Golden ginger pancakes

So I missed it. Shrove Tuesday that is, or Pancake day if you wish. This year, February the 28th, was the National Day of the Pancake. Fat, thin, puffed, rolled, however you take it, across the country Brits were flipping their pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I did have a pancake recipe planned, but for no other reason than I just didn’t get round to it, it wasn’t posted in time. Soz Guys.

Last Tuesday, eating pancakes for every meal of the day was of course allowed. It’s kinda obligatory as when else can you do it?? An indulgence that’s not frowned upon whether you’re 8 or 80, and if a whole jar of Nutella is consumed in one serving, no fingers will be pointed!! I’m not really a Nutella girl, my go-to is lemon and sugar however I updated it a little this year. Chunks of tart cheek-sucking blood orange and grapefruit, lemon juice and a good drizzle of local honey. That was swiftly followed by another spread liberally with the milk jam I spoke about in my last post. No need for an explanation, I’m sure you can all imagine the heavenlyness that graced my mouth.

Preceding the sweet pancakes there always has to be a savoury version in my house, and not too many as we don’t want to be too full for the MAIN event now do we?!? Obviously there’s no american pancakes allowed on pancake day, crepes are where it is at and so the batter doubles both for the savoury and the sweet. In the past I’ve made a version of the french galette, the crepes made from buckwheat flour a deep nutty smoky flour that when poured thin and crispy and wrapped around ham and Comte cheese sizzled under the grill with a handful of lemony spiked salad on the side, it’s simple, unadulterated but hits the spot. Or for the veggies, pear, cheddar, walnuts and some honey, or mushrooms spinach and a runny fried egg perched on top. Balances out the oncoming sugar-hit but leaves enough of a hole to eat at least one or two more pancakes!

Pancakes are a thing eaten worldwide, probably in every country, in many many different variations. So we all know the French crepe, and the American pancakes, thick fluffy and the size of your face. Hop across the continents to Asia where pancakes are a regular for breakfast. In South India there is the masala dosa. A pancake made by fermenting ground lentils and rice, spread so thinly you could read the newspaper through it, filled with a spiced potato mix and served with a lentil sambol and coconut chutney. Or in Sri Lanka there is the hopper. A coconut infused rice crepe with an egg cooked inside, topped with curries and chutneys. We all have grown up with the Chinese crispy duck pancakes, and one not so dissimilar is the banh xeo found in Vietnam. A coconut and turmeric spiced pancake typically stuffed with pork and prawns, mushrooms and raw crunchy vegetables alongside a dipping sauce heavy on the fish sauce called nuoc cham.

I wanted to stay seasonal this year, so for pancake day as the savoury course I opted for a spiced roast squash, sage and hazelnut pesto, spinach and some goats cheese (plus the sizzled chorizo for my dad, AKA meat fiend). We all enjoyed it so much it made me wonder why we don’t eat savoury pancakes more often, a brilliant way of cobbling together straggling leftovers from the fridge to make a wholly satisfying meal.

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Topped with blood orange and pink grapefruit, be pollen, sunflower seeds, yogurt, cashew butter, cinnamon and a drizzle of local raw honey

 

My recipe for you this time doesn’t actually involve crepes, sorry for the tease. Here’s a pancake recipe that can be used all year round, weekdays before work (yes they’re that quick) or for a long and relaxing weekend brunch. I threw this recipe together one morning, adapted from the two-ingredient pancakes I’m sure you’ve seen sneaking around on Pinterest. Originally it calls for one banana to two eggs, but by adding oats, bicarbonate of soda, spices, grated fresh ginger and ground linseeds it makes for an uber fluffy pancake.

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The banana in the batter makes them sweet so it’s not necessary to add any more sweetener, although a little drizzle of something never does any harm. Top with your favourite fruits, nut butter, chopped nuts or seeds and some yogurt and be prepared to lick the plate clean.

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Can you tell I was way too keen to get eating before I took these pictures?

