Easy Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes

After the crazy first week of college that I’ve had, I could use a batch of these deliciously light crepes.


Hi! It’s been a while, I know. Quick update: I have since relocated to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania in the USA from Zimbabwe to start college at the University of Pennsylvania! How’s the first few weeks of college been? Insane, wild and fun to put it in a few words. Expect a blog post detailing my experiences to come soon!

Anyways, on to this recipe. I think that crepes are severely underrated and underappreciated. The French really had something going with this one. Crepes can be had as either a breakfast option or a dessert, but the best part of having crepes is that the basic recipe never changes but there is an infinite combination of crepe fillings. I just filled these with cacao macademia spread (a vegan alternative to Nutella) and fresh strawberries but you can go with whatever you like! I’ve previously used lemon curd, strawberry jam and even plain sugar. You can top them with powdered sugar, ice cream, custard, the limits go as far as your imagination!


Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (I used coconut oil but vegetable oil would work too)
  • ½ cup strawberry jam or chocolate spread
  • 100g fresh strawberries, sliced in half

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir together before pouring in the soy milk, vanilla essence and oil. Stir with a fork until just combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out it’s okay if there are a few here and there. The batter should be very runny.
  2. Heat a large saucepan on high and brush with some oil. Try not to add to much oil to the pan otherwise the crepe batter will run with the oil. Use a ladle to pour the crepe batter in the saucepan. Swirl the pan around to spread the crepe batter all around the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to turn up, about 2 minutes, before turning over. Remove the warm crepe to a plate and store in a warm oven so that they don’t get cold. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. Once you’ve cooked all the crepes, spread the lighter side of the crepes with some strawberry jam or chocolate spread. Fold the crepes into half and then into quarters before serving topped with the fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
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How to Plan Your Mother’s Day Breakfast In Bed

Greetings all! Welcome to the first of a series of posts that focus on all things outside the kitchen. Think hosting dinner parties, sustainability and food security, DIY projects and basically everything else that’s on my mind. Today, we’ll be talking about setting up an epic breakfast spread for Mother’s Day.


For all my regular readers, you’ll know that I am no stranger to breakfasts in bed. If you’re new around these here parts, I’d just like to say hello, I’m glad you’re here! If you’d like to dig around in my archives, here are my 2 previous breakfast in bed posts, one with lemon ricotta pancakes and the other with berry waffles. Featured in this post are these Carrot Cake Pancakes


There’s nothing much to creating a memorable breakfast in bed, there are just a couple of points to consider whenever you’re planning a breakfast in bed:

  1. Is there anything messy that could ruin your bedsheets?

There is nothing more aesthetically pleasing yet heart wrenchingly terrifying than a photo of a large breakfast spread on stark white bed sheets. Sure, we’d all like to wake up to that, but not all of us would like to then be responsible for the sticky bright orange juice stain on the Egyptian cotton sheets. People with fur babies at home, please be especially cautious about this. I’m not saying that you’re not allowed to enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed OJ at brekkie, I’m just forewarning you of any possible outcomes. The last thing you’d want is to stress your mum about is the clean-up.

Beware of these culprits: maple syrup/honey, fruit juice, tea or any beverages, jam or marmalade.


2. Consider the whole picture

There are 4 elements that I like to include in every breakfast of bed that I plan. These are something sweet, something savoury, something to drink and something pretty. In this particular one, I have these carrot cake pancakes, avocado toast, orange juice and flowers. For aesthetic purposes I have also included a newspaper and a ramekin of strawberries.


To me, breakfast in bed is about providing the hotel experience, lots of choices involved. What separates this from a hotel breakfast (apart from the fact that it’s free) is that this is done from the heart. That means making everything from scratch. This is something I refuse to budge on. You don’t have to create something elaborate, 2 options is better than none. I can almost guarantee that your mother would greatly favour your burnt cinnamon rolls and soggy toast over supermarket croissants. I don’t care how good your local baker is, this is non-negotiable. This is about a gesture of goodwill towards your mother, in the spirit of celebrating her, the least you can do is make an effort.


