Friday 25 October 2013

Pancakes, Mellow Music and Family Get-togethers

It is hard being the child of a food blogger.  You find a recipe you love but new recipes are constantly appearing.  Take pancakes for example.  On Sunday morning, Sylvia got up and decided we would have pancakes for breakfast.  After a busy previous day, it was wonderful to have a relaxed breakfast.
Before we started on breakfast, we attended to more important stuff.  We bathed Dolly.  It was warm enough for her to dry outside.  Hurrah for warmer weather.  (Which left as suddenly as it arrived)  Most of her stains disappeared and her white trim became whiter.  She was just about dry by lunchtime.  And it isn't even summer yet!

I can't mention the weather without telling you how glorious the weather was on Saturday for a community Mellow Music in the park.  I was there early for a couple of hours as a volunteer to help prepare food for volunteers and an AGM.  The first task I was given was to shred the flesh of a cooked chicken.  I asked for another task and was given the lettuce instead.  Phew! 

We were at the music event long enough to see E play ukelele to the early birds.  Then we headed off to Fitzroy Market so he could play with his ukelele group there.  We really love going to the Fitzroy Market but felt it lacked a little of its charm with the new site. But there were some great new food stalls.  I had a delicious falafel made by Palma's Pantry and a dense chewy chocolate cookie from Mumbles and Rumbles.  There was also ukeleles, waffles, face painting and the playground.

After the market, we headed back to Robinson Reserve for more Mellow Music.  We got back in time for the belly dancing.  Seeing all the kids get up to dance along was great fun.  It was very relaxing to sit under the trees on a warm afternoon, catch up with friends and enjoy the tunes of local musicians.  Kids put their handprints on the work-in-progress mural, Sylvia found the hula hoops and E was pleased to find some snags still available on the bbq.

It was a busy Saturday.  So you see why a leisurely pancake breakfast was so welcome the next morning.  Sylvia wanted our regular banana oat pancakes.  I had a vegan buckwheat pancake recipe from here I wanted to try.  It seemed like a good way to use up my buckwheat flour until I discovered it was all gone.  By then I had promised we would make shapes with the pancakes so I found a thinner pancake recipe that.  So thin that it was quite easy to pour into a squeezy bottle.

The pancake batter came out of the squeezy bottle rather quickly.  It spread too much upon hitting the pan to make shapes.  As you can see with my attempt at a lollypop below.  On the plus side, it made lovely light lacy pancakes.  Not quite as thin as crepes but more British than American.  We all gobbled them up. 

The pancakes included wholemeal flour, maize flour (because I need to use it but cornmeal is what the recipe originally specified) and oats.  The original recipe fascinated me because it was for a gift pack of pancake mix, apple cider syrup and candied walnuts.  I wish I made those sort of gifts.  I wish I was given them too. 

We have also had a few nice family outings in the West of Melbourne recently.  One to Scienceworks with my sister Fran and Stella and Ashy.  I was disappointed that the House Secrets exhibition was being replaced with another exhibition and there interactive displays in the pumping station (below) were gone.  We still had fun in the Nitty Gritty cafe. The highlight was seeing a show at the Planetarium.  Sylvia has been learning about the planets and stars and solar system at kinder so she was really into it.  And those chairs that lean back are great fun. 

I didn't think the food was great last time so I made tofu-bacon and spinach muffins (leaving the spinach and onion out of half the batch for Sylvia) and chocolate almond and coconut balls (substituting ground popcorn for half the coconut).  We also took along lots of apple slices. 

Then we had a family lunch for my sister Susie's birthday.  We went to a cafe called The Reading Room on the Footscray campus of Victorian University.  The food was very nice with lots of gluten free cakes.  I had a mushroom and pumpkin quesadilla.  It was lovely but lacking a bit of protein.  I wish I had noticed the savoury muffins earlier.  They would have been great with the salad.  The kids were fascinated by the typewriter.  The cafe has an extended menu on weekends.  We must return and try that some time.

And now for a few random quicklinks that have made me sit up and take notice over the last week.
  • Active memory - a new website by our national broadcaster, the ABC, following Todd Sampson's amazing television series Redesign my Brain.  Freaky to see how much we can change in our minds and bodies with some brain exercises.  And now the ABC is offering a website where we can try it ourselves (for a price).
  • Greg Hunt used Wikipedia research to dismiss links between climate change and bushfires.  Hot on the heels of our Prime Minister being taken to task by the head of the UN's climate change negotiations, Christiana Figueres because he plans to ditch the carbon tax, we now see why the government is reluctant to fund university research.  Who needs rigourous peer reviewed evidence when you have Wikipedia!  (Wikipedia has its place but not here!)
  • Disability - a fate worse than death - a great opinion piece by Stella Young, about her relief at the Tasmanian parliament defeating the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2013 when there are not yet safeguards for vulnerable people.  It is not often I see a commentary about euthanasia from the perspective of a disabled person.
  • Are these the top 25 albums of all time? NME thinks so - I love a good list, especially when it involves great music.  Not sure I agree with all of it but was pleased to see Pulp at number 6.
  • 31 haunting images of abandoned buildings that will give you goosebumps - These are gorgeous dreamy photos.  You will feel a little sad that nothing lasts.  You will sigh with pleasure to see such beauty in our world. 
After a rambling post, my story ends on Monday morning.  Sylvia told me that she didn't like the pancakes we had yesterday so could we have her favourite pancakes today instead.  Cunning and clever.  But no pancakes on a Monday. Pancakes are what Louise of Eat Your Vegies and Vanesther of Bangers and Mash call Weekend Slowies.  That is the theme of their new blog event called Family Foodies and I am sending in these pancakes.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Vegan Sweet potato and cheeze scones
Two years ago: Vegan Party Pies: Aussie "meat" pies for the footy
Three years ago: Pate, Goslings and Bubbies
Four years ago: All About Apples: history, culture and soup
Five years ago: Milestones and Rissoles

Pancakes with oats and cornmeal
Adapted from Tora's Real Food
Serves 3-4

1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup maize flour (or cornmeal)
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 cup rolled oats (or oat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp maple syrup (or granulated sugar)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used soy milk)
1 egg
butter, for frying (I used margarine)

Blitz the oats in the blender to make oat flour.  Mix dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.  Lightly whisk maple syrup, milk and eggs into dry ingredients to make a smooth quite runny batter.  Pour batter into a squeezy bottle or jug (or use a mixing bowl with a lip for pouring).

