Fluffy Banana Pancakes

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Most Tuesdays I work from home, which is one of my favourite things to do.

I can wake up an hour later than usual, make a giant mug of coffee (half-caf), and sit down to work in my pyjamas, with Minka (my cat) by my side (and occasionally stepping all over the computer keyboard and meowing loudly for attention).

On this grey November Tuesday, as I was well into the morning, the bananas I had planned to bake something with but had never gotten around to, and that were now teetering dangerously towards being too brown, were poking around at the edge of my mind. And so, since I aspire to never leave any brown banana behind, I decided to turn them into pancakes, and got to googling recipes.

These are quite possibly the loveliest, fluffiest banana pancakes I’ve ever had.

They are in fact so good, that I managed to eat three whilst standing at the stove top making them, and then decided I was too full to eat any more just now, but still ended up sneaking into the kitchen afterwards to eat the two trial ones I’d made first and cast aside…

They have a delicate banana flavour to them, not too sweet but sweet enough that you can eat them on their own, should you wish to, and they’re really light, and slightly crispy on the outside. They take about 2 minutes to whip together, and another 10-15 minutes to fry. And about 30 seconds to eat, with or without maple syrup.

As I was working I didn’t manage to take any pictures other than the one above (so I’ve supplemented with some Autumn leaves and a few shots of my cat). But I still wanted to post the recipe, since they are quite possibly my new favourite thing, and very different to the recipes for oatmeal pancakes I’ve posted before.

So here’s to the loveliest, fluffiest and sunniest banana pancakes you will ever eat on a grey November morning.

The Best Banana Pancakes
adapted ever so slightly from once upon a chef

  • 185 g (1 1/2 cup) flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 medium, (over-)ripe banana
  • 240 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or any vegetable oil you have on hand)

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, mash the peeled banana with a fork, whisk in the eggs, then milk and vanilla extract.

Whisk the banana mixture and the three tbsp of oil into the dry ingredients; don’t over-mix, just until there are no visible streaks of flour (it’ll be slightly lumpy, but that’s perfectly fine).

Heat up a bit of oil in a non-stick pan, and drop smallish quarter-cups of batter into the frying pan. Fry over medium to low heat until the pancakes start to look cooked around the edges, about 30 seconds to a minute, then flip them over and cook through. Be careful that they don’t burn, and turn down the heat if they seem to be getting too dark. They don’t need very long, and will still feel lightly squidgy in the middle if you poke them with you finger, but they will be cooked through, don’t worry.

Transfer the finished ones onto a plate, and keep going until you’re out of batter – I got about 16 medium pancakes out of mine!

These are best eaten right away, as they’ll still be crispy around the edges. But they’re also perfectly fine eaten later, and if you warm them up in the oven they regain some of their crispiness. They’re also perfectly lovely microwaved, especially with maple syrup on top.

Bon app’!
🙂

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Minka, drinking a Capri-Sun

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Weekend Playlist 24.01.16

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Sunday ♥️

This morning I practiced flipping pancakes, I’m getting quite good at it.

I ate some with brown sugar and some with regular sugar and lemon. And drank copious amounts of sweet tea.

Later my friend Maaike is coming over to help me eat the rest of the pancakes. Maaike is very spiritual, and reads a lot about numerology, astrology, energies and lights, and tells me about them. Whether you’re into all things less tangible, I think self-reflection is always a good thing. Understanding how and why you respond to the world and energies around you 🙂 She and I emit the same frequency, she says, and that’s why we get along so well.

Maaike likes to joke that she pursued me aggressively as a friend, playground-style. For some reason she decided that she and I should be friends, that she liked my aura! And so she told me, and that was that. I’m quite a, I don’t want to say repressed, but kind of introverted person, but I took to Maaike very easily, she’s the kind of person who just lets you be whatever and whoever you are. I’m also not a very touchy person, so she likes to ‘Fockerise’ me. I think it’s working. Anyways. My point, I seem to have lost it. I think the one I was trying to get at, convolutedly so, is that self-reflection is a great thing, but so is getting out of your own head. And for that, there’s music.

Here are a few of the songs that have soothed, comforted, energised me and made me dance around while making pancakes this weekend:

Patti Smith is great for making pancakes, or just in general.

And then, sometimes, lyrics will jump out at you and make you realise what you’re feeling, or have felt. Or just make you wonder 🙂 And Annie Lennox is a beautiful, bittersweet unicorn:

Some things are better left unsaid
But they still turn me inside out.

How beautiful is that?

P.s.: The photo is of sea ice frost flowers, from Nick Cobbing’s gorgeous instagram account.

Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes

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Adapted from Orangette.

To say that I am not a morning person would be an understatement. But I love breakfast, so sometimes at the weekend I’ll make pancakes or French toast, or poached eggs. Food is pretty much the only thing that will get me out of bed on weekend mornings. Yesterday my boyfriend went and picked us up a Moroccan pancake at the market in Flagey (Brussels is ripe with markets, both at the weekend and throughout the week) – they are the best thing in the world. Full stop. I think they are my favourite food. There’s a little green food van called ‘SOUL KITCH’N’ that makes fresh apple and ginger juice, and sweet mint tea, and then the pancakes. They’re basically a buttery, salty, flaky type of flatbread, smeared with ricotta, olives, artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes, spicy merguez sausages, and drizzled with sweet and sour sauce (odd, but it really works). And it’s hard to explain how good they are. I’ll try to get a picture of the van and/or pancake next time (I found someone else’s online recommendation of the van, if you want to go check out the photos 🙂 ) – yesterday I was too caught up, first with being lazy in the hammock in the sun (!), whilst food was being picked up for
me (!!), and then eating said pancake (in the hammock!! In the sun!!!). Not too bad for a Saturday.