3. Think about how long it will take to prepare breakfast and plan accordingly

I’m lucky to live in a household where I don’t have to worry about my mother leaving her boudoir until about 10am, leaving me plenty of time to prepare. For those who are not as fortunate, it would do you well to prepare the night before lest you think about waking up at 5 am to have breakfast ready. Due to the simplicity of breakfast in bed, many elements can be prepared the night before and assembly is the only thing left for the morning.


To be done the night before:

  • Cutting and arranging the flowers
  • Wrapping the present and writing the card
  • Preparing any yeasted dough e.g. croissants, kouign amann, cinnamon rolls or bread that can then be baked in the morning
  • Organising the add-ons such as jam, butter, fresh fruit
  • Preparing pancake/waffle batter, though I wouldn’t advise keeping these around for more than 12 hours

Although most recipes let you know how long it will take you to prepare it, give yourself an extra 15 minutes for every hour, so if the recipe says 30 minutes, give yourself about 40 minutes; if it says 2 hours, give yourself 2 hours and 30 minutes. This is just to allow for any unfortunate happenings that may become you when you’re in the kitchen. The last thing you’d want is to keep mum starving.


All these points taken in consideration, you should be set for a stellar Mother’s Day breakfast. I wish you the best of luck for this Sunday! If I missed anything or if you have any more points you’d like to bring up, leave a comment below!

Until next time loves,

x Andy


 

Vegan Coconut Carrot Cake Pancakes

It’s D-Day for my mother’s vegetable garden.

It’s that wonderful time of year when everything is ready for harvesting. This week, we have homegrown spinach, carrots and onions gracing the pantry. How beautiful is this produce? 

It was only appropriate that I used our carrots to make something special, and as Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I’ve been itching to do another pancake post. You see how this post came to be, yes? These pancakes are part of this guide to making the perfect Mother’s Day breakfast in bed

These pancakes are nothing short of moist, delicious and did I mention, ridiculously easy to make? These no frills, no fuss, pancakes are the perfect accessory for your breakfast table. 

Vegan Coconut Carrot Cake Pancakes                                                      makes 8 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 and ¼ cups flour
  • 1 and ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup grated carrot (about 1 large carrot)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Optional add-ins: 3 tbsp raisins, 2 tbsp crushed pecans, a handful of coconut chips

Method

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Stir together to combine. Add the grated carrot and stir to distribute. Pour in the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and use a wooden spoon to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix. If you’re adding any of the extras, then now would be the time to do so.

Set the pancake mixture aside whilst you preheat a non-stick frying pan. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil/vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add a ¼ cup measurement of pancake batter to the pan and cook for 3 minutes before gently flipping over and cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove to a warm plate and repeat until you’ve used up all the batter. Serve warm topped with coconut cream and extra grated carrot and/or dessicated coconut. Enjoy!

 

 

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes

Happy Shrove Tuesday!


Personally, I don’t need an excuse to make pancakes on any day. Soft pillowy cakes of heaven layered with a sweet berry sauce, what could be possibly be better on this planet?!


Last year, I dedicated a post to all things pancakes and gave you my science-backed top tips for the BEST Saturday morning pancakes. Today I decided to incorporate some of those top tips into these luscious pancakes. They are incredibly soft and fluffy as well as being light and airy on the inside. I find that ricotta greatly improves the flavour of pancakes as well as lightening the texture. I made a YouTube video last year about how you can make it at home if your wallet isn’t ready to commit.


A couple of weeks ago I did a Berry Waffles Breakfast In Bed for Valentine’s Day and since then I’ve been itching to do something under the same theme. There’s just something about enjoying  warm comfort food in Egyptian cotton sheets that rings all the bells for me. Lucky for me, there was half a bottle of champagne in the fridge that I could use as a prop here. Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, it doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your loved one this weekend with a romantic gesture. Today is the last day of February, but we still have many more holidays to look forward to such as Mother’s Day, Women’s Day and even looking so far as Thanksgiving! This is the perfect way to express gratitude whether it be to your parents, your lover or even your best friend!


