Buckwheat Scallion Pancakes

by Jenn on March 17, 2014

in Dairy Free,Flops,GF Substitutions,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Photography,Seafood,Travel

Buckwheat scallion pancakes with Irish smoked salmon, avocado and rocket Buckwheat scallion pancakes with Irish smoked salmon, avocado and rocket

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

This month marks 6 years since I created this blog, and 5 years since I began using a DSLR camera and started learning photography (Ok, actually I got my first DSLR about 6 months before that as a wedding gift, but it literally took me several months to figure out how to turn it on and take a picture that didn’t result in a solid black rectangle rather than an image – so I decided it’s better to start counting from when I actually took photos). It’s kinda crazy to think that I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade now, but it’s been extremely rewarding. I’ve come a long way (at least I like to think so), and am really excited for where the future will take me.

I love seeing how I have progressed, but one of the most surprising things I have found is that I love actually getting away from the big camera from time to time and  just using my iPod – I’m too cheap for a fancy iPhone with a fancy mobile plan, so the iPod seems to be a great compromise to get all of the fun of an iPhone without a big expensive monthly payment – yeah I need wifi around to do a lot of things, but it’s quite amazing just how infrequently I find myself disconnected from the world – home, coffee shops, the train station, heck even the center of town has internet.  When I’m traveling or touring around, I find a mobile camera is just a lot of fun.


However, I’ve been rather slow to use it for food. Traveling around it is super handy, but for food I often like the more thought out process of holding the DSLR, picking my settings and judiciously finding my focus. That said, thanks to being on Instagram and VSCOcam, I’ve learned quite a lot from my fellow colleagues about how to handle food with a mobile device. And really, all the same principles apply, you need to think about light, composition and your angle, you just don’t have same level of control on DOF or specific exposure settings.

My friend Brian recently did a post with a lot of great tips for iphoneography, and the biggest take away for me was that for food, overhead shots work the best. I’ve tried some tableside shots and yeah, they are tough composition wise – essentially because the iPhone has a relatively wide lens, and that lends to some wonky proportions if you aren’t careful – overhead definitely works better! After 5 years of studying photography, I have found using a mobile device a lot of fun – especially because it is such a different tool than I have worked with before, and it’s always fun to have a new challenge :)

BrunchMixed Greens Salad

Homemade Ginger Ale
Buckwheat scallion pancakes with Irish smoked salmon, avocado and rocket

Speaking of challenges, did you know that Simone’s Food Styling and Photography Challenge is back up and running again?! Her first challenge of 2014 was the subject of raw food, and this month’s challenge is… you guessed it…. mobile devices! I wanted to cook something special for St. Paddy’s this weekend anyways – both my husband and I have a lot of Irish heritage, and we enjoy celebrating our roots.

We had a rather humorous attempt at making an authentic Irish recipe this week  – we decided to make these honey and oat biscuits, and convert them to gluten free. Since all the ingredients were in weights, we thought it’d be smooth sailing, but once my husband put them in the oven, they fell and spread out like flat cookies. And only then did it dawn on us –  of course! In UK/Irish lingo, biscuits are not the flakey alternative to dinner rolls that we originally imagined, but they really are meant to be cookies, haha. Turns out a 1:1 substitution by weight with an all-purpose GF flour mix and subbing in vegetable shortening for half of the butter amount makes some really awesome gluten free cookies. After that embarrassing baking fail, I decided rather than trying out colcannon, corned beef, or soda bread, that this weekend we should take a more creative spin on another ingredient that Ireland is also famous for – smoked salmon.

Smoked salmon is a big favorite in our home, and to do something a bit different, we made some buckwheat scallion pancakes, filling them with some smoked salmon (I had the fortune of finding Irish smoked salmon here, yay!), avocado, and arugula. The pancakes were really simple to put together, and I’ve always loved the combination of salmon and avocado together. The arugula adds just a little peppery spice, and all together they made for quite a nice lunch. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Scallion Pancakes

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: about a dozen pancakes

Buckwheat Scallion Pancakes

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks


  • 200 g buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 150 mL coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 6  eggs
  • 1/3 cup  chopped scallions
  • coconut oil, for cooking


  1. Combine the buckwheat flour, salt, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, water, eggs, and scallions. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a whisk to stir them together until the liquid is smooth and free of lumps. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (the original recipe says only 5 minutes, but uses rice flour, which absorbs liquid much faster than buckwheat - by making the substitution to buckwheat flour, one needs to increase the time the batter sits).
  2. Batter should be runny like for making crêpes. If not, then add in more water or coconut milk as necessary. Heat a 9" stainless skillet on medium heat with about a tablespoon of coconut oil. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto the pan, swirling it around so that the batter covers the entire bottom surface of the pan. Wait about 30 seconds or until the batter is mostly set, and then use a large spatula to flip and cook about 30 seconds more on the other side before sliding off on a plate. Add coconut oil to the pan as necessary. I find I can usually get 2-3 pancakes done before needing to add more oil.
  3. Fill with your favorite ingredients - for me, I really enjoyed Irish smoked salmon, sliced avocado, and arugula.