 

Golden ginger pancakes

Serves 2-3 depending on your appetite

Ingredients

  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp ground linseeds/flaxseeds
  • Milk, around 1/4 cup

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients except the milk to a high speed blender such as a Nutribullet and blend until a smooth very thick batter forms. Add the milk and blend again, if it is still too thick add a little more milk.
  2. If you don’t have a high speed blender, mash the banana well in a bowl and whisk in the eggs. Substitute the rolled oats for oat flour or any other flour of your choice (wholemeal would be nice) and whisk well along with all the other ingredients. Add enough milk to thin the batter slightly as before.
  3. Place a frying pan on a medium high heat and add some oil. Brush the oil round to coat the base of the pan. When it is hot add ladlefuls of the batter, I usually manage 3 or 4 in a large pan, trying to keep them in a round-ish shape. When the edges start to set and there are loads of little bubbles on the surface flip the pancakes and leave to cook for 1 or 2 minutes more.
  4. Whilst you finish cooking the rest of the pancakes, put the cooked ones on a plate and cover with a tea towel. Put in a low oven to keep warm.
  5. Once all the pancakes are cooked serve as many as you wish, piled with your favourite fruit and toppings.

 

Treat yourself with love,care and a nice breakfast, and a successful day will surely follow. Love and breakfast wishes (and a very, very belated Happy Pancake Day to you!!)

X

 

A tribute to toast

Bread

All you carbophones keep on scrolling as you won’t be interested. BUT YOU SHOULD BE.

Is there anything better in life than some fresh bread, sourdough, baguette, white, brown anything goes, and smothered (we’re not talking a thin coat, I mean 1 inch thick) with butter. That’s salted. Always.

I went through a sad time in my life after reading too many of these health food blogs in this ‘wellness world’, when I decided that carbs were bad. Which meant completely avoiding bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, even grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, spelt and at one point even rye. I thought they would make you put on weight, all we need is a paleo way of life. Vegetables and protein and lots of fat.

But my idea of that didn’t include much protein. So basically I was surviving on just vegetables, avocado and nuts. And I wondered why I was hungry all the time…

(Do not go down this route, it’s not good, not good at all!)

So in an attempt to get my life together and learn to practice balance, carbs have come flooding back in. BIG TIME.

You see they are kinda necessary. Carbohydrates in the form of starchy foods need to make up up to a third of what we eat. Apart from being an excellent source of energy (the slow releasing sort) they contain calcium, iron, B vitamins and most importantly fibre. Every little bit adds up to that 30g of fibre we need a day.

So in a bid to put on some much needed pounds and give myself the energy to power through not just workouts but my whole day, more carbs it is. There could be worse things.

Now when it comes to bread I do love some sourdough. Hefty, chewy and with that must have tang, as it is is best. Or dunked into some steaming soup. My love affair with bread however was rekindled by a certain rye bread. Now considered to be popular among the health food lovers amongst us, and the main component of a #basic breakfast, Biona rye bread is the one. 

Sworn on by the Danes, and most of Scandinavia, rye bread is nothing new. It’s been eaten daily by all walks of life before it became trendy. And why shouldn’t it be, with such a rich deep flavour, that toasts up to perfection.

Did I just mention toast?

Stuck in a mealtime rut, or just so hangry that you need something in your mouth, RIGHT NOW!

Toast is always the answer.

It can be topped an infinite number of ways. Sweet, savoury, or mix the two together, and you don’t have to stick to plain avo with salt and lemon. Although why mess with a classic, it has a time and a place.

Black tahini, kiwi and passionfruit

So let’s av’ it. Toast up your bread till nice and crispy and get ready to devour, veerrryyyyyyy soon.

Arf n arf. For you lot not from the north, it is indeed half and half (usually in the form of half chips and half rice with a curry)

Sweet options are up first.

  • Peanut butter and banana

Ok, ok use almond, cashew whatever else, but pb is LIFE, and its’ soulmate is banana. Sprinkle with a good amount of cinnamon, bee pollen and cacao nibs. Fancy pants enough for you?

  • Nut butter and berries

So this is where the sweeter flavour of almond or cashew comes into play. If you can grab a coconut almond butter from either Meridian or Pip and Nut, you’re laughing. It compliments the tart berries to perfection, add some flaked coconut and perhaps more seeds for that crunch factor. 

  • Peanut butter, kiwi and granola

Granola on toast? Yep you read that right. After having seen @jescoxnutritionist post this on Instagram I knew she was on to something. It really is as good as it sounds. Make sure the kiwi and ripe and juicy, sliced thinly on top of some (make it crunchy) peanut butter, a good dousing with granola and a drizzle of date syrup for a little sweetness. The best by far, I think so!

  • Apple, tahini and cinnamon

If you’re a tahini lover this will float your boat. Smother the bread with dark, light or black tahini. Thinly slice an apple (British if possible), fan out across the toast, add the obligatory cinnamon and whatever other sprinkles you like. Quick, simple and most importantly tasty. 

