Soba Noodles

When I was a little kid, I always had buckwheat noodles and buckwheat pancakes at home. Some relatives of my grandparents from their old hometown were still growing buckwheat back then. Every year, when it came to the harvest time, we regularly received bags of fresh-ground buckwheat flour by post from thousand kilometers away. My lovely grandma would put her oversleeves on and start to make noodles from the buckwheat flour. She cooked them in a clear soup, seasoned simply with soy sauce, dark rice vinegar, and plenty of stir-fried leeks. They were just humble and delicious.
Nowadays their relatives are too old to do farm work, and the younger generation don’t want to do. My grandma is not as energetic as before either. I guess I’ll be the one to keep my family tradition later on, as well as the precious memory.
Despite the name, buckwheat is actually not a wheat at all. It’s a seed rather than a grain. It contains good amount of protein, B vitamins, dietary fibre and minerals. Since it’s almost summer now, I’d better keep the hearty noodle soup recipe for the colder season. Let’s try another recipe today.
In Japan, dried thin buckwheat noodles has a name as Soba. The soba noodles can be served warm or cold. Any handy veggies, raw, boiled or stir-fried will do a great job. Add some chili in the sauce to spice it up. Double the quantity of ingredients to make more portion if needed. It doesn’t really get much easier!
Ingredients: (serve 1)
80g dried soba noodles
green beans and edamame
bean sprouts
red cabbage, finely shredded
green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame seeds
For the sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame seed oil
1/2 Tbsp white rice vinegar
1 tsp miso paste
2 small pieces of ginger, finely chopped
1, cook noodles following packet directions. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside in a colander.

2, steam or stir-fry the veggies. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce.

3, put noodles, veggies, the sauce and green onions into a large bowl. Gently toss to combine. Add more salt or water to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Caramelized Onions and Leeks Quiche

Onions and leeks are usually considered as ingredients for side dishes. However, they do have the power to play as main characters. After caramelization, their pungent smells are transformed to a tender, mellow and almost sweet flavor. Lock the awesomeness in a rich creamy custard, fill them in a delicate flaky crust, complete the last step in the oven. Now we can say let’s embrace the spring.
There are a few tips to make this quiche beautiful:

1, clean the leeks well, especially between leaves where there can be a lot of grit.

2, chop the leeks and onions pretty thinly. Big chunks are difficult to get caramelized in the pan.

3, when we begin to sauté them, mix them well with the oil in the pan. Try to get every pieces coated as it helps them to caramelize more evenly right from the start.

4, do not put the lid on the pan, we don’t want steamed onions and leeks.

5, low heat is the key to this method of caramelization, so go slow until we reach a lovely soft golden brown color.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 medium sized onions, thinly sliced
1 big stalk leek, thinly sliced
handful spinach
300g flour
50g butter
2 eggs
150g cream or milk
1, preheat oven to 185℃. Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, add flour, softened butter and salt, mix until crumbly. Add cold water to the mixture, combine until the dough forms. Roll out the dough into a disc shape, a little larger than your quiche dish. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Overhang the pastry on the dish. Use a folk to poke into the bottom of the crust and bake for 10 minutes.

2, add a generous amount of oil in a large pan on medium heat, sauté the onions and leeks, stir occasionally, season with salt and pepper. It can last up to 20 minutes until they turn to a darker color and caramelized. In the last minute, add the spinach.

3, beat the eggs, mix with cream. Combine with the onions and leeks, add more liquid(cream or water) if it’s too thick. Pour the mixture into the crust, bake for 30-40 minutes until the filling is firm and brown. Allow to sit for 20 minutes to set before cut, serve warm.