January is so often seen as a month for restriction when, really, it should be all about nourishment. A new year prompts us to reflect, to plan, and to make resolutions. It would be counter-intuitive to begin a new chapter burdened with self-denial; picking at salad and pining for cake is no way to encourage a positive mind set for the year ahead. Instead of berating ourselves for over indulgence, we should focus on taking good care of our mind and body.
Nourish your mind throughout this dark month with a pile of good books, quiet evenings in and long walks in nature. Daylight is both precious and scarce so head outside when you can and admire the frost, the pale winter sunlight and, if we’re lucky, the muffled crunch of snow underfoot. Nourish your body with healthy, wholesome fayre; think hearty, slow cooked stews with plenty of root vegetables, thick homemade soups with crusty bread or comforting bowls of hot, fruit crumble. Embrace oats, nuts and seeds in both your baking and your breakfast. Aim, where you can, for maximum nutrition, choosing foods for their sustenance and health-promoting qualities.
Matcha is a wonderful ingredient for fresh starts and bleak weather. It is a processed, powdered green tea produced in Japan and renowned for its high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants. It has a uniquely savoury taste, a subtle hint of sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel. The complex flavours of this vibrant tea are to be lingered over and appreciated, much like a square fine dark chocolate or a sip of red wine. A combination of amino acids and caffeine mean that matcha tea supposedly possesses mood enhancing qualities; granting the drinker a sustained feeling of alertness without the fierce adrenaline spike of coffee.
Because of its fine powder form and mild flavour, matcha makes an excellent addition to smoothies and hot drinks. I can recommend a frothy matcha “latte” a a vibrant comfort on a cold, wintery day. The lingering sweetness of this special green tea is particularly suited to the vanilla notes and custard textures of crème brûlée, cheesecake and ice cream. In this instance, however, we’re in need of something a little more virtuous. These Matcha Buckwheat Crêpes provide indulgent “brunchy” comfort for the mind and a little wholesome nourishment for the body. Serve them up with berries, Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a breakfast that leaves you energised and ready to tackle those pending resolutions.
Matcha Buckwheat Crêpes
75g buckwheat flour
1 ½ -2 tsp sieved matcha powder
250ml milk (or dairy free alternative)
small pinch salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. caster sugar
Icing sugar (for dusting)
Drizzle of honey
- Combine buckwheat flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
- Sieve in the matcha powder and blend well.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk thoroughly to form a loose batter.
- Lightly oil a large, non-stick frying pan
- Use approximately ¼ cup of batter for each crêpe, tilting the pan to create a large, thin pancake.
- Cook on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes each side.
- Serves the crêpes warm, filled with berries and/or yogurt and a drizzle of honey.
- Dust with icing sugar and a little matcha powder before serving.