When I am looking for a bit of inspiration, especially for a recipe, I like to go for a stroll; it could be a walk in the forest, a spin in my car, you get the idea. Yesterday, I decided to drive to Mullingar, I needed to go for a haircut, and get some Buckwheat flour. I drove the back roads, through the vast turf plains of the midlands, barren and stripped to the bone in a less romantic way that one might be used to, but it gave me a colour to start my story…
I got to the famous Westmeath town well under an hour, got my haircut, just the way I like it, with as little small talk as possible. I found a little barber shop, across the road from the statue of famous Irish singer Joe Dolan, Mullingar born, a sweet and great entertainer who really reflected the kind mentality the people of the town have. A girl who was about my age, with a soft Eastern European accent, started to skillfully work on the little hair I have left; I was listening to the gentle “snap-snap” of her scissors. All was quiet and I started to drift in a more peaceful state, while shades of brown and grey fell on the black blouse that was wrapped around my neck. For some reasons, I thought about buckwheat again. I couldn’t help to reminisce that both our cultures – no matter how far apart they may be – enjoy this ancient grain, maybe because of some ancestors we might have in common? “Man, I have to snap out of this!” I thought. I needed to do something sweet, that’s it. I paid the €10, left my usual tip, and went for a walk around town, drawn by the amazing cathedral in the heart of the city…
On the way home, I thought about Mullingar “The left handed mill” ( An Muileann gCearr), there goes the flour; I thought of its people, who I always find very friendly, quirky in the nicest sense of the term; I love the fact that they are very proud of their town, they seem faithful to the multitude of little and bigger businesses it harbours, cafés, great boutique shops, a fantastic fishmonger who cares, a couple of cool book shops and that nerdy girl, with an unexpected tattoo on her wrist; a friendly health food store where I can get my lentils, beans, flours and spices ( I cook organic as much as I can), and a famous independent wine store outside the town… Pride, and independence, I have always liked that… This recipe is for you Mullingar, as you have inspired me again…
You’ll need: (all organic but the butter)
- 200g of buckwheat flour
- 100g of butter in small cubes
- A pinch of Breton sea salt
- 3 egg yolks ( +1 for glazing)
- A tbsp of baking powder ( organic corn extract)
- 100g of caster sugar
- A handful of Westmeath organic Kilbeggan oat flakes
- A handful of organic raisins
Put the buckwheat flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl; add the cubed butter from cold.
Rub the flour mix and the butter vigorously between your hands until you obtain a sandy like texture; this might take a few minutes, between 5 and 10, but it will be worth it…
Add the three egg yolks, and mix well with a spatula first, then with your hand…
Add the oat flakes and raisins; knead well until you get an homogenised dough ball. Cover with film, and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Flour your working area, and start rolling the pastry. Cut little rings (or not so little, it is up to you) and place them on a floured baking tray.
Beat an extra full egg, and brush the little cookies…
Bake at 200c for 15 to 20 minutes; don’t go too far, you don’t want them too dry….
A customer of mind from County Westmeath gave me some Basque cider last Christmas, and I decided to serve my cookies with it. I must say, it worked quite well, but a cup of tea or coffee will do just as nice.
Keep Well and Eat Happy,