Buckwheat scallion pancakes with Irish smoked salmon, avocado and rocket


Simone March 17, 2014 at 6:25 am

It’s true Jenn, I love using my iPhone capturing just about anything and everything but food is a little trickier indeed due to the ridiculous depth of field too… Lol… I do mostly overhead shots too. It just puts things in the right perspective and you’ve shown a few real great examples! So glad you’re on our judging panel again!

Jenn March 18, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thanks Simone, so happy that the challenges have started up again!

Rosa March 17, 2014 at 9:07 am

Fabulous clicks and lovely recipe! Your pictures are always great.

Happy Bloganniversary and to many many more.



Jenn March 18, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thanks Rosa!

Eva @ Eva Bakes March 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Happy blogiversary! :)

Jenn March 18, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thanks Eva!

Josie March 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Happy Blogiversary, Jenn! Your blog and photos are so gorgeous, and so is your spirit. And so are these smoked salmon crepes. YUM.

Jenn March 18, 2014 at 7:46 am

Aww thank you Josie!

Liren March 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I love stepping away from the big camera, too. There’s something so liberating about using the mobile phone, and not just when it comes to weight.

Smoked salmon is a favorite of mine – the crepes arjust beautiful!

Six years! Happy blog birthday! Here’s to many more.

Jenn March 18, 2014 at 7:47 am

Thanks so much Liren!

Meeta March 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

Love learning how to use the phone to photograph too. Although it will never replace my DSLR … but I am really enjoying discovering and tackling the challenges that comes with this kind of photography. Having said that and talking about the DoF with mobile devices I find it interesting that many people choose to post images taken with their DSLR cameras on Instagram. What are your thoughts about that?
The pancakes are just up my road. We often enjoy light dinners like this – what I like here is the use of coconut milk!

Jenn March 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Thanks so much Meeta – I’ve made the recipe as Heidi originally wrote it, which was also quite good, but since we are fans of galettes de sarrasin, this time wanted to make it with buckwheat flour. It came out quite well!

As for Instagram, I kinda feel it’s cheating to upload a DSLR pic. For the longest time I just thought I really sucked at taking pics with my iPod because everyone I seemed to follow achieved such a gorgeous clarity and DOF, until I realized that there are several people who don’t actually post mobile images. I feel that Instagram in particular is a community of “this is happening right now”, which isn’t really supported by the time delay of downloading a DSLR pic, post-processing it, mailing it to yourself and then uploading with the app. To me this is just silly and not part of the spirit of the community. But then I haven’t been on Instagram so long, so it could be that I am interpreting the social medium naïvely…

VSCO’s Grid, on the other hand, really is mobile images shared throughout the community, and with a bit more of an artistic bent rather than the documentary nature of Instagram. I love seeing how creative people are with their mobile photography, and it’s a huge source of inspiration for me.

Brian @ A Thought For Food March 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Love everything about this post… and I’m not just saying that because of the shout out. The recipe, the photos… the whole thing is just so wonderful.

Jenn March 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Thanks Brian – clearly the best part of the whole post is the admission that it took me near 6 months to basically figure out how to turn my camera on lol.

Alessio March 19, 2014 at 12:07 am

Happy Blogversary my friend 😀

El April 3, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Happy anniversary on your blog. The recipe and the photos are so inviting. I haven’t caught on to the whole instagram thing–yet. I’ll look for you when I do!

Barbara | Creative Culinary April 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Clearly that delay in starting up has been made up for over these years…your photos are always fabulous. I don’t have an iPhone and have no desire for one but do find my phone shots just sort of meh. I never really style anything, for me, when I do Instagram, I mean it’s really ‘insta’ shots!

Maybe I should try an iPod; nice alternative and obviously works great. LOVE these pancakes; it’s all about the salmon!

El May 9, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Beautiful post, dish and your new site is gorgeous as well!

Sally - My Custard Pie May 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Very belated bloganniversary. I think it’s always heartening to hear how people start out and gives beginners (I still think I’m a beginner) hope. I was scared of my DSLR for about 6 months too and only really took pictures with it when I started a photography course.
I love the immediacy and challenges of shooting with an iphone – and the sense of community. I do think it’s not in the spirit of things to upload DSLR pics too. Always enjoy being inspired by your beautiful photography and good advice.

wizzy May 22, 2014 at 1:32 am

I have been dabbling with the idea of taking more photos with my Samsung Galaxy. Thank you for giving me the inspiration to go try it out and showing it can done successfully. I love my dslr but sometimes i crave the instant gratification of a phone pic:-)

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