middle eastern spiced veg and buckwheat bowl

Spiced Vegetables and Buckwheat

I only recently got my driver’s licence. Just three months ago. For the last 34 years I had walked everywhere.

Most people thought it was absolutely absurd, to be my age and not know how to drive. You see my mother doesn’t know how to drive so I was not raised with a car. We just walked, and didn’t think anything of it. It was normal for us.

When I fell pregnant 7 years ago, it occurred to me that it might become important for me to learn to drive. So I took lessons with an instructor, and I truly sucked! Lesson after lesson, still terrible. My anxiety had a hold of me. I began to feel that perhaps it was just one of those things that I wasn’t capable of. A terrible curse I had inherited from my mother. Then my enormous stomach got in the way and I decided to stop trying.

So I carried on walking everywhere and didn’t think about again for many years.

Just this year I decided to take the plunge and have another go. In fact, my boss passed on the phone number of his driving instructor friend. That little scrappy piece of paper stayed in my bag for months before I finally made the call. I am not entirely sure what I was afraid of. Oh hang on yes I am, I was scared of failing. I wasn’t particularly comfortable with that. Anyway I had lessons and lo and behold I got my licence. I bought a car. I was terrified. But I drove everywhere nonetheless.

Since then I have been driving on freeways, in the city, in peak hour, in storms. And I love it. Although I am still terrified, I still cannot get over the fact that I finally achieved something I never thought possible. Yet earlier in the week it occurred to me that something was wasn’t quite right.

I realised that I miss walking.

It became clear to me how much I actually enjoy walking. How it helps to clear my head. How it energises me. So I decided to pop my headphones on and take a little walk, to soak up the sunshine. I ended up walking for over two hours. It was incredible! Then I woke up the following day and did exactly the same thing. It made me so happy. It was like I’d had an epiphany. It became so obvious how important it is for me to take time out to walk, and sort through all my thoughts. To daydream. To have the opportunity to think big.

I returned home and cooked myself this enormous pot of nourishment. I could feel every cell in my body saying thank you to me after each mouthful. It is super easy, once you get your head around the spice list. Alternatively you could just buy yourself some ready made ras el hanout spice blend and you’d be eating in about 20 minutes. I have been eating a bowl of this everyday now, when I get home from my long walk in the sun.

cast iron veggie potvegetables and buckwheatspiced vegetables and buckwheat

Spiced Vegetables and Buckwheat

This is vegan and gluten free. Clean eating at it’s best. If you think you’d need to bulk it out, couscous would be perfect. If you have dukkah around the house, a sprinkling of that would be rather good. 

Inspired by a recipe from Yallateef.


  • 1 cup buckwheat, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 zucchini, roughly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful of olives (I used my favourite – Ligurian, but I am sure any would do)
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout (recipe below)
  • 1 tsp pomegranate mollasses
  • 1 birds eye chill, finely diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  1. In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and zucchini and stir. Leave for another few minutes.
  3. Add the spice blend, salt, and pomegranate molasses and stir. Add 3 cups of water and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the buckwheat and leave to simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 15 minutes. The vegetables and buckwheat will absorb a lot of the water.
  6. Spoon into bowls and add a little diced chilli.
  7. Optional: Serve with couscous and a sprinkling of dukkah.

Serves 4 – 6.

middle eastern spiced veg and buckwheat

Ras el hanout spice blend
Grind the following together in a mortar and pestle.


  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom seeds
  • ¼ tsp hot paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice

Comments 4

  1. Tonielle 02/04/2015

    Hi there, just found your blog and I love it! I was wondering what pomegranate mollasses is like (I’ve never heard of it before!) and what you could replace it with? Or if I find some… what other uses do you use it for?
    Cheers, Tonielle

    • Jade 03/04/2015

      Hi Tonielle – Thanks for your comment!!
      Pomegranate mollasses is kind of like a sweet but tart syrupy vinegary substance. It is a bit of a middle eastern staple so your best bet is to find it in a middle eastern grocery. But they also sell it in those fancy deli style places too. It’s quite delicious on lots of things, I use it to drizzle on top of roasted veggies, then top with toasted nuts, or bitter leafy salads with creamy, bitey cheeses. If you eat meat it is also quite good with lamb or chicken. I think, if you could imagine fresh of dried fruit in your dish, then pomegranate mollasses would be a welcome addition.
      Hope that helps! X

  2. Isabel 14/06/2015

    Hi Jade! I love this post. I have the same experience as you with driving…for the first 30 years of my life, I just preferred to walk, ride a bike, take the bus or tram. People thought I was mad, but I didn’t care, just like you. Until I started thinking that one day soon I might have a kid, and would I need to drive? So I got my Dad to teach me, and I was pretty bad, but determined. I booked my driving test in for late last year in Bundoora. I failed. I booked in another test, this time in Carlton. I failed AGAIN. Then on the third time, I passed and got my P plates. Now every time I drive, I’m filled with a feeling of terror + pride. It’s a weird feeling. Every time I arrive somewhere in one piece, I’m genuinely shocked and thrilled. Maybe I need to make some of this delicious-looking dish to calm myself down! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s nice to know I’m not the only mid-life driver out there x

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