I like to include some grain- and pulse-free recipes in my posts, but I thought it would also be useful to collect them in one place, for easy access. Here they are, in no particular order:

Buckwheat pancakes

They are so simple to make, and they are the closest you can get to a cake-like texture without wheat flour – soft and fluffy and perfect with conserves (apricot or forest fruits are my favourites), honey or Nutella. My other half has also been known to smother them in butter and maple syrup, and then sprinkle them with nuts.

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • enough milk to make a fairly thick batter

Beat the ingredients together gently, and allow to stand for 10 minutes. You may find the mixture has thickened, and requires a little more milk. Drop generous tablespoons of the mixture onto a hot, lightly greased frying pan, and………well, I don’t need to tell you how to make pancakes. My kids happily eat these, and can’t tell the difference from the ones I make with wheat flour.

Baba ganoush

The loss of humous from my life was pretty devastating, and I still haven’t managed to fully replace it. But one contender is baba ganoush, which I particularly like as an accompaniment to grilled or barbecued meat, or as a dip with crudites. Go crazy with the garlic and coriander if you like a strong taste, and don’t have any imminent plans to snog anyone:

  • 1 large aubergine/eggplant (about 500g)
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Prick the aubergine all over, and bake whole in a pre-heated oven (2oo degrees fan/180 degrees conventional) for about an hour, until the flesh feels soft and pulpy under the skin. Leave to cool, and then chop in to pieces and remove the skin. Mash the flesh and then strain in a sieve to extract all the liquid. Transfer to a blender, add the other ingredients and some seasoning to taste, and blend to a semi-smooth consistency. Serve warm, or refrigerate until later.

Some ideas for packed lunches

In the beginning, it was so hard to conceive of a packed lunch without a sandwich or a wrap, or even a pasta salad. But now I’ve worked out a pretty good range of quick salads and toppings for baked potatoes (assuming your workplace has kitchen facilities). I speed things up in the morning by bulk-cooking quinoa on the weekend, and then dividing  it into individual portions to keep in the freezer. When I’m making the salad I do a quick defrost in the microwave, decant into a tupperware box, and then add other ingredients on top.

Good things to add to quinoa:

  • “Greek” quinoa: ripe tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, feta cheese and some chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano) with a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil and red vinegar
  • chopped chicken (or hard-boiled eggs), salad vegetables, green olives and a French vinaigrette (olive oil, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard), or if I’m really pressed for time, Pizza Express House Dressing!
  • grated carrot, tuna or salmon, salad vegtables, capers and spring onions with olive oil and lemon juice
  • “Asian” quinoa: steamed greens (broccoli, beans, zucchini) with cooked prawns and a little tamari, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar

Good things to put on a baked potato:

  • home-made coleslaw (finely shredded cabbage, carrot and chopped onion with a 50/50 mayonaise and Greek yoghurt dressing), with or without chicken
  • thick Greek yoghurt and ham on a bed of salad
  • Mediterranean vegetables (eggplant, peppers, zucchini, onions) fried in a little olive with a tablespooon of pesto mixed in at the end
  • variation on the above – the same vegetables with some crumbled feta mixed in at the end (so it’s slightly melting)
  • left-over bolognaise sauce, or curry

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