I Finally managed to find a little bit of time to post this recipe I did a few weeks ago. Now entering the final week of utter madness at work, this will help me to take my mind off for a bit, and for those who read my previous story, I am getting my car back today, which I hope will leave me worry free for a while. After a cold spell, the Isle of Ireland is enjoying milder temperatures, it is Monday morning, a touch of frost and a few rays of sunshine are piercing through the sash windows. The fog has lifted and I’ve just finished playing “Gallows Pole” on the guitar.The head is clear now, I can welcome today…
It has been a bit of a strange week, with mixed feelings. It started last Sunday December 3rd; I was on my way to Dublin for a very special evening, my last day out, a night to remember or rather help me forget how busy the next 21 days are going to be. I was listening to P.J Harvey, “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”, already looking forward to a rare evening with my friend Domi, and a much older friend that I didn’t see in 20 years, Mr Robert Plant himself, former frontman of the legendary band Led Zeppelin; well, he’s not really my friend, but he is the same age as my Dad and was part of our musical family since I was a very little boy… My rambling mind, smiling face and tapping index finger on the stirring wheel got suddenly interrupted by a rattling noise coming from the engine. I remember saying something like “Fuck!”, four letters that basically resumed what was about to come… No car? No concert?No Domi?No Robert? All was normal, temperature was steady, there was oil in the car as I always make sure all is good before I do a decent journey. Then all hell broke loose, red lights and alarm blaring, I thought “this is my Sully moment” as I made a crash landing to my own Hudson River, aka the hard shoulder between Dunshaughlin and Dunboyne. So close… Yet ( all in unison) so far… I breathed out another “Fuck!”, this time, it was acceptance. On the bright side, and since I was a young boy, I have always wondered what those orange S.O.S phones looked like and since I managed to safely taxi my vehicle close to one, I was about to find out! Well, it’s just a green button and a giant speaker. The chap was very helpful, letting them know I was there; I had insurance to get picked up, but that would mean no concert. Tried the car again, gone, full engine failure. My last resort was “my guy”, the owner of a garage/ shop a mile or so from the house, 80 kms away… Sunday at 4:10 pm. I rang Mr “M” and he just said: ” hey buddy, where are you? Ok, I’ll be there in 40 minutes ( yeah right, but I wasn’t in a negotiating position here), you said you are on the Dublin side? Ok, I’d better bring you a car as well so…”. One hour and 15 minutes later, there he was, bright orange flashing lights, a car on top of the rescue truck, out it went, mine went on, here are the keys and “I’ll see you tomorrow”. I would be able to meet my friend in good time, and see my auld pal “Robert”. As I sat in the “new” car, trying to figure out where the wipers and lights commands were, I just whispered a very respectful “fuck”, this one was more admiration and relief…
The storm has come and gone, all is still and quiet, time to get out there. Breakfast is very important to me, but recently I have been diagnosed with I.B.S and I have to give up bread and even coffee. It sucks a bit, but I am of the creative kind, not ready to let this inconvenience affect my favourite meal of the day. Porridge is great; you can mix a lot of things in it, fruits, nuts, even if it looks like a bowl of gruel straight out of a Charles Dickens’ nightmare, it is actually quite enjoyable if you can pass the visual hurdle. Eggs are good too, I love them, scrambled with a bit of cheese, but to be frank, I was missing something. I went back to my origins, where I found an answer in our traditional buckwheat crêpes. This is a quick version as I have to go to work and waking up at 6 am to make breakfast is just not going to happen. You can use this recipe for sweet or savoury, it doesn’t matter.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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!