Monday, 20 February 2012

Pancake Day

It doesn't really matter what you call it - Mardi Gras, Fasnacht, Carnival, Karneval….I'll probably never truly understand the whole point of it, but one thing that I love about all the craziness just before lent starts is the last day of it - pancake day. Whoever originally had that idea - using all the milk, eggs, sugar, and butter they wouldn't be using for the next 40 days, in my book that was the best idea ever!
In case you haven't noticed, I am rather fond of all things pancakes - thin ones, thick and fluffy ones, cut-up ones in soup, even the ones that are filled with jam and are bloody donuts (I'm not even trying to understand why they call them Pfannkuchen in Berlin, they're not even made in a proper pan…) oh, and does anyone amongst you Germans remember Petzi? Growing up one of my goals in life (right after becoming a bird-catcher dude just like Papageno) was to get my mum to make a stack of pancakes as high as the one Petzi's mum kept making at the end of each adventure. Unfortunately I wasn't really that good at the whole scheming thing so neither the bird-catcher thing nor the pancake stack worked out…
Anyhow, a while back Verena asked me for a gluten-free pancake recipe so I thought I should come up with one. Since she didn't tell me whether it was supposed to be a thick American-style pancake or a thin crêpe I decided to be lazy and go down the crêpe-route. If you've never had millet, this is a really nice introduction to it. We've used buckwheat in a few other recipes in the past (if you actually cook the stuff I write about rather than just looking at the pictures - yes, Katharina S, I am soo looking at you right now :) )

One note of caution, if you're looking for super thin pancakes that you can pretty much see through and that will roll up amazingly easily, I would probably make palatschinken (aka Austrian crêpe) because since this recipe is gluten-free and I didn't add anything fancy to the batter there there isn't any of the proteiny viscousness in the batter. That said, I do think flavour-wise, these are the best thin pancakes I have had in a while.

Millet and Buckwheat Pancakes
100g Millet Flour
50g Buckwheat Flour
200ml Milk
100g Creme Fraiche
2 Eggs
½ tbsp Sugar (optional)
A pinch of Salt
Zest of ½ Orange (optional)
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Mix the flours, then whisk in the milk, eggs and creme fraiche. Add the sugar and orange zest if you are using them (in case you haven't noticed lately, I believe orange zest goes with everything). Then add the Salt and Vanilla Essence.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet to a medium heat and melt some butter in it.
Pour some batter into the skillet and rotate the skillet slightly so the batter gets evenly distributed. Wait until the pancake looks like it's cooked through and the edges start rolling up (I found that unlike a 'normal' crepe where it doesn't matter as much whether the edges are already rolling up, with these they kept tearing whenever I was too impatient), flip the pancake and give it another minute or two so the second side gets some colour as well.
I had these pancakes with some cinnamon sugar but my mum says they also go really well with some strawberry-rhubarb jam.
What is your favourite pancake topping/filling?

I hope you have a good week and lots and lots of pancakes :)

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Sometimes I really don't like food.
Sometimes I don't understand how something that should be so much fun can turn into so much drama and hassle.
Like when I have no real control over what I'm eating because I eat out for lunch and then I'm eating with other people for dinner.
When I'm stressed out and not hungry (not the kind of stressed out that makes you eat like there's no tomorrow, the stressed out when you're past hungry) and then someone in my dinner party starts making a big scene that I haven't even eaten half the pizza.
When the next time I am out with that group I eat all the food on my plate so people will leave me alone, and then I feel sick for the rest of the night.
When I've just eaten an entire bar of chocolate and I have to realise that I don't feel any better...actually, if I were actually honest with myself in that situation I would have to admit that doing that kinda thing makes me feel worse...even when it seemed like a fun idea at the time.
When I am invited over to someone's house for dinner and I really don't like the food they're cooking but it's impolite to not eat it.
And most recently when I get home from the building site that is my apartment at crazy o'clock and I moved past hungry about 3 hours earlier and am too tired to even look at the fridge.

But other times I love food.
When I try a new dish and it feels like my tastebuds are exploding.
When I make these brownies...any brownies really..
When I have dinner with people I care about and I don't even realise how amazing the food is because I'm having such a good time.
When I manage to cook something I was scared of trying and then it turns out fabulously.
When I have someone ask me for a recipe and I can get creative trying to find something that will fit the bill (Verena - I am honing in on a winner with the gluten-free pancakes!).
When I'm eating super fresh oranges over the sink in a hotel bedroom with some of the loveliest people ever, trying to not fall into the bathtub because I'm laughing so hard. Actually, any kind of hotel-room picnic really (like watermelons in Budapest with lovely Katharina (the other one) Sonja and Juliane, or room-service pasta in Kandy).
When I feel people connect over a dinner (or even just while talking about a recipe).

When do you feel like food is the most fabulous thing ever? When do you wish we didn't have to eat at all?
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