Ooh Aah 1 and cousin QPat’s Ooh Aah admiring how warm the Thermoserver keeps pancakes
While in Sydney there was a request from host niece for buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. Buckwheat has a pronounced savoury flavour, so I found her request refreshing. She has previously been known to be a little particular with food and wary of trying new things. The fact that she prefers buckwheat over regular white flour pancakes as well as a love of lemon tarts (no chocolate or meringue please Aunty!) might just mean she is of a discerning palate rather than just a fussy eater. I have found this with several fussy eaters. It often ends up being a textural or flavour preference as they grow out of the food/control resistance they might put up as toddlers.
Anyhoo, my sister and I set to work to make breakfast for the various children tumbling about in the next room. We were after a more crepey result than the American style fat stodgy pancakes that look more impressive but make you regret eating them halfway through the second one. How anyone eats a stack of them I don’t know.
I toyed with a couple of recipes, the one in the Everyday Cookbook and one on Forum Thermomix. I doubled the latter recipe and added some plain flour to take away a little of the strong buckwheaty flavour. So with a bit more tweaking I came to the following recipe.
First take 100g of your wholegrain buckwheat, grind to a flour as the Thermomix so satisfyingly does for 30 seconds at Speed 9. Now add 100g of plain flour (or if you are preferring a gluten free option, use 100g gluten free cornflour), 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon of sugar (or not, especially if you are going to drown them in honey or maple syrup), 2 eggs, 40g oil or butter and 500g milk. Mix for 10 seconds on Speed 5, scrape down sides, fire up crepe pan with a smudge of butter melting in the middle. Or just your regular frying pan if you aren’t Niles from Frasier.
Pour straight from the Thermomix jug into appropriate sized circles on the heated pan and wait for bubbles. When bubbly on top and not too runny flip over for not very much time. Check underside has browned a little then toss into Thermoserver to keep warm. All pancake making means first one is a bit weird, which usually means the chef gets to eat it. This recipe makes around 15 mid sized thin pancakes which was enough to feed our 5 tiny people and a couple of wandering husbands snacking on them while our backs were turned.
Serve with maple syrup, honey, lemon and sugar, blueberries, strawberries, banana, basically whatever is at hand and will get eaten by the little munchkins. You can always get fancy and puree some blueberries and add to the pancake mix. Just add a little more flour to make up for the extra liquid. Blue pancakes are usually received quite well. I did read a recipe that suggested pureed beetroot. I’m sure they tasted lovely but they looked like congealed blood clots in the accompanying photo. Maybe one to save for Halloween.
I visited Sydney over the weekend which reinforced that soup weather feeling. It was COOOOLLLLDDD!! We have been accused of turning into Queenslanders by our Sydney family. Requesting electric blankets for the bed may have encouraged this kind of statist labeling.
A delightful roast chicken on our first night made chicken soup making irresistible. Chicken noodle soup has held a place in my heart since Kirralyn Rayworth gave me a sample of what was in her Mickey Mouse thermos in primary school. So warm on a cold, rainy day in the playground. So flavoursome with the added bonus of slippery soft little strips of noodle. It could have been from a packet mix or a can for all I knew, I just knew it was really good and I wanted a Mickey Mouse thermos.
To the soup making then. Strip the remaining meat off the cold chicken carcass for adding later to the soup. I also cut the carcass in half so it fits into the Thermomix basket. Next throw a peeled, quartered onion and some peeled garlic cloves into the Thermomix bowl. Match amount of garlic cloves to amount of sneezing and coughing in your house. Chop em up for a couple of seconds on Speed 7. Spatula the sides to put it all back in the bottom. Add 20g olive oil then saute for 2 minutes on 100 degrees, Speed 1. Meanwhile roughly chop some carrot, leek, celery, whatever you have looking soup worthy in the vegetable drawer. Put them in the basket with the chicken carcass and a handful of any herbs you have at hand. Perhaps pop in a bay leaf. I have never been convinced that bay leaves contribute anything at all, but they are always in recipes so I figure what the hey. One day I plan to grow some bay leaves so I have them fresh and can really tell what flavour they are. Some whole peppercorns on top. A sprinkling of salt. If you are going for a slightly Asian flavour a hunk of fresh ginger. The Everyday Cookbook often suggests adding Kombu (seaweed) to stocks. I think it adds nutritional value. Probably should look that up. I have never sought it out, but plan to one day. Chuck a small piece of that in if it does live in your pantry. Set temperature at 100 degrees, speed 2 or 3 for 35-45 minutes. Go see what the kids are up to. Or make yourself a beverage. Or catch up on shows taking up space on your TV hard drive. Don’t bother hanging out the washing because if it isn’t currently raining it will be soon.
Once the time is finished what you have is chicken stock. At this stage you gingerly remove the basket with the spatula and dump contents (maybe cool it down in the sink for a bit so it doesn’t melt your garbage bag). Taste the remaining liquid to check for seasoning. If it needs a flavour boost you can always add a tablespoon of vegetable stock concentrate (the one you made when your lovely consultant delivered your Thermomix). To make soup add some thin slices of carrot or mushroom or both, the shredded chicken pieces you reserved earlier and a couple of handfuls of dried noodles to the liquid in the bowl. I picked up some perfect soup noodles from our local butcher who sells an amazing variety of things in quite a small shop. These noodles appear to be German in origin and are just the right texture for soups. Set temperature to 100 degrees and cook for 3-4 minutes on Reverse, Speed Soft. Timing depends on your noodle, so check on these after a couple of minutes to see how much longer they need. The carrot, mushroom and chicken pieces don’t really need cooking, just a little softening and warming through. I like the carrot to retain a little crunch so cook for longer if you want them softer. To add a bit of heat and fresh flavour sprinkle the finished soup with some fresh parsley, chopped spring onion and chopped long red chilli. Match with Tsing Tao beer to take you back to the days you spent taking in an early dinner at Happy Chef in Sydney’s Chinatown on a lazy Sunday evening, before walking all that liquid off on the way back home.