Tuesday 31 May 2011

Weekend eats: hotcakes, plums, eggs and beetroot

It was been a quiet weekend here.  Too cold and wet to feel like venturing outside.  The washing we hung out was so damp that we brought it inside to dry in front of the heater.  Just the weather to bake and fry and eat in a warm home.  We have had lots of pancakes and purple and porridge.  Sylvia has discovered boiled eggs.  Lots to taste.  Lots to learn. 

I tried the Rose Bakery's ricotta hotcakes during the week and they were great.  (Quite similar to Bill Granger's famous ricotta hotcakes.)  Sylvia loved them so much that she told me we must make them again.  I enjoyed them but prefer using only one bowl for pancakes and no electric beaters.  I halved the recipe and had half a tub of ricotta leftover to make another batch on the weekend.

These pancakes are great with stewed plums.  I stewed some plums with pomegranate and strawberry juice during the week and more with barley malt syrup and golden syrup on the weekend.  The first batch were best.  Sylvia loved them.  She ate less of the latter which were more molassesy but still loves making them.  Sitting down in the morning to chop and stew plums with a toddler is fun.  Quite a few get eaten before they are stewed but I don't mind.

The mess is incredible.  Sylvia eats stewed plums with her hands.  I offer a spoon.  She ignores it.  Perhaps she likes to get mucky because one of her other favourite things right now is spending hours at the sink washing her hands.  She also loves asking where we are (eg "is this a shop?" in the middle of the supermarket) and stomping in puddles with her ladybird gumboots.  Everything takes forever.  I never have enough time for lunch.  I had meant to make her something savoury but we ended up just eating pancakes and plums for lunch, with a few chunks of cheese.  It wasn't that sweet.  Yet it didn't seem like a proper meal.

I tried a different approach on the weekend.  I didn't want to make all the pancakes savoury so I added tomatoes, peas and cheese when I fried them.  Since then I have found a similar idea for vegan savoury pancakes that uses even more vegetables.  It means we still had half the pancake batter to make a sweet version to follow.

The savoury pancakes needed to cool slightly before eating or the sizzling tomatoes would take the skin off your tongue.  But they were so good.  The peas and cheese were ok but the tomatoes were the best.  They were like tomato jam with a hint of charcoal.  Plus, if you put two on a plate with a grape (top photo) they looked like like an owl.  Sylvia wasn't so impressed with the tomatoes.  She just wanted pancakes.

On Saturday night I roasted potatoes and beetroots that I bought at Kinglake Farmers Market and boiled some brussels sprouts.  (Leftovers went into curry.)  I serve them with chickpeas and chilli non carne.  It was a wonderful meal but brings up two issues with feeding children.  One is how many of us remembering our mothers boiling vegetables until they were soft and soggy.  I have tried boiling vegetables until just cooked but sylvia wants hers really soft so I have started to boil some vegetables more than I might usually.

The other issue is about colour and food.  I see so many people giving tips about avoiding beetroot stains on their hands.  However I don't mind beetroot stains on my hands.  They amuse me.  They amuse Sylvia too.  She was intent on only eating the roast potatoes (and they were fantastic).  Then she wanted pink hands like mine.  She learnt that if she bit the beetroot and rubbed it on her hand it would turn pink.  I showed her if she rubbed a chickpea on her beetroot she would have purple chickpeas.  This way she ate the beetroot and lots of chickpeas.  Hurrah for purple food!
Lastly, I confess that I also lack the basic skill of boiling an egg.  I've never liked eggs.  E has started making Sylvia boiled eggs.  She asked me to boil her an egg while he slept in.  I failed dismally.  The egg was gooey inside.  I put it in the microwave and it sort of burst out of the shell in an eggy cloud.  Sylvia ate the white but wasn't keen on the yolk.  (Incidentally, I always thought an egg would blow the door off a microwave until I saw Jack Dee microwaving his celebrity eggs and they just made disappointingly small explosions.)

I am sending the Ricotta Hotcakes with Stewed Plums to Ren of Fabulicious Food who is hosting a new event called Simple and Seasonal.  I thought she might like to see what the other half of the world is eating in May.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: WHB Plums: a history, trivia and a cake
This time two years ago: Blueberry Soup with Heavenly Yoghurt
This time three years ago: Promoting Promite
This time four years ago: Posh Bread & Cheese Supper

Ricotta Hotcakes
From Rose Bakery's Breakfast, Lunch, Tea
serves 2-4

2 eggs, separated
100g (about half a tub) of ricotta
3/8 cup milk
1/2 cup plain white flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
a little butter for the frypan

Separate eggs so the whites are in a small mixing bowl and the yolks are in a medium mixing bowl.  Use electric beaters to beat the egg whites until they are at stiff peak stage.  Now beat together the yolks, milk and ricotta.  Stir the dry ingredients into the ricotta mixture and then gently fold in the egg whites.  Heat a large frypan over medium heat and lightly grease with butter (I often use a piece of kitchen paper to rub a little butter over it so there isn't too much.)  Spoon dessertspoonfuls of batter into the pan and cook until the mixture bubbles.  Flip over and cook another minute or two until golden brown on both sides.  I think I did four batches of 5-6.

