Buckwheat Pancakes

Choice 8

One thing is for sure; in Brittany people do not need an excuse to eat crêpes or pancakes. Whatever you want to call them, we actually call them Krampouezh so (pronounce “Krampooz”). We have two types; the crêpes are for dessert and made with wheat flour, the “galettes” are savoury and made with the legendary buckwheat. It is easy enough to find Buckwheat flour if you check your local health food store. I have selected this recipe which is ideal for both sweet and savoury.

Hungry Breton Buckwheat Pancakes

You’ll need:

  • 375g of Buckwheat Flour
  • 125g of white flour
  • 50cl of milk
  • 50cl of water
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 levelled tsp of baking soda

How to:

The beautiful thing about buckwheat is that it doesn’t make any lumps while whisking. Take a large bowl for comfort, and put in the two flours together, the salt and baking soda. Give it a dry whisk to mix everything together. While whisking, add the milk and stir to a thick dough first, go on, show a bit of strength, you can do it! Keep whisking and add the rest of the milk, then the water. The secret now is to leave the dough or rather batter, to rest in the fridge for a few hours, ideally overnight.

Buckwheat batter
Buckwheat batter

Choice 2

The making is a bit tedious but so worth it at the end. In a bowl, mix some melted butter and a mild oil. Roll an old piece of material into a ball and tie with a bit of string. This is just brilliant! Oil a hot pan, and start the process. Pour the batter in the hot pan, and tilt quickly the excess back in the bowl for thin crêpes, leave it for thicker ones. Almost ready when you see a nice brown marble forming, time to flip, are you up for it? Otherwise, use a plastic spatula.

Topings idea
Topings idea

The topings are entirely up to you; this is the magic of crêpes. I used this time a roasted Italian salsiccia and thinly sliced sweet cabbage (come on, we are in Ireland after all!!!) that I braised in a good beef stock for a few minutes. A bit of butter before serving et voilá. For dessert, I had kept and froze some blackberries from the plentiful month of September 2014 that gave so generously. Stew them for a bit with a bit of water and sugar or honey, serve with a bit of whipped cream… Or, or, if you are feeling bold, you can always melt some 70% cocoa dark chocolate with a bit of butter or fresh cream, pour over the crêpe and put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. Enjoy!

Sausage and braised cabbage
Sausage and braised cabbage
With blackberries and cream
With blackberries and cream

Last Drool before School

Blackberries

I was sitting at my desk at home yesterday, trying to send a few emails, get some inspiration by playing music while staring through the sash window at the swaying Crocosmia. My attention got caught when I noticed a little blue box, containing some neatly sharpened coloured pencils my nieces and nephews enjoy drawing with. As I was bored, I stuck my nose in it, expecting a flash back memory that didn’t disappoint; back to school and my pencil case, the last week of bliss before being sent to the pillory. As a form of acceptance, the last few days of freedom were quite pleasant, mostly foraging blackberries, with our neighbours and friends. The pain of lacerated limbs was soon to be healed and forgotten by my mother’s legendary “slurpy special” , straight from the pot, soon to be devoured by a small army of stained faces; the last meal for the condemned scallywags we were. As I was trying to reconnect with these delicious berries, nature sometimes gives so generously, I imagined them as a savoury ingredient, definitely with fresh goat’s cheese, a great companion to a pork filet roast … But I had another plan this time!

Pencil case

A friend of mine, organic grower from another local Meath townland gave me some fresh raspberries and apples; mine are still a bit green. What I have though, is a field at the back of the house full of blackberries and my first crop of Aronia berries, I planted last year, a taste between a blackcurrant and a blueberry if you wish with a lovely zing. Not as tart as sloe berries, we used to eat as a dare and it felt like your whole mouth was shrinking from the inside!

Mixed berries and apples

When we were good, or rather when she felt like it, my mother used to make this lovely apple cake, moist and delicious; she used to let it cool on the window seal of the kitchen of the old school we used to live in… Well, above the school. Since she was a teacher that was handy! I realised that the recipe leaves the door open to a lot more things than apples. All the fruits of my local foraging were going to go in. The recipe includes 200g of flour, I did twist things a little and put 150g of organic white and 50g of organic buckwheat flour… For extra nuttiness…

Cake and Tea

This recipe is a great little number. Its simple frame will allow you to have a bit of fun. Berries, Apples and also quince paste, which makes it an amazing surprise with a good Irish Blue cheese! I have posted the recipe in the “recipe” area of the blog (dah…), my Mum would be pleased to share this one with everybody, the same way my “compadres” broke bread and shared her blackberry jam by the side of the road… Before heading back to the classroom benches!

 

 

Foraging Cake

This lovely recipe is initially my Mother’s famous apple cake recipe; I have twisted it a bit a couple of times but the main frame remains the same. You just have to replace (or reduce) the amount of apples and replace or add some of your favourite berries. Here it goes:

You’ll need:

  • 150g of organic white flour
  • 50g of organic buckwheat flour (or just 200g of white)
  • 200g of salted butter (I prefer)
  • 200g of sugar
  • 3 large eggs (or 4 medium/small)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder/ soda
  • 4-5 apples

How to:

  • Mix the two flours in a bowl with the baking powder
  • Beat the eggs with the sugar
  • In a pan, gently melt the butter and cool a bit
  • Pour the eggs and sugar mix over the flour and keep whisking gently
  • Then do the same with the butter… Easy now.
  • Put in your peeled and chopped apples (Or berries, or quince paste…)
  • Bake in a floured and buttered tin at 200c for 30 to 40 minutes
  • Check with a skewer before cooling that it is cooked through. If not, leave it a bit longer!

Some examples…

Mixed berries and apple cake

Mixed Berries Cake

Apple and Quince Cake served with Bellingham Blue

Apple and Quince cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

Classic Breton Crêpes

Classic Breton Crêpes

Autumn is trying to come back, pointing its nose through my window.  Time for the ultimate comfort food, perfect with the blackberries I gathered at the back of the house … If I have any left, as I can’t stop eating them, I might gently stew a few and pour over my Breton Pan Cakes!

Breton Crêpes

You’ll need:

  • 250 g of Organic white flour
  • 50g of melted butter
  • 1 pint of milk (500 ml) or ½ Litre
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. of honey (or sugar)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 scraped vanilla pod (or a splash of vanilla essence)
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda

 

How to:

I guess, like Brown Bread in Ireland, everybody have their own recipes, I have several hidden in books and note books, in safes, under the mattress…  I like this one; I think it is as good as any.

In a bowl, place the flour, salt and baking soda and give it a brief whisk; it will help breaking the clumps, I don’t believe in sieving… (Us Bretons are like that, rebels and contrary to the max). In another bowl, whisk the eggs until homogenized. In a pan, gently melt the butter and the honey together. Back to the flour bowl, pour the eggs in the middle and start stirring gently; Little by little, add the butter and honey mixture, then start pouring your pint of milk. Gentle now! You should start getting a ribbon like texture, almost there… Cut a vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds inside the mix. Give it another gentle stir and cover, in the fridge it goes for 45 min to 1 hour. It needs a rest. If you don’t have a vanilla pod or vanilla extract, pour in a bit of dark rum, my Mum used to put a dash in her Breton dessert… Very good too!

Ok, you’ll need a cloth, butter and a hot pan… Off we go! One ladle at a time, once it doesn’t stick anymore, flip the crêpe to the other side for a few seconds to a minute, in a plate, butter the pan again, and repeat the operation until you are out of Crêpe batter…

Enjoy with more honey, homemade jam, chocolate, stewed apples, etc., etc…

August 2014