It doesn’t have to be pricey, it’s the thought that counts. I found this wooden tray amongst the other household junk that was thrown out and decided to keep it knowing that it would come in handy later. I harvested a couple of roses from the garden and set them up with a vase and water. We’ve already spoken about the champagne and I just used a ramekin of fresh strawberries and the champagne as decoration. Don’t limit your creativity lovers, inspiration is everywhere!

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes                                                                       serves 4 

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk of your choice or buttermilk
  • ½ cup ricotta (may substitute with more buttermilk)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 and ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • ½ cup blueberries

For the berry sauce:

  • ½ cup chopped strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cornflour + 1 tsp water

Method

To make the pancakes: 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, lemon juice, butter and vanilla essence until combined. Sift in the flour, baking powder and sugar and gently stir to combine. Drop in the blueberries and gently stir again until the blueberries are evenly distributed. Allow the batter to rest 10 minutes whilst you heat up the frying pan and prepare the berry sauce (instructions below).

Once the frying pan is hot, brush with a little melted butter. Drop the pancake mixture ¼ cup at a time into the hot pan and cook until bubbles start forming on one side before gently flipping over and cooking for another 2 minutes before removing from heat. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter. Top with berry sauce and enjoy!

To make the berry sauce:

To make the blueberry sauce, add the strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup and lemon juice to a medium saucepan on low heat. Heat gently and once the mixture is at a rolling boil, pour the dissolved cornflour in and stir until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and layer over warm pancakes.

Easy Peasy Lemon Crepes

Everybody always talks about whether pancakes or waffles are better. Nobody ever bothers to include crepes in the equation. The answer became obvious to me this week: crepes would always win. Crepes have the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast. Breakfast or dessert, sweet or savoury, hot or cold, crepes have got your back. The French scored a huge W with these guys, and you’d be surprised how simple it is to get a hotel worthy breakfast on your table in less than 30 minutes.


Also I have a new YouTube video up and these babies make a sneak feature! I just happened to be shooting these crepes before getting the idea to get up and film this video. No planned outline, no script, this is pure freestyle. Make sure to like and subscribe to my channel!

Easy Peasy Lemon Crepes                                                                                     makes 12 crepes

Ingredients

1 cup flour

300 ml milk

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter + extra for cooking

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp castor sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

about ½ cup lemon curd, homemade or storebought

optional: ¼ cup icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add half of the milk, and use a wooden spoon to gently draw the flour into the milk, mixing it in bit by bit until you have a thick dough. Stir the eggs into the mixture before adding the melted butter, salt, castor sugar and lemon juice. Continue stirring whilst you gradually pour in the rest of milk. The mixture should be runny*.
  2. Heat a large non stick pan on high and brush the pan with some of the extra melted butter. Be careful not to over-grease the pan because then the crepes won’t spread properly. Add a ladle-full  (about 3 tbsp) of batter to the hot pan and tip the sides of the pan so that the batter spreads evenly. When the edges of the crepe start to curl up, use a spatula (or your fingers) to gently flip the crepe over. Reserve to a plate and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. To serve, dollop a tablespoon of lemon curd onto a crepe and spread evenly, leaving a ¼ inch border around the edges of the crepe. Fold the crepe in half, then in half again. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

*The original recipe called for resting the crepe batter for at least an hour before cooking. I can honestly tell you that I did try this and did not notice a considerable difference between the rested batter and unrested batter. In any case, who would want to wait 1 hour to have crepes?!

How to Get The Best Saturday Morning Pancakes

Everybody loves pancakes.

I have never met anybody who said they didn’t and was telling the truth. The words hate and pancakes do not even belong in the same sentence. And I owe it to my love of pancakes to write up this post for anybody who’s looking to take their pancake game from 0-100 without surmising a huge amount of effort. Of course, we’ll be looking to science to give us the most trustworthy methods of pancake preparation, so get your spatulas and aprons ready.

