Hero ingredient - buckwheat

Say "da" to buckwheat. It looks as boring as hell but is in fact satisfyingly nutty, very filling and considerably less boring than couscous (not hard in my opinion). 

WHAT IS IT? Fagopyrum esculentum, related to rhubarb, oddly. And even more oddly, it's not even a wheat. It tastes very savoury and a bit like a cross between brown rice and couscous but with more flavour. I ate it for breakfast when on holiday in Russia and was inspired to cook with it after reading this article in The Guardian. The article's recipe suggestions are pretty good, and include one from our blog favourite Food for a King.

An aside here. If buckwheat weren't enough of a Guardian-type topic, the first comment on the article is hilarious: "It has the property of producing totally clean stools, a boon when camping, and indeed, at all times. There's nothing else quite like it." The mind boggles. TMI Guardian-reader, particularly in the food section. 

WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? I toasted it quickly in a dry pan. Then the cooking method and quantities are very similar to rice... water, salt, yada yada. Unlike some grains that seem to have an indeterminate cooking period, it softens and fluffs up quite quickly. Use it as a side in place of rice. It goes well with eggs or with fish and sour cream in a Russian-style dish. The earthy taste means that it tastes good with other similar flavours - squash, beetroot, mushrooms, goats cheese. Perfect autumnal flavours.

WHERE CAN I GET IT? The supermarket should have it. Or put a copy of The Guardian through the shredder, lightly toast it and boil to buggery. I imagine it will have the same nutty flavour. 


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