Monday, 31 January 2011

blackberry pancakes with apricot brandy and lemon syrup

all stacked up and ready to be eaten
there is nothing i love more than a weekend brunch that extends itself late into the early evening. that is exactly what a, o and i did this weekend. i made a stack of american pancakes with blackberries and an apricot brandy and lemon syrup. 

when i was little pancakes were how my mum used to make me eat eggs. i was one of those children who didn't like eggs (or more correctly the yolks). i hated boiled and fried eggs with a vengeance and remember many a ride to school where mum would glower at me for not finishing my breakfast. then, like all mothers she discovered the perfect way to make me eat eggs by disguising them in pancakes. luckily for her both my brother and i took to pancakes like a duck to water. i loved them sprinkled with powdered sugar and orange juice and thick smears of honey too. there was something charming about plain granulated sugar as well. the pancakes of my childhood were the traditional british ones that are thicker than a crepe but thinner than leavened ones. 

my dad on the other hand likes what we call 'american pancakes' which are slightly raised and most often syrupy. every so often i make these are home. they are like spongy discs coloured brown by the griddle in uneven patches. they aren't delicate like traditional british pancakes and their sponginess demands syrupy sweetness. i like adding a little bit of wholemeal flour to give them density and a more wholesome flavour. and this weekend i added blackberries to the mix. i used the recipe i put up last week  reducing the wholemeal flour to a quarter cup as i found a half a cup meant they don't rise as well.

i made a syrup with two tablespoons of apricot brandy, the juice and zest of a lemon, roughly four and a half tablespoons of sugar and six tablespoons of water. the sugar depends on how tart the lemon is. let the syrup come to a gentle simmer to dissolve the sugar. while i made the pancakes a and o popped open a bottle of prosecco. it had a mild sparkle to it with a peachy floral note and was the perfect accompaniment to the pancakes.

if i can so, i think this is the most perfect batch of pancakes that i have ever made. my mum said they looked like the ones that we had in bisbee, arizona which was a real compliment as those were some seriously good pancakes. they were buckwheat blueberries pancakes so heavily drenched with butter that we didn't work up an appetite until dinner.

Monday, 24 January 2011

whole-wheat pancakes with maple syrup

n came over on sunday afternoon bearing a bottle of champagne, fresh orange juice and a gorgeous orchid plant. the naming of our new edition [yes, i like naming my plants] was a rather difficult affair. o had wanted to name her after his newfound incidental heroin 'veena malik' who had been the cause of much discussion both in news and print media in pakistan. she has became a cause célèbre in a country that is fast losing its grip on rationality, tolerance and plurality. but as much as i admire veena for taking on the mullahs i wasn't pleased with naming my orchid after her. so after a relentess campaign which involved enlisting the support of a friend and my sister-in-law the orchid has now been named eva.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

small plates at caravan

i am writing this post a bit late in the day. o and i had been to caravan for brunch before but hadn't tried their all day menu. i had wanted i to try it out so it worked perfectly to meet there before making our way to sadler's wells to see bourne's cinderella before christmas. 

i left the ordering up to i and o. i, who was visiting her hometown london from uganda sighed and exclaimed over pretty much all the small plates. eventually o and i settled on four small plates: curried cauliflower, falafel, scallops and butternut squash. the waitress presented us with the chef's compliment which was a curried crab soup. it was perfect for a wet and cold december evening as the curry had the warmth and heat of a chilli without the blistering, a hint of turmeric and crab flavour.

the small plates at caravan are made up of innovative combinations and remind me of the flavour profiles at the modern pantry and the providores. the scallops were soft and juicy and enriched by a delicate sauteed leek cream sauce. the falafel was freshened up by the addition of an apple and pepper relish and the sharpness of a near unadulterated tahini. i absolutely loved the butternut squash with shaved fennel, a sharp goat's curd, a pomegranate dressing and pine nuts. all together, the ingredients gave texture and contrasting flavours of sweet and tart and nuttiness. the curried cauliflower was really good too. unfortunately i don't recall what the dressing was but the cheesy crouton that topped it was really good.

i definitely want to go back to try the cured salmon, seared onglet with miso and squid pancake. the large plates sounded really interesting too. 

till the next time...

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zizou's, saidpur village

the saidpur village of my childhood has disappeared, replaced with a mini-food park of restaurants. it is now home to des pardes, hotspot, polo lounge and the recently opened zizou's. as a child i had spent many an afternoon here with my mother roaming through the tight and cramped streets to watch the potterers create earthenware vessels. i was fascinated by the potters wheel that spun in opposites with the hands moulding and creating shapes. the potterer still remains although hidden behind the numerous eateries. i ate at des pardes in the summer of june twenty o nine and didn't bother reviewing it as i wasn't very impressed.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

bar-b-q tonight

reshmi kebab (chicken)
i had barely recovered from my post-christmas food coma when my grand dad decided it was time to catch up with the family and eat out. our first dinner out on what was christmas day turned out to be quite disastrous. an understaffed and over-busy kim mun delivered a chinese meal that was far from edible. luckily, the day after we were saved by the choice of local cuisine when we ended up at bar-b-q tonight.