Gluten Free Hotcakes

Yes, I know that Pancake Day was last week, but I'm here to tell you that pancakes (well, hotcakes actually) are forever, not just for Shrove Tuesday. However, if you only indulge in pancakes once a year (and if so, what's wrong with you??), you might want to bookmark this post for next year, because let's face it, we'll probably all be gluten free by then.

I'm by no means a chef, but I am a big foodie, and I'm trying to drastically reduce the amount of gluten in my diet as I know I feel so much better without it. Making pancakes for my children several times a week (I know, mum of the year) was getting the better of me, so a while back I decided to make them gluten free. They can't tell the difference, so it's a win-win situation - I get to eat them without feeling guilty, and I'm also reducing the gluten in their diet which pleases me greatly.

My friend Demelza who used to own a total gem of a café around the corner from my house until she and her family moved to Sydney just over a year ago, announced last week that she'd launched her blog A Harvest Of Love. Both Dememlzas partner and eight year old daughter have recently been diagnosed as coeliac, so the focus of the blog is delicious gluten free recipes. Her food was always nothing short of phenomenal, so I know that anything that she posts will be amazing (not food that is gluten free and tastes okay, which I think is often the case with gluten free recipes). So do tune in!

I'm hoping she'll post her recipe for Chorizo with sweet potato and egg (hint hint Demelza!!). Maybe the bread could be replaced with a couple of slices of fried aubergine....

Anyway, I digress. Demelzas first post was a gluten free adaption of Bill Grangers Coconut Bread from his Sydney Food book, a cookbook that remains one of my all time favourites, despite being nearly fifteen years old now. That guy was seriously ahead of his time food wise. I made it within 24 hours of her posting it - I was that excited - and it was delicious, as I knew it would be.

The reminder of Sydney Food, got me reminiscing about the good old days, having long, hungover brunches with friends at one of Bills cafés in Sydney (I was born in New Zealand, but grew up in Sydney and lived there until I met my husband and moved to the UK in 2002). My favourite thing on the menu was the Ricotta Hotcakes served with banana and honeycomb butter. Yes, really - so good! They're still on the menu all these years later, and they're also served in his Granger and Co restaurants here in the UK.

I really wanted to make them, forgetting momentarily as I often do that they're not gluten free, so I thought I'd see if a straight switch of self-raising gluten free flour for the plain flour and baking powder would work for a gluten free version, and it did. Result! I'm always a bit cautious with doing swaps like that, as I don't like the waste if it goes terribly wrong, but I guess it's trickier in proper baking, where it can totally ruin a recipe, than in things like pancakes.

So I'm sharing two recipes below. One is my standard gluten free hotcakes which we tend to have several times a week, and for the more decadent days, the ricotta hotcakes, which are totally worth the extra bit of faff. Also, with the added protein in the ricotta, on top of the eggs, they're practically health food, right?

Gluten Free Hotcakes

Two eggs
One cup self-raising gluten free flour (I use Doves Farm)
Approx. 300mls milk or milk substitute
Butter or oil for frying

To serve
Blueberries & Maple Syrup

Measure flour into a mixing bowl.

Break eggs into a measuring jug, gently whisk, then top up with milk to just below the 350mls mark and whisk to combine.

Pour the egg and milk mixture into the flour whilst whisking to form a smooth batter.

At this point I like to transfer the finished mix back into the jug, making it easier to pour into the pan, but that's personal preference obviously.

Melt a little butter in a frying pan over low to medium heat, add batter and cook for a few minutes each side.

I use a small frying pan to make these (19 cm diameter), and just pour the 'right' amount to fit the base of the pan. You can use a larger frying pan and spoon in approx. 2-3 large tablespoons of mixture per hotcake.

These take a little longer to cook than standard pancakes due to the thicker mixture and the gluten free flour.

Serve with whatever you want, or my favourite - fresh blueberries and real maple syrup.

Gluten Free Ricotta Hotcakes

These are the perfect weekend treat, for when you (might!) have a little more time. Adapted from Bill Grangers Ricotta Hotcakes from Sydney Food.

1 1/3 cups ricotta
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs separated
1 cup self-raising gluten free flour
A pinch of salt
Butter for frying

To serve
Banana, icing sugar to dust & maple syrup

Put ricotta, milk and egg yolks into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk until just combined.

