Last weekend was one of the most relaxing, reviving weekends I’ve had in ages, and the first real ‘outing’ me and A have had this spring. We gathered in rural Wales, a group of over 20 friends from my very first years in the UK – the quite long ago years where I was a true (but fairly short-lived) hippie, working three summers to help run a nomadic sauna and café at festivals around England.
This fun and intense festival time was when we encountered 'raw food' for the first time – served up by dreadlocked beauties sporting green juice moustaches in a nearby striped circus tent-come-café at the festival Green Gathering – which is still running by the way! A heatwave swept the English countryside that summer and nothing seemed better than sinking our teeth into some veggie-filled nori-rolls, or sweets made entirely out of nuts, fruit and exciting new superfoods. I know, it doesn't seem like a novelty now but almost 15 years ago it felt revolutionary – and it was.
Raw food had already started as a movement in California (where else!) and there were quite a few 'raw foodists' pushing their lifestyle – many of which are still doing the same, and a few who I would cross paths with over the years. The American scene was crossing over into UK – a small scene full of very enthusiastic, and maybe sometimes you could say fanatic practitioners ;) Every new thing that springs up and creates a scene and following must have a degree of obsession I think and from this 'lab' of people and ideas comes innovation and newness. Something I was always drawn to!
So, you guessed it, my curiosity was awakened and for the following few years I would be experimenting with eating raw, and also find my way working as a designer for a particular raw chocolate company .. Raw food has stayed with me in that I love using ingredients in their most 'unaltered' state possible and not put them through too much cooking and heating. Which means I'm happiest when I base my food on any kind of living or dry plant. Although I do not survive on living plants alone, they are what I found is the best base for my diet!
But back to last weekend and these Pink Berry Buckwheat Smoothies!
In my extreme raw food days I would be eating sprouted buckwheat 'drizzled with a little bit of honey on top as a sweet snack'. Yep, those are my own words retrieved from an old email .. :D Oh things have changed!! Not least in how raw food has come a long way in delicious and inventive ways of preparation ..
I had sort of forgotten about buckwheat but when I tried my IG friend Klara's @Klaraslife buckwheat and acai smoothie recipe last week I was hooked again! Buckwheat feels light to eat but is still filling, and the raw, whole grain just needs to be soaked for a few hours to be edible. Perfect for people like me who don't like to have too much cooked grain, like rice, and who enjoy a lot of smoothies. By adding buckwheat and cashews in this recipe I have a really nutritious, filling mini-meal which will keep me going for hours without being too heavy.
So, this weekend I made a batch of buckwheat smoothies for my friends, inspired by Klara's recipe, and I just couldn't make enough of them! I was so excited to get an enthusiastic approval from the kids at the gathering as well – they loved the taste, and their smoothies being decorated with frozen berries and flower petals just made things even better ..
RECIPE: Pink Berry Buckwheat Smoothie
I used a food processor in the smoothies you see in the images but you will get the best, smoothest results in a blender.
Measurements are per person, and they are approximate.
1 handful (50-75 ml) raw buckwheat, soaked overnight or at least 3-4 hrs to become soft. When you soak buckwheat the soaking water becomes all gloopy. Rise the buckwheat off in a sieve under cold running water before using.
1 handful (50-75 ml) cashews soaked overnight or in hot water for 15 minutes. Or use 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice.
One pinch vanilla (ground up vanilla pod) – optional
Water to blend
Up to 200 ml frozen berries (any kind)
A natural sweetener of your choice (honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, date syrup, rice syrup .. )
How To Make
Add all ingredients apart from the berries and sweetener to a blender.
Blend on high until light-coloured and smooth – minimum one minute.
Add the frozen berries and blend again.
Test for sweetness and add your natural sweetener to taste.
Decorate with frozen berries!
This recipe can be varied indefinitely with the 3 basic ingredients: buckwheat, nuts and banana. If you don't like banana you can use ripe pear, apple, pineapple or any other sweet 'bulky' fruit. Or swap the buckwheat for soaked, or dry oats.
You can add fruits, greens, raw root vegetables, superfoods, cacao powder, spices, matcha powder ..
In fact, with the pink smoothies being so successful that morning I quickly whipped up a batch of green immediately after. One of my friends pulled out a pineapple from their fully packed car and so, in addition to the soaked buckwheat, cashews, water and natural sweetener I added (per person):
1 big chunk pineapple
A big handful carefully washed kale
A small chunk fresh ginger
Juice and some peel of half an organic lemon. The ginger and lemon peel kills off some of the grassy notes of the kale and makes it more enjoyable to drink ;)
As my newly found little soul sister said 'These are good too but I like the pink ones better' :D Maybe kale is a slightly more grown up taste.
A smoothie cheer to friendships and shared memories!
Love, Sara x