What do we want from pancakes?

This is the first question that you ALWAYS have to ask before you go hunting in the fridge. The perfect Saturday morning pancakes are: light in colour and weight, have a fluffy texture and are as thick as Shaniqua.

Right, so now that we know what we want, how do we achieve this? Tout d’abord we have to use the right ingredients, and no perfect pancake is made without buttermilk. Buttermilk a.k.a. lacto (really Zimbabwe?) is the magic ingredient that makes the texture that much fluffier. You can take it one step further by  including ricotta in the mixture. Ricotta is just an extra step but you can still yield a batch of hella delicious pancakes without it. But trust me, it is so worth it. And since I learnt how to make my own ricotta, I’ve been putting in everything from my scrambled eggs to my pizzas and most notably, these Red Velvet Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes. It’s just 3 ingredients, milk, lemon juice and salt. Go forth and produce my children, this is golden. 

 One of the keys to getting uber fluffy pancakes is to NOT OVERMIX THE BATTER. PLEASE HEED MY CAPITALISED WORDS. One of the principal proteins in flour is gluten. Now when flour is dry and in its natural state, gluten molecules are just chilling being antisocial pricks. They do not like each other and tend to stick on their own. And they’re happy to remain that way until you add something that makes it a little wet, think water, milk or melted butter. Now this makes the gluten molecules excited, and they start to link to each other, forming a tight structure. Now this is what we want, because once we add the leavening agent (think baking powder/bicarbonate of soda), bubbles will be produced that will make our pancake rise (Yay), but we still want out pancake to retain its shape. So we do need that gluten structure. Now, the more you mix, the tighter that gluten structure becomes. And the tighter it becomes, the tougher and chewier your pancakes become. Big no no. Solution: mix your batter JUST until the wet and dry ingredients are combined, who cares if there are lumps? Not me.

lumpy space princess

We want thick pancakes. So we’re going to add all the baking powder! Wrong. We are not going to do that. As much as we want those pancakes to be as thick as possible, we don’t want to compromise taste in this endeavour. I would only add about 3 tsp of baking powder for every cup of flour you add, at the most. Using self raising flour can also help give you a boost here.

Now once your pancakes are cooked and thick, you want them to remain that way. To do this, you are going to flip the pancake once and ONCE ONLY. You are not an overexcited 5 year old, flipping it five times is just excessive. It also means that you lose some of the height that the baking powder worked very hard to give you. Shame on you.

To separate or not to separate? 

This is an issue I am still conflicted on myself, but Ill give you the gist of the situation. Legend has it that separating your eggs can help you get even thicker and fluffier pancakes. The logic works like this: you add the egg yolks with the rest of the wet ingredients and you keep the egg whites separate. You beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then you carefully fold it in right before you cook the pancakes. This methodology makes sense to me, because the concept is similar in pavlovas and meringues, where the egg whites are beaten until stiff and this makes them appear to double in volume as you incorporate air into the protein structure. This should work with pancakes too right? Unfortunately, even after testing numerous times myself, I’m not entirely convinced that this makes a marginal difference, but I’m still going to do it anyway.

So it’s 10 am and you’ve mixed up your pancake batter and you’re starving and you’re ready to just cook and eat the pancakes and you just cannot wait to start cooking BUT –

You can wait. As much as I’m killing your vibe here, it’s essential that the batter rests before frying. And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but put the spatula away and take a time out for ten minutes. Spatula, away, now.

Even better: whilst your batter is resting, heat your pan on low heat to allow it to reach temperature. Also, take this time to preheat your oven to 100°C and start warming your plates in there. Once you’re doing cooking a pancake, stick it on one of the warm plates and let it sit in the oven. There is nothing worse than having a stack of pancakes that are all at different temperatures. You’re welcome.