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Today is Sunday, and my sister’s coming round for brunch (at 2 p.m. though – I have a strict ‘don’t expect me to do or show up for anything before 2 p.m. on a Sunday’ policy). So I decided to make these oatmeal and blueberry pancakes, as they’re so so easy, and so so good. Especially drizzled with maple syrup. Or brown sugar! Brown sugar’s good too. The original recipe says to leave the oats and buttermilk to mush together in the fridge over night, but the longest I’ve ever let the mixture sit before making the pancakes is an hour, and I’ve never noticed that they were any worse for it. I’ve tried them with both fresh and frozen blueberries, and I much prefer using fresh berries, as the frozen for some reason burned a bit when I flipped the pancakes over (I think because they’re a lot wetter than fresh ones, and as such a bit more ‘exposed’, if you will, if that makes sense?), and also ‘leaked’ a lot more colour into the pancakes. The fresh berries stay sort of intact, and create little pockets of fruit that burst as you eat the pancake.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 180 g ~ 2 cups rolled oats/oatmeal
  • 480 ml ~ 2 cups buttermilk
  • 62.5 g (no need for this level of precision, but the original recipe is in cups 😉 ) ~ ½ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 g ~ ½ cup ~ 1 stick butter, melted
  • Olive oil, for cooking (or another vegetable oil of your choice)
  • About 200 g fresh blueberries

Mix together the rolled oats and buttermilk. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt).

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Lightly beat the two eggs together, then pour them into the oats and buttermilk mixture, followed by the melted butter, and mix well.

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Heat up some olive oil a large non-stick pan, over medium-high heat. Pour about a ¼ cup of the batter onto your pan (I usually make four at a time, as they tend to spread a bit). After 1-2 minutes, when the pancakes seem to be setting around the edges, plop your blueberries around on the not-yet-baked side of the pancakes, before flipping them over to brown on the other side. I find that pushing each pancake onto a spatula with another spatula, helps me to not massacre the pancakes completely as I flip them over 😉

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Deposit the finished pancakes in a baking dish/tray covered in aluminium foil as you go along, and leave the dish in the oven, at about 100˚ C, so that they stay warm and don’t get too ‘floppy’ before you’re ready to serve them.

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Serve warm with maple syrup, brown sugar, or apricot jam (my new favourite topping for these – even if maple syrup is hard to top!).

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Yield: 22-23 little pancakes 🙂

P.s.: these are also delightful cold the next day; I usually put them in a tupperware container, separated by layers of baking parchment, and bring along another little tub with whatever I want to dip them in (tomorrow I’ll go for the apricot jam. I also think this will look less silly when I give in and eat them on the bus on my way to work, maple syrup tends to make a bit of a mess.)

Crêpes

pancakes 082My mum used to make these thin pancakes for my brother and me when we were kids, sometimes we’d have pancake dinners, and it was awesome! We’d usually have them with either brown sugar or sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. She’d make a big batch, folding them with the spatula and placing them in a tin foil-covered dish in the oven as she made them, and then we’d all dig in. If there were any left over, she’d sprinkle them with sugar and roll them up in tin foil for us to bring in our school lunch. I still do this now (for work instead of school!) whenever I make a batch.

I’ve had a slightly challenging week, and, to top it off, I’m having a sliiightly challenging Sunday. And I’m trying really, really hard not to moan about it, because it isn’t a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, to be woken up early by your neighbour’s alarm clock on a Sunday, an alarm that will keep buzzing and buzzing for over an hour until you’re guaranteed not to be able to fall back asleep; or to then try to console yourself with pancakes and a long bath, only to discover that the water to your building has been shut off for some reason – making it rather difficult to take a long bath, or to make pancakes. Well, I’m making the pancakes anyway, sod it.

So here goes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 125 g ~ 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 200 ml mild beer (for this batch I used Hoegaarden, a Belgian white beer, but I’ve also made this with strong, dark beer, and it was delicious; you can substitute water or milk for the beer if you wish, but the beer makes for really light and airy pancakes)
  • 125 ml milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil, but it doesn’t matter much which you use)
  • Butter for cooking

Whisk or sift together your dry ingredients.

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Add the beer and milk a little at a time, whisking well to make a thick batter.

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Whisk in your four eggs, followed by the two tbsp of oil, whisking until you have a smooth, thin batter.

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Leave to rest for about 30 minutes (I have skipped this step before, but if you have the time/patience to wait, letting the batter rest really will make for thinner, more even pancakes).

Heat up your pan (or pans) over medium to high heat, and add a nubbin of butter. When the butter starts to foam and brown slightly, pour in a scant ladle-full of batter (this will, of course, depend on the size of your pan and ladle! But aim to use as little batter as possible to cover the base of your frying pan), swirling the pan around to spread the batter. If there are any little holes, just drop little droplets of batter to fill these.

After about a minute, when the pancake starts to bubble up and brown around the edges (lift the side up to check!), flip it over and let it bake on the other side for about 30 seconds to a minute. Place in a dish and cover with tin foil (you can leave the covered dish in the oven at 100˚C, to make sure the pancakes stay warm but don’t crisp up, or just make sure you tuck the tin foil in well around your dish after adding a newly baked pancake), and repeat.

I usually do what my mum always did, which is fold the finished pancake in half twice, to make a quarter, before placing it in the dish – I don’t know why she did this, but I keep doing it for some reason. Maybe because it makes them easier to transfer to the dish? You can also just stack them one on top of the other 😉

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Serve with brown sugar, sugar and lemon, or whatever topping you prefer (ice cream/Nutella/jam? 🙂 )

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Yield: depends on the size of your pan, I usually get about 16 medium-sized pancakes 🙂