  • Baked Fig, tahini and yogurt

Now if you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen me post this the other morning. Figs are in season for such a short time so grab em quick! Bake some figs for around 10 mins until warm and juicy, spread the toast liberally with tahini, swirl on the teeniest tiniest bit of raw honey, top with figs, yogurt dollops and lotsa cinnamon. The sweet stuff.

  • Avo, berries and nut butter

Feeling indecisive, why not mix the two together.

  • Peach Melba toast

Spread with coconut yogurt, top with thinly sliced peach and raspberries, sprinkle with hemp seeds and bee pollen. Feel like the ultimate summer goddess.

Now for some savoury tings, acceptable for breakfast lunch or dinner. Get on it! No I’m not going to get all egg on toast here, although that’s always a good option, here’s to something different. 

  • Avo on toast #basic

Go simple and smash it on there with a squeeze of lemon or lime to be zesty, and good pinch of salt and some chilli flakes.

  • Miso and tahini (future names for my cats), avo on toast   

An idea I got from the lovely blog, Dolly and Oatmeal. Mix a good tbsp of your favourite tahini with a small amount of white or brown miso and spread on toast. Top with sliced avo a good squeeze of lime and some sesame seeds for a sprinklinn’.

  • Avocado, strawberries and feta

When it’s summer and the sweetest of strawberries are in season,this is stellar. Mash the avo, spread on your toast, top with thinly sliced strawberries (nectarine/peaches are also good) and add feta or goats cheese. Its got that salty, sweet thing.

  • Avo, pea and feta smash

It is what is says, add some finely chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon and get spreading. Top with seeds and some rocket leaves.

  • Tahini, cucumber and smoked salmon
  • Beetroot, smashed avo and smoked mackerel
  • Hummus, mashed butternut squash, sliced tomatoes and chillies. Throw a little smoked paprika on there too. 

Messy, but still delicious. Hummus is always the right answer.

Obviously this not a definitive list, use up whatever’s left in your fridge to create something new, or stick to a well loved classic. Just always try to include some protein (animal or plantbased) and a small amount of fat, that way you’ll keep on chugging easily until the next big feed!

A toast to toast

Much love

X

First things first

I want to talk about breakfast.

Now I am a breakfast person. I like to wake up early in order to have a little peace in the morning, some time for me, and devour my little creation. My masterpiece (aka breakfast) changes from day to day, you won’t find Crunchy Nut Cornflakes in my bowl, no no no! We’re all about nutrient density peopleeee!

So before breakfast starts, I have my little ritual. It tends to differ slightly if I’m away from home, but if I’m not working or don’t need to rush out the house I usually like to wake around 7:30. Then its time for my warm water, lemon and ACV (apple cider vinegar BTW). If there’s one thing I recommend everyone does, that will make you feel that much better, is drinking a large glass of this first thing in the morning. Overnight your body starts to become dehydrated, so get some H2O down ya. It does a lot of good. Whilst you are asleep your body rests and repairs, now when ACV and lemon come along they kick your digestion into gear and the juices start churning.

Another thing I’ve recently added to my morning routine is a quick 10 minute yoga sequence, or if i cant be bothered, a good old stretch. You know that feeling when you wake up and your head feels a bit stuffy and you just can’t roll out from under those covers (I live in the UK, I’m always bloody FROZEN), just quickly throw off those covers-go on grin and bare it- then hang upside down, follow a little sun salutation or just take a few breaths in downward dog. If you want to supercharge your morning, flow into wildthing or wheel, that’ll get you going for FO’ SUREE!

I understand you were expecting a breakfast recipe, it’s coming don’t worry. BUT FIRST…. PROBIOTICS. None of that coffee business for me. I wish I was a coffee drinker, they all look so cool, but no its some tummy loving I need.

Now, boys and girls comes the thing we’ve all been waiting for. And today I’m bringing you ‘drumroll plooiseeee’….. PORRIDGE. Or oatmeal for you a bit further west across the Atlantic.

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Alright, alright I know you’re thinking, is that it?! Ok, it can be boring, it can be stodgy and lumpy, it can also have no nutritional value, just drown it in golden syrup and well, there you go. But porridge doesn’t have to be. Correction: it shouldn’t be and from now on, never will be.


I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. But when such a simple thing can taste SO DAMN GOOD, I want to give you one of my favourite porridge recipes, a bare bricks recipe that you can use as a guideline for creating other flavour bombs. I’m telling you, BOMBS! If you don’t like one thing on there change it for something you do like. You can alter the fruit depending on what’s in season. You can go as fancy pants as you wish, or as minimal. You’re the one who’s eating it, not me. And if you’re a porridge-o-phobe, you can’t stand the smell or taste, maybe this will change you for good.

