Monthly Archives: March 2013

Printemps tardif

No, this hasn’t got anything to do with Ozu, although I love his films. It’s just my sentiment now, and it sounds nicer in French.

Made some sourdough poppyseed pancakes this morning. Gave Bob a break from my usual wholewheat, rye & buckwheat flour combi and did a white flour with poppyseed mix. It was nice, but I must say after you’re used to the flavour or rye and buckwheat, this just pales in comparison. Saved by the bright orange syrup.

ImageI was never really one for pancakes (I think it’s the lack of chewiness) but started making them to use up leaven. As i told a fellow blogger recently, it’s really, really easy. In case anyone should be (god forbid) throwing out leaven, here’s the no-brainer recipe.

Sourdough pancakes (makes about 10-12)
100g         Leaven (can be really old)
100g         Flour of your choice
100g         Liquid  of your choice
1tsp          Baking soda
1               Egg, large
A pinch of salt
Optional: a bit of oil/melted butter; sugar if making sweet pancakes (qty up to you)

1. The night before, mix your leaven, flour and liquid, as if feeding a 100%hydration leaven.
2. Depending on the state of your leaven, and of course the temperature, you should wake up to a bubbly leaven.
3. Warm up your griddle/pan & butter/oil it. Add egg and baking soda to the batter. I like to beat the egg loosely before adding, just to mix it up, as I find it doesn’t mix well in the batter. And I find it quite crucial to dissolve the baking soda in a bit of water before adding the lot to the batter, otherwise it doesn’t mix evenly. Add other optional stuff (sugar, spices, etc.)
4. By now your pan should be nice and hot and ready to take your frothing batter.

A word about…
Leaven: can be really old and sluggish, as long as it’s warm enough to get it going. I’ve used really old leaven and you might be able to taste it in the product, but there’s always that maple syrup 🙂
Flour: I’ve used all sorts and different combinations. Gluten-free (chickpea, corn etc etc) are good too, although i’ve always added some wheat to balance it out. You can make nice savoury pancakes this way too.
Liquid: Obviously water, but I’ve also done all milk when making blinis, a mix of milk/water/yoghurt, even a bit of creme fraiche when making blinis (delicious). Now the amount of liquid will depend on the type of flour you use, and more adjusting will probably have to be made just before and while cooking the pancakes. Err on the thick side when preparing batter; more water can always be added later.
Baking soda: qty and reactivity again depends on the acidity of your batter. But do add baking soda just before cooking the pancakes so it doesn’t fizzle out on you, and get your pan really warm.
Add-ins: Isn’t this the fun bit. you can take your pancake anywhere you want it: sweet or savoury, type of flour, spices, fruits, dried fruits, grilled veg, ham, herbs, cheese…

I see people going about complicated ways to get fluffy pancakes, like separating (more than one too) egg and whipping the whites before folding it into batter. I can’t see myself getting fiddly with something like pancakes. These pancakes are the fluffiest i’ve ever had. Just watch them puff up when they hit the hot pan!  (The ones in the photo are not the best representatives. I was making a very big batch and  two-thirds of my way through, the baking soda magic had worn thin. Of course I could have separated the batter and prepared them in batches, but can you see me doing that? Neither can I.) 


I also made this clementines and tomatoes sauce inspired by The Silk Road Gourmet’s Burmese Curry of Fish and Oranges. I usually leave a comment for the author about how the dish turned out, but I adapted this so loosely to what ingredients I had on hand that I don’t think she wants to have anything to do with my concoction. You know how you have just one or two of the ingredients of a recipe, and you think you can get away with it? 🙂

Go read Laura’s really interesting and very knowledgeable blog. I think i just wanted to make this because I wanted some COLOUR. Because, DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE SUNLIGHT, FOLKS. WE ARE STILL IN WINTER. It even SNOWED yesterday. SNOWED. Every day for the last month or more, I’ve entertained fantasies of running away to sunnier climes.




This goes to Susan’s Yeastspotting.

grains, chestnut and lard

I was too busy to bake for weeks, then right when I finally had some time, had to fall ill for a week with a horrible flu. But one still has to eat bread so I persisted.
grain bread
just cos I seldom get such a regular crumb. I never watch my proofings like a hawk so what was it that gave such even, regular holes? 🙂
chestnut bread
If anyone thinks of making chestnut bread – don’t, not quite. I mean, you’ll probably want to incorporate chestnut flour too (which I actually had, proof being the chestnut lemon cake i made this morning). But i thought I’d just substitute the walnuts in the world’s best walnut bread recipe, i.e., Dan Lepard’s in his Handmade Loaf, but as I suspected, doesn’t quite work out. I didn’t use the best-quality chestnuts – just some cooked ones in a bottle – but chestnuts have a dry, floury quality that needs some working around. It must be said that I also left out the raisins in the recipe. But overall, it was bland bread.
lard bread
Two years ago, a friend came back from NY raving about this delicious lard bread. She handed me a precious morsel and got me searching the net for it and it was bookmarked until now. I finally made it. For her. In a roundabout way although she’s not anywhere around to try it :(( I often do that. Bake for people. With someone in mind. Whether or not the person is physically able to try it. Anyway, it was crackly, peppery and fragrant…very dangerous to have around. I ate a good chunk right out of the oven.