nut roast sounds lovely - as does your Easter celebrations!

    Ps - I just might be making my nut roast for your challenge tonight ;)

  2. sounds great, I haven't made anything with buckwheat groats, will give them a go once I finish stuff in my full pnatry.

    I only just realised that you can pat the kitty on the sidebar.

  3. What a lovely, lovely Easter - cricket bat to the head notwithstanding! Oooh, are you planning a Royal Wedding feast? When they first got engaged I thought I would, but this week has turned out to be so busy I don't have time. It would've been fun though!

    I'm so in awe of your family's commitment to dessert too. Glorious!

  4. Thanks Lisa - the nut roast was great - I am v excited to see what nut roast you make

    Thanks K - yes the kitty is lots of fun - patting the chest makes it purr - and I highly recommend buckwheat groats - I need to buy more as I have now finished my packet

    thanks Hannah - just haggis nachos for the royal wedding - no energy for fancy feast though it would be fun - am sure my family could do a great dessert spread for it if we weren't in so many different places on the day

  5. Ooooh, a sweet potato nut roast - sounds good! My nut roast was made before Easter and will pop up on Saturday.

  6. Thanks Cakelaw - will look forward to your nut roast

  7. Wow what a feast, looks fantastic! Your Mum's HCB's look really good. Love the light in your photos, could be nowhere else but Oz :)

  8. Buckwheat and sweet potato was actually one of the combinations I tried but it was too soft to call a "roast" (so I made it into pate!). ;) I am so thrilled that you love buckwheat--one of my favorite "grains" (actually a seed, I think). This nutroast sounds great, and what an Easter feast! Hope Sylvia didn't eat any of the egg wrapper ;)

  9. What a lovely nut roast, I will have to try it :)
    Buckwheat is delicious and somewhat underrated - sadly, so I'm glad you used it in your roast.
    But where did you get the bush spice mix from?

  10. I love the lemon tree! I don't think I've ever really seen them around here. This nut roast sounds really good - love that it has sweet potato in it. I tried kasha (which I thought was the roasted version of buckwheat) and really hated it so I've been scared of all buckwheat things. But I should give regular buckwheat another chance!


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)