Or you still hate the stuff? And if that’s you, eat an omelette!

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NOTE (on the ingredients): This is a banana version of the porridge, which lends a nice sweetness without you having to add any sugar or sweetener. Spiked blood sugar levels first thing in the morning is most definitely what we don’t want here.

Porridge oats: I like to use rolled oats (preferably organic) for a quicker cooking porridge, sometimes half rolled, half jumbo which leads to a chunkier texture. For a lovely nutty flavour use rye or spelt flakes or for the gluten free, you can substitute brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes, or buckwheat flakes.

Chia seeds: Teeny tiny packs of nutrients, these chia seeds add some protein and omega 3 to your porridge. It’s important to pair some protein with your breakfast to keep you sustained for longer. If you don’t have chia, you can use linseeds, flaxseeds, sunflower or pumpkin. They also add a nice crunch.

Fruit: Adding fruit is not necessary for porridge, however it makes it that bit creamier and sweeter as i mentioned before. Also it gives you a larger bowlful, WINNING!  If you don’t want banana, grate in half an apple or a pear. Or if you want a less sugar first thing in the morning grate in a small carrot, courgette, add in some mashed cooked sweet potato or butternut squash. If it’s a plainer porridge you wish for don’t add any fruit at all and let the flavour of the oats shine through.

Milk: Personally I prefer a plant based milk, but only if it’s unsweetened, I would rather it didn’t have any added things like carageenan or emulsifiers (however we can’t always escape these sort of things and have to go for the best option) but please don’t use soy milk. If you are more inclined towards some dairy, try to go for organic and whole milk too. It’s the fat in dairy which makes all the vitamins and minerals available for our bodies to use. If you have none left in your fridge, go on and use all water, it won’t be as unctuous, but perhaps stir through some coconut oil, yogurt or nut butter for some added YUM!

Spices: Again, not completely necessary, they add a certain je ne sais quoi?! Cinnamon makes the porridge sweeter, and is brilliant for balancing your blood sugar levels. But why not experiment with ground cardamom, ground ginger, turmeric (don’t knock it till you try it), vanilla or nutmeg.

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Ingredients:

40g or 1/3 cup of porridge oats

1 tsp chia seeds

125ml or 1/2 cup water

125ml or 1/2 cup milk of your choice

1/2 banana

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon (I love the stuff so I add loads, but it’s up to you, just taste and adjust)

pinch pink Himalayan salt

 

  1. The night before, put the oats and chia seeds in a bowl and mix them together. This will ensure the chia seeds don’t go into a big clump. Add the water and the milk of your choice to the oats, mix, place a plate over the top and leave to soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, mash the 1/2 banana in a saucepan, add the soaked oats and chia seeds along with all the liquid, the cinnamon, and the pink Himalayan salt. Mix together, clamp on a lid and turn up the heat to medium-high until the porridge starts to bubble.
  3. Give the porridge a stir to make sure it’s not sticking, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on a tilt.
  4. Leave to bubble slowly, like little pops of lava, until thickened to how you like. This can take however long you have, 5 minutes for when you’re in a rush, 15 minutes or even 30 minutes, cooked really slowly to retain all the goodness in the oats to make the softest creamiest porridge you’ll have ever tasted.
  5. Add more milk if necessary. Sometimes I want a looser consistency so add a bit more milk, other times i want it stodgy, stand a spoon in it sorta stuff.
  6. Leave to settle with the lid on for a minute or two off the heat whilst you prepare your toppings, then tip into a bowl.
  7. Bring out your creative side, decorate THE ULTIMATE PORRIDGE how your little heart desires, and then take a quick pic for Instagram. Everyone will say how they hate people who take pictures of their breakfast, don’t listen to them, they’re just jealous that they’re not eating it.

Toppings: I advise some nut or seed butter or some yogurt for some protein, and because PEANUT BUTTER. If you don’t like the texture mix it into the porridge when its finished cooking. ^EPIC

Sprinkle, with nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit compote, more milk, cacao nibs, bee pollen, yes and nut butter.

For that extra sweetness (I don’t think it needs it, but sometimes we all need a little sweet touch) drizzle with maple syrup, date syrup (HELLO CARAMEL), rice malt syrup or raw honey.

Seriously you can go crazy. Have a #moretoppingsthanporridge morning.

Enjoy my loves!

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