Whisk eggwhites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form, then fold the egg whites into the batter with a large metal spoon.

Melt some butter in frying pan and spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture per hotcake into the pan. Don't cook more than 2 or 3 at a time. Cook over low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side until golden and cooked through.

Serve with sliced banana, a dusting of icing sugar and maple syrup. Or for a really decadent treat, make Bills famous Honeycomb Butter...

Honeycomb Butter
250g softened unsalted butter
100 g honeycomb
2 tablespoons honey

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend til smooth. Spoon onto clingfilm and shape into a log - chill for 2 hours. Cut thick slices and serve between the hotcakes. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Or check out this rather amusing You Tube video of him making his Chocolate Honeycomb Butter.

Oh yum. Let me know if you make any of these. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Matcha Matcha Matcha

I've been boring anyone who will listen with tales of my new found matcha obsession. For those that don't know what it is, matcha is finely ground, premium grade, green tea leaves, so it comes in powdered form and it's a beautiful shade of green. I've bought it in both tins and sachets, and once opened it's best stored in the fridge.

You can find all sorts of information on the internet about it's amazing super powers, and you may want to do some research before you dish out for some, because it's not cheap, but boy, is it tasty!

Speaking of tastes, we have five of them - sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Umami is a Japanese word that translates as 'pleasant savoury taste', and matcha is umami. It has a subtle earthy flavour, but don't let that put you off - it's sooooo good!

Traditionally, you would drink matcha mixed with a small amount of boiled water, like a shot of espresso. But I wanted to share a couple of my less traditional 'recipes' with you, as I've had so many people asking me about it.

Iced Coconut Matcha Milkshake

This is my favourite.  I've been averaging three of these a day lately - when I like something, I REALLY like it.

1/2 - 1 tsp matcha powder
2 tsps pure maple syrup
150 mls coconut water (do your research and don't buy one with any ingredients other than pure coconut water)
150 mls milk / almond milk / soy milk / whatever milk you fancy

I have a tea whisk, so I add my matcha powder to a small bowl first and whisk it up with about a tablespoon of water.  Transfer to a tall glass, add all your other ingredients and stir well.

Hot Matcha Latte

1/4 - 1/2 tsp matcha powder
1 tsp pure maple syrup
200 mls milk / almond milk / soy milk/ whatever milk you fancy

Whisk the powder with a tablespoon of water in a small bowl, then transfer to a mug. Heat milk - don't boil it, who wants a skin on their latte?!  Not me!  Add hot milk and stir well.

Easy Peasy Green Tea Ice-Cream

I know, you really can't call any of these recipes, and this one is stupidly easy...

I made this a few years ago, after I'd promised Edie some Green Tea Ice-Cream for her birthday dessert.  I bought an ice-cream maker and everything, but didn't realise that the inner bowl of the ice-cream maker had to go into the freezer first, and it wouldn't fit in our stupid little freezer. Don't get me started on that.  So in a panic, I thought I'd give this a try and it tastes exactly the same as the stuff you get in Japanese restaurants.  Result!

1 tub good quality vanilla ice cream (I like the Yeo Valley one in an oval tub)
2 tsp matcha powder (add more to taste)

Leave the ice-cream out of the freezer to soften - about 20 minutes.  You don't want it runny, just soft enough to mix.  Transfer the ice-cream into a large mixing bowl, add the matcha powder, and  mix with a metal spoon until the colour is consistent.  You might want to use more or less matcha powder, so taste as you go.  Once you're happy with the flavour, pop it back into it's container and into the freezer to firm up again.  Et Voilà!

You'll notice that you seem to end up with much less ice-cream when you put it back into the tub. Two reasons for this.  One is that you've probably eaten half of it because it's so delicious, and the other is that they tend to whip lots of air into it so it looks like you're getting more than you are, and the air dissipates once it softens.  The cheats.

So that's it for my matcha concoctions for now.  I tried matcha pancakes the other day, but they're not quite there yet, but I'll give you the recipe once I've perfected them.  I can also see a Matcha Martini in my future...

Let me know if you try any of these, I'd love to know what you think.  How do you have your matcha?