This week things are a little different around here because I am here not just with a recipe but I also have a little survey for you. While I have a long list of recipes to try, techniques to conquer and flavours to experiment with, I am also keen to hear what recipes you might find helpful or interesting. As such, I would love to hear what you stock your pantry with, what different flours you bake with and what spices you use. But what I want to discover even more is what are the ingredients that languish in your pantries unused or only used once and what ingredients you might hesitate to buy not knowing how to use them (and maybe, just maybe, I can come up with a few delicious ways to make the most of those ingredients).
So I would be incredibly grateful if you could fill out my short survey (it should not take more than 5 min tops). Here is the link to the survey. Also, if you happen to know someone who might enjoy filling out the survey, if you would not mind sending them the following link, that would be fantastic: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GVMSWR5.
As for what is lurking in my pantry and does not get much use? I am ashamed to admit I have a beautiful bottle of walnut oil that I should really use for more than just drizzling it on the occasional salad or steaming bowl of soup. I also have half a kilogram of marzipan in my pantry that I bought last year for god knows what and I am still not sure what I will use it for. Also, I may or may not have moved some vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts from London to Rome and to two new flats here in Rome (and come to think of it, I might have bought those chestnuts back when I lived in Brussels – I think I better check the use by date!).
As for today’s recipe, it is an old favourite really, although a slightly updated version – delicious blueberry buckwheat bars. This recipe originally came about when I was training for my second half marathon and wanted something healthy to snack on for the inevitable long run-induced hunger pangs. While I have made coconut and chocolate date bars and chocolate and orange date bars as well, the blueberry buckwheat bars are by far my favourite, sweet from the medjool dates and vanilla with the right amount of crunch from the buckwheat groats. You could substitute almonds or cashews for the walnuts (and when I first made these bars I actually used cashews) but as much as I love cashews I like the new version more – the slightly bitter walnuts stand up really nicely to the sweet dates and blueberries.
Blueberry Buckwheat Date Bars
Note: this recipe will make about 5 small bars – while I can go through quite a few of these bar I tend to stick to a small batch so I can try different flavour combinations more often.
20g buckwheat groats
40g dried blueberries
80g medjool dates
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt flakes
1. In food processor pulse the walnuts, buckwheat groats and oats until very coarsely ground. Dump into a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the blueberries to the food processor bowl and pulse a few times to chop roughly. Add to the bowl with the walnuts, buckwheat groats and oats.
3. Add the dates, vanilla extract and sea salt flakes to the food processor and pulse until the dates start to come together into a rough paste. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse a few times to combine (you can also knead everything together by hand).
4. Place the mixture on clingfilm and press together to form a rough ball. Flatten the ball until it is ca. 1cm thick and shape into a rectangle. Wrap in the clingfilm and place in the fridge for ca. 1 hour to firm up before cutting into 5 bars. Wrapped well in clingfilm these bars will keep several weeks in the fridge.