After making my lovely smoothie on Saturday, E asked me to make pancakes, and I was up for a second breakfast because I adore pancakes. Though I love pancakes in savoury dishes, I can’t help associate them with sweet toppings, especially at breakfast time.
I have loved pancakes from a young age so let me tell you my path to pancake heaven. When I was a child, my mum would occasionally bake pancakes for sweets sometimes. We usually had the choice of butter and sugar or lemon juice and sugar. We would sit at the table – seven kids and my dad – while my mum served us small pancakes (almost like pikelets) hot from the frypan. I suspect you would have heard a lot of ‘me next, it’s my turn’ being called out to my mum. For the odd treat she would add bananas to the batter.
Maple syrup was not something we ever had at home. It was however, available at one of the family restaurants where we would infrequently eat out - the Pancake Parlour. My sister Susie was terrified by the Mad Hatter character wandering around the tables, but I was delighted by the large fluffy pancakes, mound of whipped butter and large sticky jugs of maple syrup. We had the excitement of buying their pancake mix once and I found that their secret to golden pancakes was a little bit of turmeric! My brother Andy made wonderful use of the mixture – he makes a delicious pancake brekky. I still love to go to the Pancake Parlour on the odd occasion and have a cheese pancake with salad – but I save half the pancake and eat it with maple syrup for sweets.
Then when I moved to Fitzroy as a student, another sister Chris introduced me to the Fitz – a trendy new café at a time when Brunswick Street, Fitzroy was moving up in the world. The Fitz did a killer breakfast of pancakes which I remember being piled with delicious berries. It was too big to ever finish but it was a revelation of how good pancakes could be. When considering my berries I dug out a recipe from a newspaper for their pancakes and was surprised to find it had apple and pineapple in the recipe - I only remember the berries. But it also had maple syrup and an orange sauce. The Fitz is still there with excellent food but it is no longer bo ho grungy and I couldn’t say if it does these pancakes any more.
When I go out for breakfast I often am tempted by pancakes but try to have them as a treat rather than as a regular breakfast. But when a menu offers up mostly meat and egg dishes, I find them a good alternative. I have had some good pancakes over the past few months – with berries and maple syrup at Rathdowne Street Food Store, with stewed rhubarb and apple at the University Café, and with strawberries, orange sauce and honeycomb cream at Madame Sousous (231 Brunswick St).
But I did have a recent experience in a café on Brunswick Street that reminded me of why I like to make breakfasts at home. We entered the cafe just before 10am and said we would like coffees and something to eat. No problem. The place was quiet and we weren’t in a hurry. I looked forward to some pancakes off the breakfast menu. After 5 or 10 minutes the waitress asked if we would like coffees. Not being a coffee person, I asked about something to eat. We were told that the chef had not yet arrived and they weren’t sure when he would. There didn’t seem much point in hanging around and we went elsewhere. Not an experience I am likely to have at home.
The pancakes I made on Saturday were made with oats. I have seen a few interesting pancakes on blogs recently – pancakes made with oat bran, oatmeal and green tea, and rhubarb and orange. But I found a recipe in my Alison Holst cookbook that beckoned me. She had discovered them in a cabin in California surrounded by snow and they had become family favourites.
I think these will rank among our favourites. They were wonderfully light and fluffy, but felt a little healthier for the addition of oats. The berry sauce was inspired by the Fitz and a Nigella recipe for blintzes from Domestic Goddess. It made good use of the berries I have stashed away in the freezer over summer. I liked the simplicity. The lemon juice and maple syrup enhanced the wonderful berry flavours. Drenched in maple syrup, these pancakes were vying for the title of my most favourite breakfast ever! Pancakes from heaven!
Maybe maple syrup is not the healthiest of ways to start the day. The addition of berries and oats goes some way towards making amends as they are full of antioxidants and fibre. So I am sending this to Cate at Sweetnicks for her ARF/5 a Day weekly event which encourages cooking with antioxidant rich foods.
Oaty Pancakes with Berries
Makes 4 pancakes
Oaty Pancakes (from Alison Holst):
¾ cup milk
¾ cup rolled oats
½ cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (I forgot this)
1-2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
Extra butter for frying
Berry sauce (adapted from Nigella and The Fitz):
200g berries (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
Squeeze of lemon juice (or orange juice)
Splosh of maple syrup
Extra maple syrup to serve
Pour milk onto the oats and leave 5 minutes. Add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and egg. Mix. Add melted butter. Heat a fry pan on medium high heat and place a small amount of butter in fry pan to lightly grease surface. Put a few spoonfuls of batter into fry pan and use spoon to spread it out a little to make a pancake of about 15-20 cm diameter. Fry til bubbles appear in batter and then flip over. Fry an additional couple of minutes or until other side is golden.
To make berry sauce, place berries, lemon juice and maple syrup in a small saucepan and cook on low for about 3 minutes or until berries soft and starting to release their juices.
To serve, I placed two pancakes on a plate, spooned some berry sauce on them and then poured extra maple syrup over then berries and pancakes.
On the stereo:
The Wire Tapper 18 (freebie with the Wire magazine) – Various Artists