Buckwheat tart with kale, Duch carrots and chèvre

Do you know when to use the terms as “tart”, “quiche” or “pie”. Do you find it confusing? They all represent the same dish just with tiny differences. With “tart” you have to be precise if it is sweet or savoury, because it could be either. “Quiche” is always savoury so you are safe there. “Pie” could also be equally confusing as “tart” so make sure to name it properly. When you add a flan or galette to the list, phew, it is so confusing that you really want to go to the basic and use the name as you need it.

A savoury tart with kale and a few more vegetables and of course a goat’s cheese would be a precise name for this one. I emphasise the goat’s cheese as for me a savoury tart alway goes with it. I am afraid my love for this cheese makes me less creative but I promise that any new ideas will be shared here as soon as they come along.

When I make a tart or quiche base I use a simple ratio method of 2 portions of flour, 1 portion of butter and liquid (quite often just water) to bind it. To the savoury tarts I add various herbs, fresh or dry. To the sweet versions besides just a bit of sugar, I add preferable spices. The rest is a creative process of adding different fillings and that’s up to you and your preferences.

I used kale, red onion, Dutch carrots and chèvre for this one. Although all the ingredients in this tart are quite powerful, just recently I was introduced to the site that tells you more about superfood like kale and I would like to share it with you.

Buckwheat tart with kale, Duch carrots and chèvre

200 g buckwheat flour

100 g rice flour

150 g butter

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons water

For the filling:

1 bunch kale

1 red onion

1 bunch Dutch carrots

4 eggs

150 g ricotta

80 ml greek yoghurt

30 g  grated parmesan cheese plus 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon sea salt

100 g chèvre

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a tart tin (20 cm round shape) a with removable base. If  using one without the removable base then line the tart tin with baking paper so it’s easier to remove the tart once baked.

In a medium size bowl mix the flours, salt and add butter chopped into very small cubes. Crumble the butter with fingers until is the size of peas. Add egg, water and and kneed the dough just until all is mixed and smooth. Leave in an airtight container in the fridge for an hour to rest.

In the meantime make the filling. Peal and slice the onion. Wash kale and remove the stems. Chop coarsely. Place large pot on the stove add olive oil and sauté onions for three minutes. Add kale and salt, stir and cover with lid. Leave on a low heat for another minute or until kale changes colour into a bright green. Take off the the stove and remove the lid to slow down the cooking process.

Wash carrots using a sponge, carefully removing all the soil or dust. Remove the green parts.

In a medium size bowl mix eggs, add salt, ricotta, parmesan and yoghurt and stir until all combined.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll between two sheets of baking paper into a round shape, 5 cm in diameter bigger than the size of the tart tin. Transfer the tart base into the tart tin. Arrange, trim and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom of the tart base with a fork and leave it in the freezer for another half an hour.

Once tart base is well chilled take it out of the freezer, line with baking paper, fill with beans and bake for solid 20 minutes.

Take the tart base out of the oven and fill with onion and kale mixture. Pour the eggs and cheeses mixture on the top.

Arrange Dutch carrots on the top, pressing them gently into the filling. Grate parmesan on top and bake for  40 minutes or until carrots are baked.

Sprinkle with chèvre just before serving.

Buckwheat tea cookies as the perfect ending to a dinner party

This is as close to perfection as anyone can get – in my modest opinion… to finish such a pompous sentence I’ll add – when it comes to cookies! It’s actually hard to continue writing after this statement. Then again it was hard to do anything after I baked these. I spend some significant time just staring at them. They are some mesmerising cookies!

I should have been more prepared as small treats like these are not an unknown subject to me. There is a significant list of similar treats in my recipe book. You guessed, the ones that come from my family background, written down in a shabby and worn down but valuable book. There are still a few recipes from the same book I’d like to share here with you but not this one. This one was inspired by a lady whose work I admire and whose treats I can’t get enough of – Alice Medrich.

I simply loved these the first time I saw them and had to bake them – straight away. Due to the rush and lack of ingredients the original recipe asked for, I made a quite similar but not the same dessert. The ingredients I had in my pantry the first time I baked these became my first choice because we all loved them so much. We baked these cookies a few times before our final grand demonstration at a gluten free dinner party we organised for our dear friends. I had no doubt that these cookies would be accepted and loved but it still felt good when people who are highly informed about gluten free products were happy to be treated with these.

I know that the idea of tea cookies will be automatically linked to an afternoon tea party and that is absolutely right… but I’ll tell you something – these are fantastic with a glass of wine and perfectly acceptable as an after dinner dessert. So, pick your own time to serve these and be happy about it.

“Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile!” – Mark Twain

I love this quote and it reflects so much on these cookies that I had to add it to this post because these will make you smile and the smile will last for a long time. It’s been proven many times now.

Buckwheat tea cookies

50 gr buckwheat flour

30 gr rice flour

50 gr oat flour

70 gr roasted almonds – ground

1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

40 gr raw sugar

80 gr butter – room temperature

30 gr cream cheese

2 tablespoons jam (I used a mix of strawberry & raspberry jam)

powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 175C and line baking tin with baking paper. Roast almonds (with skin on) for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely before grinding them using a food processor, blender, mortar & pestle or good old nut grinder.

Mix all flours in a medium sized bowl. Add baking powder, sea salt, sugar and almond meal. Stir with a wooden spoon just to combine all ingredients.

Add butter, cream cheese, vanilla paste and work on dough with fingers until it becomes nice and smooth. Sometimes I find that I need to add extra flour in order to get the dough so that it doesn’t stick to my fingers. In that case I add buckwheat flour. Just be careful not to add too much and end up with very firm dough.