Savoury tomato pancakes: Slice up some cherry tomatoes.  Drop slices (flat side down) onto the pan at regular intervals and cook for about 1 minute on a medium high heat.  Drop a spoonful of pancake batter over the tomatoes and cook for about 4-5 minutes until mixture is bubbling.  Drop some frozen peas and grated cheese on the uncooked side and flip.  Cook another minute or two.  The cheese side wont brown so much where the cheese is and the tomatoes will look burnt but taste great.

Sweet plum pancakes: top with stewed plums below and a drizzle of maple syrup if desired.

Stewed plums

5-6 plums
juice of 1 pomegranate and 3 strawberries
shake of cinnamon
1 dessertspoon rice malt syrup
1 tsp apple concentrate

Place juice, cinnamon, syrup and apple concentrate in a medium saucepan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes until syrupy.  While the liquids are cooking, stone and chop the plums.  Add plums to syrup and gently cook for about 6-10 minutes until fruit softens.  Serve warm or room temperature.

On the Stereo:
Heavy Horses: Jethro Tull


  1. ooooh I am now craving hotcakes!!!

  2. A great post Johanna. Just loved it and evrything has changed again. You do know I am going to expect a deiffernt background every time I come, don't you? hehe! Sylvia is such a joy and I loved the purple hands story.

  3. My mom used to make beetroots and carrots for me when I was small, and that was my absolutel favorite dish. She added a little butter and salt, and ... um, yes, I liked the veggies very well cooked. :D

    I'm a fan of the dots around here, btw. :)

  4. I love the idea of the savory pancakes with the tomatoes--they look great, too. Sylvia seems to be having so much fun in that photo! Can't say that beet stains amuse me, though. ;)

  5. Oh, yum! I'm now craving ricotta pancakes, big time!

    (and me with perfectly good homemade veggie burgers defrosting for dinner)

  6. chickpeas rubbed on beetroot eh? I'll have to remember that one to encourage more going in.
    All the pancakes sound delicious.

  7. it's wonderful when kids want to be involved in cooking and even more wonderful when mums let them :o)

    I can recommend an egg boiler for perfect, hassle free eggs. You prick a small hole in the eggs and measure out the water according to how hard/soft you want them and how many eggs there are. When you turn it on the water heats to steam the eggs and when it boils dry a buzzer goes off to let you know they're ready. http://www.lakeland.co.uk/12922/Lakeland-Egg-Boiler

  8. Hurrah for purple food indeed! I find coloured food lots of fun to eat, even as an adult, and imagine that for a toddler it would be just fantastic (something your fourth photo would support!). Your pancakes look superb too.

  9. I miss my mother's plum jam - we had a plum tree in the back yard.
    I always boil eggs by putting 4, 5 or 6 in a small saucepan (I use my copper-based saucepan that I bought to make sauces in.) Then I fill it with cold water until the eggs are nearly covered. Then with a high heat boil the water & eggs for 10 minutes. If you want a soft yolk, boil for 7 minutes. I find the eggs crack when you drop them into boiling water. Use any eggs that do crack first, & store uneaten ones in the fridge.

  10. Aww sylvia is SUPER adorable! Especially with purple hands! And those hotcakes sound GOOD...the sweet or the savory version!

  11. Oh gosh, I really need to stop having all the same habits as Sylvia, considering I'm 24 now. Eating with my hands, disliking the egg yolk....:P

  12. Dear Johanna, thank you so much for seding this post across to Simple and in Season. It is so well written and made me giggle. I love plums and I can't wait to try the pancakes soon. Sylvia certainly looks like she had lots of fun! Ren x

  13. Thanks Lisa - they are rather good

    Thanks Jacqueline - still not sure I am at my final blog outfit but getting there (and found shabby blogs from your food blog diary) - the purple hands amused me too - kids are funny little things

    Thanks Kath - I only ever had pickled beetroot from a tin but your carrots and beetroot sounds good - maybe I will try it for sylvia

    Thanks Ricki - I find that the beetroot is off the hands by the next morning so it doesn't bother me - but highly recommend the savoury pancakes

    Thanks Catherine - the grass on the other side is always greener - hope your vegie burgers were good

    Thanks city hippy farm girl - anything to encourage them going in, hey!

    Thanks Nic - it makes me happy to see how much sylvia loves to be involved in food preparation - thanks for the tip about the egg boiler - wish we had lakeland in Australia - they have such great ideas

    Thanks Kari - I loved coloured food too - it is so much more fun - and why should kids have all the fun :-)

    Thanks Pene - I usually buy eggs in a half dozen carton and that will last me a week or sometimes weeks but we are going through them much quicker at the moment so maybe I will start to boil in bulk - and thanks for the tip about eggs cracking when dropped in boiling water

    Thanks Joanne - yes she is adorable - good to get a laugh while eating dinner - much better than getting frustrated (though they often happen together)

    Thanks Hannah - I love eating with my hands too and worry I am a bad influence - but maybe your weird synchronicity with sylvia explains why she loves both chocolate and carob!!!

  14. Love the face and the picture of Sylvia having really enjoyed eating her plums. The hotcakes sound delicious and the roast looks delicious. Hope you get some dryer weather soon.

  15. I've never had tomatoes in pancakes before, love the idea of it though. And I'm like you - I don't mind purple hands from beets. I don't even mind my fingers smelling like garlic!


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