Saturday Morning Pancakes

In my family, Saturday morning pancakes are a big deal. Growing up, every Saturday morning my Dad and I got up early and made pancakes. We started off with the shake-bottle pancakes – one morning (at that time, much to our horror) we were out. My Mum showed us how to make them from scratch, and we never looked back. Now that I’m all grown-up (well, sort of), I still sometimes crave something special for breakfast on a Saturday morning (it is the first day of the weekend, after all), and more often than not, that special breakfast is pancakes.

So here are my (grown-up) Saturday morning pancakes. Dairy-free, wheat-free, but with no compromises on flavour, texture or satisfaction. By replacing the traditional butter/milk combination with coconut milk, you can keep the silky, moist texture without the dairy. Oh, and did I mention that they’re multigrain (not that you’d even notice). I highly recommend these with blueberries and maple syrup (or like Adam, with creme fraiche (pictured) as well). Happy weekend!

Saturday Morning Pancakes

makes 12-14 pancakes

If you don’t have the flours I used – no worries. Substituting unbleached all-purpose flour or wholemeal flour would work as well (just don’t stir as much when combining wet and dry). If you’re not a fan of poppyseeds, toasted sunflower seeds can be substituted.

  • 30 g / 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 90 g / 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 70 g / 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 70 g / 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 95 g / 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 400 mL (one can) coconut milk

Combine the flours, poppyseeds, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, vanilla extract, zest and coconut milk until well combined.

Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Preheat oven to 50°C. Heat a large fry-pan over medium-low heat. Using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into the pan and cook until the bubbles that form stay open when the pop. Flip, and cook for 30 seconds on the other side. Place pancakes in the oven while you cook the rest of the batter. Serve with your favourite accompaniments.

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Sweet Potato Scones

On rainy, cold, and blustery afternoons, a switch flicks in my mind that whispers “bake.” This is what one afternoon last week whispered to me (as proof, included are photos of my very damp courtyard), and I listened (as I nearly always do). I truly love baking – there’s something magical and exciting about it, something unknown and hidden and exciting. I also love the rhythm of baking, the methods you follow like well-practiced dance routines.

And, since I love baking, and since I would do it everyday if I could (in reality, I probably bake 3 times a week), my baking tends to be on the healthier side, wheat-free, low on dairy and sugar. Some might think that to achieve this without compromising on flavour or texture is an impossible dream, but I say codswallop! Of course it’s possible! All you have to do is be prepared to think a little outside the box (which is fun, and makes baking more fun – yes, it is possible to make baking more fun. Believe me.)

So, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Harry Eastwood’s book Red Velvet & Chocolate HeartacheAfter borrowing my wonderful friend Ashleigh’s copy, this book is now at the top of my cookbook shopping list – every recipe, bar one, has some sort of vegetable in it. She also endeavours to reduce sugar, and fat, but never compromises on flavour or texture – my sort of recipe! (I’ve actually become a little obsessed with this book, and have since cooked another 3 recipes from it – all were fantastic). These scones were the perfect pick-me-up for a drizzly afternoon – scone-y, crumbly goodness. Perfect with a little smear of honey on top.

Sweet potato and golden syrup scones

makes 7

It’s important to grate the sweet potato as finely as possible, and only right before you need it. I’m sure you could also substitute honey for the golden syrup quite happily.

  • 250 g light spelt flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 40 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 200 g peeled and finely grated sweet potato
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place flour, baking powder, bicarb soda in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs is reached. Pour golden syrup on to the breadcrumby mixture, add the sweet potato and zest. Pulse until it all comes together and forms a damp dough.

Tip dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead lightly until it becomes easier to handle.

Roll out to ~4 cm thick, and cut with a 6 cm round metal cookie cutter, and place on the baking sheet.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until risen and golden.

Adapted from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood.

Crochet: Scalloped Shell Cowl

I finished my latest crochet project: a solid-shell scalloped cowl (say that 3 times fast!). I’m really, really happy with how this turned out! It’s a great length, and I love the colour and texture. It’s warm enough, but not too thick or heavy. And it was quick to make. I really enjoy making scarves like this, I only wish I didn’t have so many scarves already, so then I could make them all the time! I wore this outfit last Saturday, for lunch with Adam’s family for his birthday.

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far – we’ve got a quite weekend planned, I’m hoping to get a good chunk of a blanket I’m making done (stay tuned for an update soon!), but otherwise baking and reading Game of Thrones pretty much sum up my plans!

Avocado, Sesame and Alfalfa Tartines

Last Thursday was Adam’s birthday, and to celebrate we had a picnic in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens. It was a stunning, stunning day, bright and clear and  sunny. Warm in the sun, cool in the shade. There was even a band playing in the bandstand, so we had some tunes while we picnicked over the conifer garden.

I think my favourite part was our long walk through the gardens after the picnic: the paths are winding and wide. Perfect for a lazy stroll. Botanic gardens are like a little show-and-tell of so many different plants and flowers – it was exciting to turn a corner and be in what felt like a completely different environment. We wound our way through the grass garden (yes, there is such a thing!), the Australian natives, the vegetable patch, the cacti garden, the tropical dome, and the aromatic flowers and herbs.

For the picnic? Well we had strawberries, hard-boiled eggs, this caramelised pear and almond cake, and avocado, sesame and alfalfa tartines. Perfect picnic food. The tartines are quick to assemble at home, and easy to pack and assemble for a picnic (cool the toast completely, and keep the components separate, then assemble). I’m planning on lots more picnics as the weather starts to warm up again – I think I finally understand them and love them (it’s the thrill of eating out, but you get to eat the food you love from home).