Wrap the dough in a clear plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and leave in the fridge overnight.

Once ready take it out from the fridge and leave for 5 minutes on the work bench before starting to form small (app 30 gr) balls (dough this size makes app 20 cookies). Place them in a baking tin lined with baking paper, making sure to leave an extra space between cookies as they will spread a bit. Bake for 25 minutes or until you get a nice brownish colour. Handle with extra care as they will crumble easily while still hot.

They are quite nice just dusted with powdered sugar but I wanted mine with jam so I pressed the centre of the each cookie with a wooden spoon handle, half way through. It was very easy to do it and the wooden spoon handle idea- very clever!

Leave them in baking tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Fill dented parts with jam, dust with powdered sugar and serve with a smile!

Buckwheat chocolate tart

Baking with buckwheat flour is such a natural thing to do in my baking world. Adding  chocolate to any recipe with buckwheat flour, again, makes perfect sense to me but this time sadly, something went wrong. The most confusing and stressful part was that I couldn’t even say what. It looked like the tart refused to talk to me. No response whatsoever just a silence and deep chocolate darkness. Food is a reflection of our soul, mine is in need of a decadent combination of buckwheat and chocolate and I don’t give up easily. The tart, which was mercilessly falling apart on me, needed to be made again and once the matter was settled I started all over again. One of the obvious problems, which I can see now, is that when I make something constantly and I think  I am in no need of a recipe, mysterious and sometimes unsolvable problems can occur. Once I realised that I really do need to rely on figures,  and not just on my sometimes volatile emotions, I decided to make a firm promise to myself to use pen and paper in the kitchen as much as any other tool !

Actually I think I might be a bit nostalgic because this tart feels like a good bye to one home and soon to say hello to another. It’s Autumn in Europe, the season of yellow, brown and gold colours. No wonder buckwheat is on my mind. The nutritious flour with a taste that is enough on it’s own but of course can be enriched with many other ingredients. This sweet tart will bring your family together and make you feel warm and festive. With a cup of coffee or tea could make a wonderful afternoon tea and at this very moment I am thinking – girls only gathering. Friends I didn’t see for a whole year who can’t wait to share all our stories that had to wait until we see each other. Truly looking forward to those days of joy, laughter and of course cakes! Lets start with this one to celebrate friendships!

“I would far rather have two or three lilies of the valley gathered for me by a person I like, than the most expensive bouquet that could be bought!” – Elizabeth Gaskell

Buckwheat chocolate tart

150 gr buckwheat flour

100 gr plain flour

50 gr rice flour

100 gr butter

50 gr roasted hazelnuts

50 gr roasted almonds

100 gr raw sugar

4 tablespoons cold milk plus extra if needed

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

250 gr apricot jam

for ganache:

350 gr good quality dark chocolate

300 ml full cream

This tart is made in an 11″ tart pan, which is rather large. If you want to make a smaller one, the measurements need to be adjusted accordingly.

The easiest way to make the dough would be to use a food processor, which is what I did but it can be mixed by hand or in a stand mixer. I used roasted nuts, for the extra flavour and that would be the first thing that needs to be done and the very good thing is that it can be done days in advance. Grind nuts in a processor until fine. Add flours, sugar, butter, eggs and 4 tablespoons of milk and vanilla paste. Pulse until everything is combined. Take dough out and roll to a round shape 32 cm in diameter. Transfer into a tart pan, press into a tart pan shape and leave in fridge over night or in a freezer up to a month, before baking. Bake on 150C for 15 minutes. Can be kept in the fridge for 5 days once baked as well.

Chocolate ganache is one of the gorgeous things that are so easy to make but they look so luxurious. Plus it is chocolate we are talking about here and that is always a luxury to enjoy. Boil full cream, remove from the stove and add chocolate. Mix with wooden spatula until chocolate is dissolved. Leave at room temperature to cool before using. To finish the tart, spread apricot jam and top up with chocolate ganache. That is all, really. Enjoy!

Chocolate buckwheat cookies

Buckwheat flour and I have a rather long history. The first thing that would cross my mind and is related to this flour, would have to be pastry sheets made of buckwheat flour and all the beautiful pies made out of them. Cheese and spinach to start with then apple pie, pumpkin pie and any berry pie and I can go on like this forever, obviously. I am quite sure you get the picture but just in case, I’ll tell you one more story: Last year my son and I made a trip across the world to visit the grandparents. We hadn’t seen each other for some time and we were all looking forward to it. Alas, when we arrived to my mum’s house late in the evening, we were all tired and Maksim had a temperature as well but I can still remember how my heart melted when I saw the choice of food my mum had made for us. A buckwheat filo pastry goat cheese and spinach pie. I could not think of anything that would make me happier or anything else that could bring back so many memories. Maksim didn’t eat much that evening or any other actually whereas with me it was quite the opposite. Continue reading “Chocolate buckwheat cookies”

grey clouds and fresh grape

Buckwheat cake

It was a gloomy day. The sun was hiding behind clouds like it was never going to appear again. Occasionally a few drops of rain would make their way through the greyness. We were all having a lazy day, not willing to leave the house. In my case that almost always means, extra baking. To have nutritious food, to lift the spirit, to make the day more productive, to have fun with my son who is always hungry when it comes to food, fun and knowledge. Many, many good reasons. When you add to that a newly bought baking dish and mix it with buckwheat flour, add a few walnuts and the sweetest grapes ever, you get this delight in the shape of a cake.

Continue reading “grey clouds and fresh grape”