Vegan Pancakes

Who doesn’t love a pancake? With Pancake Day only a couple of weeks away, and still inspired by Veganuary, I wanted to find a way of cooking them without the eggs. Most recipes substitute bananas in place of eggs, but having never been a fan of bananas I wanted to see how easy it is to make them without.

These are delicious and light and so simple.

The quantities here will make about 8-12 pancakes depending on how large and thick you like them.

300g plain flour. I used white flour but wholemeal works just as well
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
50ml flavourless vegetable oil such as sunflower or a light olive oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract – or try using a few seeds from a fresh pod
375ml dairy free milk – Almond or coconut are good
a little oil or dairy free spread for frying

Blueberries or blackberries for serving – heated with a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of water

Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix then add the oil, vanilla extract and milk. Beat with a whisk until it all forms a smooth but slightly thick batter.

Heat a little oil or dairy free spread (I like to use Flora Freedom) in a large frying pan on a medium to high heat. When the oil is nice and hot pour in a little of the batter. Depending on thickness and size use somewhere between 2 and 4 tablespoons. if the batter is a little thick, smooth it over gently with the back of a spoon.

Fry on one side for approx 2 minuts, flip and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes. Remove and repeat, adding a little oil each time to ensure your pancakes do not stick to the pan.

Heat the berries with the sugar and water until they start to break down and serve immediately with the warm pancakes.

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Kale, Ricotta and Leek Pancakes

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, or Mardis Gras. So what better day to finally break away from Veganuary with a little dairy and eggs. Yes I know there are plenty of vegan pancake recipes all over the Internet but I decided to go a little traditional, but with a twist.

Veganuary was great. I loved trying out lots of new ideas and the challenge of cooking vegan having been so used to throwing cheese onto meals for over 30 years. But I never intended it to stay with me forever. I’ll certainly be cutting down on my dairy and egg consumption, but won’t rule it out altogether until next January comes around.

Instagram was littered with photos and recipes for sweet pancakes, but having never had a sweet tooth, I opted for something savoury. i do however find it most annoying that supermarkets insist on selling kale, chopped and bagged. Given they chop the tough stem into little chunks, it makes it far less convenient than selling the leaves whole. So make sure you pick out all the tough little cuttings of stem as they really are not pleasant.

This made around 6-8 pancakes (depending on the size of your pan) so enough for 2-3 people.

You can start with either the pancakes of the filling. For the sake of argument I’ll start with the filling.

a splash of olive oil
200g Kale – tough stems removed
1 small leek – cut in half lengthwise then sliced into 1cm slices
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
a pinch of nutmeg
100g ricotta
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the kale in a pan and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Leave to steep for around 4 minutes then drain well. Put in a large bowl to cool.

Heat the oil in a frying pan then gently fry the leeks and garlic until softened. This should take about 7-8 minutes. Add the nutmeg then take off the heat and add to the kale.

Now tip in the ricotta and mix well. Season to taste then set aside while you make the pancakes.

For the pancakes you’ll need
100g wholemeal flour
2 eggs
150ml Almond milk – you can use dairy of coconut, but almond does give it a little nutty edge
150ml water
Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl then add the eggs. Give than a quick mix with a whisk then add the milk. Mix and beat well to remove any lumps.

Take a large frying pan and heat a tiny amount of oil. Gte the pan nice and hot. Now take about ½ cup of the batter and pour into the pan. The best way to get coverage it to tilt the pan and pour at the top, then swirl the pan around as you pour so the batter spreads evenly. Cook for about 30-45 seconds until firm and the edges are starting to brown, turn, flip or whatever takes your fancy and cook the other side for 30 seconds. Remove and repeat the process until all the batter has gone.

Divide the filling evenly between the pancakes then roll the pancakes up and place in a lightly oiled oven dish. Grate 120g Emmental over the pancakes (you could use a strong cheddar or a gruyere perhaps) and pop them in an oven at 180C for around 25-30 minutes until nice and hot and the cheese starting to brown just a little.