Avocado, Sesame and Alfalfa Tartines

serves 2-4

If you like, this would be great with a little crumble of tangy goats’ cheese on top, but I prefer letting the peppery olive oil and alfalfa to shine through. On another note, this is perfect lunchtime-fare for me: simple, quick and delicious.

  • 4 slices of crusty wholemeal sourdough bread
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of half a lemon
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame (nigella) seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups alfalfa sprouts
  • olive oil, for drizzling

Mash avocado roughly with lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, set aside.

Toast seeds over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, toast bread and rub both sides with the clove of garlic.

To assemble, smear avocado mixture over toast slices, and sprinkle toasted seeds over the avocado. Top with alfalfa sprouts and drizzle with olive oil.

Handmade birthday: Brown Sugar and Rosemary Walnuts

A few little snapshots of what I gave my Dad for his birthday last week. Heidi’s brown sugar and rosemary walnuts. In a jar, with a pretty label.

My Dad has a bit of a sweet tooth – he’s a fan of honey roasted cashews, and there’s always a packet at the back of his pantry, so he can treat himself with a handful (or two). So I made him these (they’re delicious, you should make them). And put them in a jar, and made a label (using a gift-tag design from this very talented artist). On the recipe front, I’d double the rosemary and leave out the dried figs next time (they were nice, but I don’t think really added much). Regardless, they were the perfect balance of sweet/salty and had a super satisfying crunch.

These are the types of presents that I enjoy giving the most – something I’ve made just for that person. I also really enjoy figuring out what to make them, how I should package it. For me, this is far more fulfilling than giving a pre-made gift (not too mention easier on your wallet). Whether it’s tomato relish and stone fruit jam at Christmas, or biscuits for a birthday, or even little tote bags or beanies for Adam’s nieces, making gifts is something I love to do. I’d love to hear about gifts you’ve made, or if you’ve gotten a handmade gift you love!

Photo-an-hour: Monday 2 July, 2012

Happy Friday! Here’s a photo-an-hour from Monday (morning). It was my Dad’s birthday, and we were in Sydney. The photos stopped after 1pm, mostly because I had a nap and forgot when I woke up (whoops!), we had a quiet night with dinner at the local Italian restaurant – a great way to finish our trip to Sydney.

6 am: It was still dark out, but lots of cars were coming and going across the bridge.

7 am: Breakfast in an old tea factory.

7.30 am: cake after breakfast – a must on birthdays!

8 am: Walking down York St, the most awesome wool store, Morris & Sons.

9 am: Floor tiles in the Queen Victoria Building.

10 am: Waiting for the Art Gallery of New South Wales to open so we can see part of the 18th Sydney Biennale.

11 am: Tea-time at the Art Gallery of NSW – and their very cool stools.

12 pm: Amazing vegetarian soba noodle soup at Yama for lunch.

1 pm: On our way home for a nap, Adam picked up a caramel and cheesecake tart from Sourdough on York St – he ate half of it before I could take a photo!

So there you have it! We really did have a great time in Sydney, it was so exciting to be there again, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip down.

A Simple Granola

This is a granola that, I’m sure, if given the opportunity, could be the answer to every conceivable problem you could ever conceivably have. Peckish? – granola. Travelling? – granola? Breakfast? – granola. Dessert? – granola. Snacktime? – granola. You get the idea.

I was inspired to make this the day before we left for Sydney. As we’re on a budget, and vegetarians, and don’t like eating things that mostly consist of air, taking some of our own snacks seemed like a really good idea (also super easy to do when flying domestically). We had handfuls when we were peckish and out and about on the streets. We even had it with sliced banana and raspberries for a picnic breakfast in Victoria Park one morning. It was that good, even the seagulls were interested.

Since we’ve been home, I’ve enjoyed it on top of yoghurt, with blueberries. And without yoghurt and just the blueberries. And just by itself. Granola/pre-toasted muesli is an item so commonly (and often) purchased, which is sad considering how easy, quick and satisfying it is to make. I’ve adapted this recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, which is probably the most-used cookbook in our kitchen – I’ve tweaked the quantities and ingredients a bit, but the basics are pretty much the same.

On a side note:

Granola

makes about 5 cups

This is a granola that has just enough ‘bits’ – nuts, seeds, fruit, coconut – and just enough oats, to keep me happy and full for a good amount of time. It can be easily doubled (just use two rimmed baking sheets and swap them half way through to get even cooking). And lends itself to near-infinite variations. This is the one I like – if you think you’ll like it a little different, follow your instinct. A few suggestions: walnuts, dried cranberries, and orange zest instead of the lemon; marcona almonds and raisins; pecans, sultanas, and maple syrup instead of honey. You could also change-up the grain as well: rolled rye and spelt would work excellently I’m sure. And then you can go down the spices route – oh my! The only dried fruit I’d steer clear of are goji berries – because they’re not juicy to start with, they tend to burn and crisp a bit too much here.

  • 200 g rolled oats
  • 170 g raw, unsalted nuts or seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pepitas, etc)
  • 60 g desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 85 g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 85 g unsalted butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 150ºC, with a rack in the bottom.

Combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt, dried fruit, and zest in a large mixing bowl.

Heat butter over low heat until melted, then add honey and whisk until well combined.

Add honey mixture to oat mixture and stir for at least thirty seconds, until everything is well-coated. Tip onto a rimmed baking sheet, spreading the mixture to form a single layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes in the bottom rack, until deeply golden (keep an eye on it in the last 10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn).

Remove the tray from the oven and press down on the granola with the back of a wooden spoon or a metal spatula (this creates clumps). All to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.