Breakfast is served – Sourdough Pancakes

11986370_10207644305602682_8532946972547432128_nBreakfast can be a time of great nutritional misinformation and in fact because it’s often so time pressured we do tend to go back to old, tried and true staples.  Breakfast need not be a headache, with a little bit of planning, food can be easily made in 10-20 min.  I’ve got the luxury of not having to rush out of the house, so I can make my family a healthy breakfast most mornings.  However, even if you do indeed have to join the commuter rush, there is always time for fruit, porridge or a piece of sourdough toast with almond butter.

In our household there are some firm breakfast staples and mostly I’ve banned any kind of boxed cereal.  Although when my husband needs to rush to work he will eat flakes and my kids consider corn flakes a treat. We like poached eggs on sourdough bread, kefir smoothies, eggs and soldiers, omelette and the well liked sourdough pancake.  With the last of the berries ripening now, you could forage for some blackberries and serve them on these delicious pancakes for a special Sunday morning breakfast.  Mind you sometimes my kids eat these for an easy dinner combined with a simple soup.

Sometimes I make these pancakes savoury and grate some courgettes or other vegetables in or leave them plain and serve them to dip into a stew.  The batter is incredibly versatile, very light and easy to prepare.  Once you’ve got your sourdough starter you are set.

bubbling sourdough - simplyirina

Bubbling Sourdough Starter

The reason why I favour my grains fermented, is because the fermentation process pre-digests the grain.  This means that the lactobacilli gobble up carbohydrates in the flour and turn them into nutrients we can assimilate more readily in our bodies.  Enzymes in the grain are activated in this acidified environment and break down anti nutrients like phytates. As a result the dough contains more B vitamins, folate and lactic acid (which makes the dough sour). Non fermented grains, made using yeast,  are not particularly good for our digestive system and have potentially lead to many digestive diseases we hear of today. A fermented grain is basically been left in an acidified, warm moist environment for 8-24 hours.  The longer you leave it,  the more sour it will get, and the more nutritious too.  I like to ferment my grains between 8-12 hours in most cases, making the taste only slightly acidic.

Although sourdough is often referred to as gourmet or novelty food, I like to remind people, that until 130 years ago all flour products were made this way: water, flour, leaven and time.  A leaven or sourdough starter is simply a slurry of water and flour which has been left out in the warmth to naturally ferment.  A starter can be maintained for a life time and can be passed on for generations.  Fear not, in the likely event that you kill your starter, a new one can be made just as easily.

Sourdough Starter

Ingredients

Flour, water and patience

Method

  • In a 500 ml jar mix half a cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to make a fairly runny slurry. If the batter is too thick or thickens up over the course of a day, just add some more water .  Its important to use filtered water and I favour organic rye flour, although any flour will do.
  • Leave in a warm place with the lid off, covering the jar with a paper towel or muslin cloth to keep flies out.
  • Keep stirring the batter several times a day and look out for natural bubbles developing
  • After 2-3 days add 2 tablespoons of flour and some more water, keep stirring.
  • Once the batter is bubbling vigorously (after 3-7 days), add another 1/2 cup of flour and water. Leave the starter out for 3-4 hours and then use it or keep it in the fridge with the lid on until your ready to use it.
  • Everytime you use some starter, simply replace the amount you have used (so if its 1/2 cup of starter then add 1/2 cup of flour and enough water to make a slurry) and leave the jar to ferment some time in the warmth, after that it can go back in the fridge until you need to use it again.

Sourdough Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups flour ( I love spelt or kamut flour)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sourdough starter

 

  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 ripe banana mashed (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • coconut oil for frying

Method

  • Mix the flour, water and sourdough starter thoroughly in a bowl and leave for 8-12 hours, preferably in a warm spot with a lid on the bowl. If you don’t have a lidded bowl simply drape a tea towel over it. I usually leave it over night to make pancakes for breakfast.
  • Once its been left to ferment you then add the egg, banana and baking soda just before cooking.  The baking soda will neutralise the acidity in the dough and make it nice and fluffy.  Make sure that both the egg and banana are well mixed into the dough.
  • Use coconut oil for frying (butter and ghee are good too) and cook small amounts of batter in batches.  I use a cast iron skillet and am quite generous with my coconut oil.

I make small pancakes, roughly the size of the palm of my hand, and you should get roughly 18 pancakes from this amount of flour.  If you want to make this vegan, just omit the egg and it will still taste very nice. Serve with any topping you like, fresh fruit, yoghurt and coconut syrup is our favourite way.

sourdough pancakes and fruit

sourdough pancakes and fruit

 

With love xx

Easy like Saturday Morning – Chocolate Chip Cookies

11751439_10207305567134432_5913152121547736348_nI love rituals and rhythms, particularly around food. I think they help ground me but they also give my family an anchor, like a ship being gently moored in a bay.  It says be present, stay a while and smell the roses.  It means we can drop our fight and flight and settle into a quality of being where we can expand a little.

So one of my rituals on a saturday morning is to make these cookies, or a variation of some sorts.  Since they contain chocolate they are a huge hit with everyone.  They happen to be gluten-free, but you could substitute the rice flour for normal or spelt flour if you like.  I have my opinions about gluten-free, but will reserve them for another post.  In short no one in our family is a celiac but we try to eat most of our grains fermented, if I’m using a recipe where that’s not convenient I will use gluten-free flours instead.

I do however stay away from refined sugars, in fact at the moment I’m staying away from all sugar for a while.  Sugar really affects my body so after years of fine tuning I know which kind of sweet treats I can tolerate without going into a sugar coma.  In this recipe I’m using Rapadura sugar, which is the commercial name for dehydrated cane sugar juice. It has a wonderful rich, caramel like flavour and closely mimics sugar in its chemical properties, without upsetting the body. Do be careful though, in large quantities this may just have the same effect as regular white sugar.

 Im not going to tell you that these are guilt free, what does that even mean? Eat as many or a little as you feel is right for you and experiment with the amount of sugar in the recipe.  I find that if I eat something sweet, a healthy dose of fat (butter in this case) and protein (almonds and hazelnuts) helps my body chemistry to stay stable. I also tend to eat sweets after a meal so that there is something else already in my stomach to absorb the sugar.

Last but not least I do realise that the ingredients in this recipe are fairly pricey and that eating these on a daily basis is not really realistic.  Which is why I make them on a Saturday to last the weekend and once they are gone, they are gone. After all that is why they are called treats, right?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2/3 cup rapadura sugar (Coconut sugar works as well)
  • 1/2 cup soft butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate chunks ( I use Lindt cooking chocolate) plus some pieces to decorate the cookies or you can use any other cookie decoration

Method

  • Put hazelnuts into the food processor and grind to a coarse meal
  • Add almond and rice flour, sugar, butter, salt and cinnamon and process until well mixed
  • Add water to bring it all together, it should be moist like wet sand but still firm
  • Put chocolate in for a final quick pulse
  • Form into walnut sized balls and put on a tray prepared with baking paper
  • Add the chocolate decoration to each cookie
  • Bake at 150 degrees celsius for 20 minutes

When you take the cookies out of the oven they will still be a little bit soft, don’t move them at this point.  Once they’ve cooled they will have hardened and you can move them.  I store mine in a glass Kilner jar, but they never last long anyway.  This recipe makes about 20-24 cookies, depending on how much dough gets eaten by little hands as they are making them!!

With Love x