Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spelt & Kefir Pancakes

Spelt & Kefir Pancakes
My favourite pancakes of all time are Bill Granger's Ricotta Hotcakes.  They serve them with lashings of honeycomb butter - it's the stuff breakfast dreams are made of.  My second favourite pancakes are the Banana and Blueberry Buttermilk pancakes which are almost as delicious. 

The problem with both of these recipes is that they don't have enough nutritional oomph in them for me to make them as a school morning breakfast.  My boys tend not to eat a lot during the day, so I need to make sure the meals either side are nutrient dense. 

Enter these spelt & kefir pancakes which are an adaption of a recipe from beautiful Brenda Fawdon at Mondo Organics.  (Brenda's class, Wholefood Breakfasts, is a fabulous grounding for delicious, nutritious breakfasts and staples.  If you're a Brisbane resident, check out Mondo's cooking class program and pop along to the next class.)

These pancakes aren't quite Bill's hotcakes but they are still entirely delicious and have the added bonus of containing a little more substance to get everyone through the day! 

Spelt & Kefir Pancakes
(adapted from a recipe by Brenda Fawdon at Mondo Organics)
140g spelt grain (or 190g buckwheat grain)*
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
45g rapadura sugar
3 eggs, separated
200g kefir cultured milk*
2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil (for frying)
Mill your grain for 1 minute on speed 9.  Set aside.
To Cook:-
1.  Firstly, beat your egg whites to a stiff peak.  Make sure you bowl is squeaky clean and dry.  Insert butterfly, add egg whites and whip for 2-3 minutes on speed 4 with the MC removed.  Gently pour out and set egg whites aside (or switch to your second bowl!).
Fold in the egg whites
2.  Add flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.  Mix for 5 seconds on speed 5.
3.  Add milk and egg yolks.  Mix for 3 seconds on speed 5 until mixutre is just combined.
4.  Gently fold in egg whites, using spatula to incorporate.
5.  Heat a pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of ghee (or your preferred oil).  Fry 1/4 cupfuls of mixture and top with banana, maple syrup and cinnamon.
6.  Feed the sacrifical "first pancake in the pan" to the dog who's been licking the mixture out of the dishwasher for the past 5 minutes.
Kefir grains can be purchased online or from organic supermarkets/markets.  Kefir has a wider range of good bacteria than yoghurt does, so I try to use at least a cupful of kefir a day whether it be in smoothies or baking. 
If you don't have any kefir with which to culture your milk of choice, you can use buttermilk and still get that lovely light fluffy texture to them. Alternatively, use whatever milk substitute you want (rice, almond, coconut milk) but just be prepared for a flatter, denser result.

If you use buckwheat grain rather than spelt, you'll need to use 250g of liquid.  If you don't have spelt or buckwheat grain, it's fine to use equal amounts of spelt or buckwheat flour.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Broccoli & Roasted Apple Soup

Broccoli & Roasted Apple Soup
Our branch is running a competition for consultants at the moment, encouraging them to convert any recipe from delicious and upload it onto the Recipe Community.  At the November branch meeting everyone's bringing their dish along and we're all voting on the best dishes, Masterchef style.

I can't actually enter, but thought I'd get the ball rolling by converting this soup for yesterday's team meeting.  I did a dry run of it on Sunday night and used 3 large apples, which was 1 apple too many (much to Mr WFK's amazement - yes there IS such a thing as too many apples in a dish!). 

I tweaked the recipe a little yesterday and it was far better with a bit less apple and with chicken stock, rather than vegetable stock.  I think it will be a great soup served cold in summer.  Let me know what you think!

Broccoli & Roasted Apple Soup
(converted from delicious Sept 2011)
1 bunch sage
2 large Granny Smith apples
60g olive oil (or 30g olive oil and 30g ghee)*
5 thyme sprigs
300g broccoli
1100g water
200g feta, to serve
40g salted butter
1.  Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC and line a baking tray with paper.*

2.  Place the apples on the baking tray and drizzle with 30g olive oil. Season with salt & pepper and top with thyme sprigs and 1 tbs chopped sage. Bake for 20 minutes or until the apples are tender and collapsed.
3.  Place 1/2 the sage leaves into TM bowl and chop for 2 seconds on speed 6.  Set aside.
To Cook:-
1. Place broccoli in TM bowl and chop for 2 seconds on speed 5.
2.  Add oil or ghee and saute for 3 minutes at 100º on speed soft.
3.  Add remainder of chopped sage, roasted apples, chicken stock and water.  Cook for 20 minutes at 100º on speed 1.
4.  When finished, blend the soup by slowly turning the dial from soft speed to speed 10 (take about 30 seconds to do this).  Then continue to blend on speed 10 for 30 seconds.
Sage Butter:-
1.  While the soup is in it's last few minutes of cooking, melt the butter over a medium heat pan.  Add the remainder of the sage leaves (whole) and cook for 2-3 minutes until the butter begins to brown.
To Serve:-
Ladle soup into bowls, top with crumbled feta and sage butter.  Serve with hot crusty bread!
I knew I was turning the oven on to make bread to serve with the soup, so I was happy to bake the apples in the oven.  If you don't want to use your oven, you could simply quarter the apples and steam them in the Varoma over 500g of water for 15 minutes.
Over the past year I've done a mountain of research into Ayurvedic medicine and have incorporated a number of their philosophies into my daily cooking practices.  At the base of it, the message is "eat whole foods that are as pure as possible" so it really speaks to my philosophy about food. 
One of the changes I've made though is to use ghee as my oil of choice, wherever possible (we're not talking ghee that you buy at the supermarket - ghee that you've made yourself, the key being "the better the butter, the better the ghee").  There's a lot of nutritional benefits to using ghee, but like everything - you'll use whatever works best for you.  If you see ghee used in my recipes, you can just use whatever oil of choice works for you (just don't ever tell me it's margarine or I'll have to beat you a block of butter!).