I served mine with roasted new potatoes and a selection of salads.

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Japanese Style Vegetable Pancakes

Serve this with a simple soy sauce, lime juice and crushed peanut dipping sauce, a warming bowl of miso soup and crispy vegetable spring rolls.

2 tablespoons sunflower or groundnut oil
2 eggs
1 large carrot – grated
3-4 leaves from a cabbage – finely shredded
2-3 spring onions – finely sliced
1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
a few chili flakes

Put everything except the oil in a bowl and mix well. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Pour in the mixture and spread out evenly over the pan. Leave for around 7-10 minutes then, if firm enough, flip it over with a fish slice, else tip onto a plate and place back in the pan to cook the other side for the same length of time.

Cut into wedges before serving.

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Pancake Nidi

A very slight variation on Michela Chiappa‘s recipe from her Simply Italian series recently on Channel4. This dish is traditionally made using pasta sheets but Michela’s recipe uses pancakes instead to great effect.

The quantities below made nine Nidi – one per person is plenty as a starter or a light evening meal.

For the pancakes
1 cup plain flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
butter for frying

For the filling
250g tub ricotta
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
Small amount of lemon zest (I used zest from about ¼ of a lemon
125g mozzarella torn into pieces
1 red pepper – deseeded and cut into large chunks
½ red onion – sliced
1 small aubergine – sliced into 1cm thick pieces
2 small courgette – sliced into 1cm thick pieces
Drizzle of olive oil
30g parmesan cheese

For the tomato sauce
Splash of olive oil
The other half of the red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 red chili – finely chopped

Start by making the pancakes. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl to form a thinnish batter. You may need to add a little extra milk. Heat a large non stick frying pan. When very hot, add a small knob of butter, then about ½ cup of the batter and swirl around to cover the base of the frying pan. Fry for about 1-2 minutes, flip over and do another 1 minute on the other side. Remove from the pan and repeat. You should get five or six pancakes from the amount of batter depending on the size of your frying pan.

Now for the filling…
Heat a griddle until very hot. Fry the peppers, aubergine, onion slices and courgettes until browned and softened then leave to cool. If you don’t have a griddle you can roast in the oven for 20 minutes or so. When cool, roughly chop everything.

To assemble …
Lay the pancakes out on a clean tea towel to form a rough square two pancakes across and three down. If you only managed to make five pancakes from the batter then use 2½ down. Mix the ricotta and chopped basil and spread evenly over the pancakes. Tear the mozzarella and distribute over the pancakes too. Now spread the chopped vegetables and cover with some of the grated paremsan, keeping back a couple of tablespoons for later.

Now take one end of the tea towel and gently but firmly roll the pancake up into a long cylinder. Cut into slices about 3cm thick and lay on their side in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and add a little ground black pepper.

The sauce is simple. Heat the olive oil then add the onion, garlic and chili and fry until softened. Add the tomatoes, cover and leave to cook for a few minutes. Add a little salt and pinch of sugar and keep warm.

Heat the oven to 200C then put the pancakes in the oven for 10 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melting.

Serve the pancakes with the sauce. I included some fried potato cubes as they go with the tomato sauce – a sort of patatas bravas, Italian, Spanish fusion.

Healthy Breakfast

The recipe for the pancakes comes from @angefabulous. You can find more of her healthy, nutritious recipes at her Fabulous Nutrition site.

I served these with blueberries warmed with a splash of water and a tiny amount of sugar just to get the blueberries to release their flavour, a good dollop of natural yogurt and a smattering of flax seeds.

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
squeeze of lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
olive or flax seed oil

Whisk the flour with the milk, egg, lemon juice, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Pour in about ½ cup of the batter. When the underside is slightly browned and the top is just starting to set of form bubbles, turn gently and fry on the other side until that is browned too.

Serve warm with blueberries, yogurt and flax seeds as in the photo or with nut butter, berries or banana. Also nice with maple syrup but I don’t think that is recommended by Ange.