Heat heavy based non-stick frypan over medium high heat.. Take a small knob of butter in a metal teaspoon and run it over the frypan until the pan is just covered with melted butter.  Pour 3 to 4 small pancakes or 1 large pancake into the pan, leaving quite a bit of room for spreading.  Fry until bubbling and flip over.  Leave another minute or two until golden brown both sides.  (I don't time this so this is an approximate time).

Eat warm with your favourite pancake topping.  (Mine are lemon and sugar or maple syrup and butter.)

On the stereo:
Yes Virginia... - Dresden Dolls


  1. Lots of goings on! If you want more goings on, Diwali celebration is at Fed Square tomorrow from noon :)

    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - Diwali would have been interesting but we went to a school fete - now that the weather is getting better (in theory) there seems to be lots happening

  2. I love reading about your family outings. These pancakes look delish and are gluten free.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - the pancakes weren't gluten free but I think would be easier to make gf with the range of flours

  3. Great that you had a wonderful time with family, music, and nice food! Over here it's getting cooler, and the outdoor season is definitely over, but I like autumn very much because it's such a cosy and introvert season.

    I didn't have dolls but stuffed animals, and bathing them always was an event! Also I hold some very dear pancake memories. I don't think my mom ever tried to pour them into shapes, but I'd cut things from them when they were ready. I liked to make faces or round fish and used sugar to draw eyes and scales onto them.

    1. Thanks Kath - I really like the thought of autumn being an introvert season - summer is indeed for extroverts - and I love hearing about your cutting your pancakes into shapes - I love fun with food. I am reluctant to bath dolly too much as I worry she will get lumpy but loved toys can get a little smelly because they go EVERYWHERE

  4. I share your disappointment about the closing of the House Secrets exhibit at Scienceworks! I recently took my 6-year-old sister there and was devastated to find out it was being replaced - I have so many childhood memories there!
    Oh did you watch Redesign my Brain too? I loved that show! I am trying to teach myself to juggle haha! Not so successful yet.

    1. Thanks Reanna - I had been looking forward to the House Secrets exhibit so I couldn't believe it was gone. Redesign my Brain really made me feel I should be doing a lot more for my brain than I do - good on you for learning to juggle

  5. I love the pic of your daughter getting her face paint, how beautiful. My daughter must also have being a food bloggers daughter.... we have no meal routine and I hardly ever make her something often enough to let her have a favourite.

    1. Thanks Gourmet Getaways - I sometimes feel like I should have more of a routine but life just seems too short - but Sylvia has tofu bacon as a favourite which works really well because I can give it to her plain and use it in so many different dishes.

  6. I too enjoy reading about your family outings, Johanna. Just think of the range of tastes Sylvia is going to have when she gets older being a child of a food blogger:)

    I do believe I may be making pancakes for dinner tonight at the request of Marion. I should make them healthier as in your recipe. I'll need to see if I have the ingredients.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna and Congratulations on being one of the winners at the World Pasta Day Round-up! I'll email you the details over the weekend. (which by the way as flurries in the forecast in my part of the world:)

    1. Thanks Louise - sylvia will definitely have a great range of stuff she has tasted and also a great range of food she refused to taste :-)

      Hope you enjoyed your pancakes for dinner and I am thrilled to win a World Pasta Day gift - good news like that should be accompanied by a sunny day and happily we have sun this afternoon which is better than can be said lately on the grey wet days we have been having - maybe it heralds some proper warm spring weather finally :-)

  7. Hehe my husband says the same thing. He wants to go to his favourite dumpling place but we're always trying something new! :P Love that picture of Sylvia getting face painted! :D

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I think E would just eat the same old meals if not for my blogging but new dishes are fun :-)

  8. This is one of your posts where I want to say so much in response I can't sensibly fit it in a coherent comment :-)

    In random order, I am glad your weather has been conducive to such lovely outings, The Reading Room sounds very much my kind of place, these pancakes are also my kind of pancakes, gift packs for food mixes are not shared enough in my world either, and brain training is a topic that fascinates me too!

    1. Thanks Kari - you did well to fit in a lot and still retain your coherence :-) Sadly the weather has been quite miserable since then but at least it is sunny this afternoon - but more happily and Sylvia got her banana oat pancakes this weekend - they were lovely and plump but I missed the thinner lacy ones

  9. I've loved watching Todd Sampson's show, absolutely fascinating watching, (plus I now clean my teeth with my left hand :-)

    1. Thanks Bridie - I have at various times used a computer mouse lefthanded and done sudoku lefthanded and now in retrospect I think that was probably good for my brain but I think my brain needs some oomph these days :-)

  10. The abandoned buildings are all amazing! I always enjoy reading about your fun days out.
    I rarely repeat recipes too, only the very favourites get re-made.

    1. Thanks Emma - I remake favourite recipes but I find if I am looking for stuff I often stumble across recipes I want to repeat - sometimes I do and sometimes I forget


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