Now we’ve all been told by one cookbook or another that you should turn your pancakes as soon as bubbles form. Incorrect. You’ve only had to have a couple of pancakes fall apart on your spatula before you realise that that piece of advice isn’t totally legit. Wait about a minute before you flip that bad boy over, trust me, you wouldn’t have burnt the pancake by then. Speaking of burning….

Your pan should be so hot that a drop of water instantly evaporates as soon as it touches the surface. Nothing less. The problem with this vague description is that it is possible for the pan to be too hot, and then you’ll end up with a stack of pancakes that is perfectly crispy and golden on the outside, but gooey and undercooked on the inside. And I don’t plan on giving you salmonella. My advice for fixing this would be to heat your pan on low heat for ten minutes whilst your batter is resting, just until it reaches temperature. Then to increase the heat ever so slightly to medium low whilst you’re cooking.

And you are going to use butter to fry your pancakes. No excuse. This is not a compromise, this is a must. Your heart will hate you for this but think of how happy your stomach will be.

I suggest that you start with this great recipe for Oreo Pancakes by Must Come Hungry. It rocks. 

 Or try this Citrus Dutch Oven Baby Pancake that’s already on the blogProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Now that I have bestowed unto you all my undue pancake knowledge I send you forth unto the world to go and preach the gospel. As well as making some lekker cakes of pan. If you have anything to contribute, make sure to drop a comment below!

Andy, out.

Red Velvet Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes

THIS IS LIFE.

So I’m only slightly obsessed with red velvet, just slightly.

In the 3 winks since I purchased my first bottle of red food colouring, I’ve only made this recipe like 5 times, a batch of red velvet cookies and a cake.

  
Totally not obsessed.

So I’ve been working in my test kitchen to find out what makes the perfect batch of pancakes, and my friends, I can conclude that it consists of ricotta + buttermilk. Why? You get thick and ultra-fluffy yet light and airy pancakes. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds like heaven. For the full list of reasons, check out my next blog post.

What really made these for me was the cream cheese frosting. Gaaaaaah I could go on all day about it, cream cheese frosting is my kryptonite, I believe that there was no other frosting created equally.

But for now, enjoy the beauty that are these cakes made in a pan.

Red Velvet Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes                                       yields 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients

Pancakes:

1 cup flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp granulated sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 cup ricotta cheese*

2 eggs, separated

¾ cup buttermilk

2 tbsp melted butter + extra for greasing the pan

½ tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp gel red food colouring

Cream cheese frosting:

4 tbsp plain cream cheese

4 tbsp butter, softened

½ tsp vanilla essence

Roughly 2 tbsp milk

1 ½ cups icing sugar

Method  

Make pancakes:

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla essence and red food colouring until combined.
  3. Add the very wet, very red ingredients to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl and stir until just combined. In a cup, beat the egg whites using a handheld mixer until stiff. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the pancake mixture until just incorporated. STOP. DO NOT OVERMIX. It’s okay if there are a few lumps of cocoa powder lurking around; do not feel the need to squish them! 
  4. Let the batter rest at least 15 minutes. Whilst your batter is resting, heat a non stick skillet over low heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly upon contact. This is how you know the pan is hot enough. Whilst you’re waiting, this would also be a good time to preheat your oven to about 100°C/200°F and stick your plates in. You will thank me later.
  5. When the batter is rested and the pan is good to go, melt about 1 tsp of butter and drop about ¼ cup of batter into the pan, cooking until several bubbles appear on the surface of the batter. Flip, cooking for another minute before removing from heat and placing the pancake on one of those gloriously warm plates from the oven. Repeat until you’ve exhausted all your pancake butter, keeping the cooked pancakes in the warm oven.

 

Make cream cheese frosting:

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla essence and milk together until smooth. Add in the icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating the mixture until smooth. Serve on top of pancakes. Be careful not to pour the frosting on top of the pancakes whilst they’re still hot out the oven because the butter in the frosting will seize and you’ll end up with a gloopy mess on your hands. Serve and enjoy!