Yesterday I read an article on Bill Granger’s Sydney. In the SMH he spoke about heading to Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills for a caffeine hit and frequently visiting both Shimbashi Soba in Neutral Bay and the inner city Longrain as he quipped that no place does better Asian food than Sydney, out of Asia. Waking up this morning I was thinking about what defines my Sydney and its characteristics (more to come on that later) and then my mind switched suddenly to thinking about honeycomb butter!
Last NYE, I was house-sitting my sister’s home and while flicking through her big collection of recipe books, I recall coming across a recipe for buttermilk pancakes with honeycomb butter. Weaving it into my menu for NY day, I have never before seen pancakes eaten so quickly before serving up these ones. Cooking for 12 house-guests who had been patiently waiting and slowly starving as I set about cooking in someone else’s kitchen; I heard them all chit chatting about fireworks, good sleeps out of the city and holiday to-do lists. As I served up the pancakes, baked sausages, fried eggs and crispy bacon; they later commented that it was the honeycomb butter that MADE the breakfast. Fast-forward to today and I just knew I had to eat some! I immediately sent Mr ELG with BIT off to the corner store to buy the all important ingredient Violet Crumble. So minus the buttermilk but with fresh ricotta in the fridge and inspired by a bit of Bill Granger, I set out to make his ricotta hotcakes with the all important addition of the honeycomb butter.
Placing the Violet Crumble in a zip-lock bag, I bashed it with a rolling pin so small chunks of the chocolate bar formed and in my beloved Kitchenaid, I whizzed it all up with 100g of unsalted butter and two tablespoons of condensed milk for around two minutes until just combined.
Before cooking the pancake mixture I suddenly remembered that last week on a whim, I had bought a bit of a crazysexycool Herbies spice by the name of “Strawberry Gum” from Chef and the Cook. Looking more like it should be added to a curry rather than pancakes, the label tells me that the finely ground khaki powder comes from the leaves of a native Australian Eucalyptus tree and strangely has the flavour of berries. So sprinkling a teaspoon of the spice in and folding it through, it is not long before Mr ELG and I have a morning feast before us. Finished off with lashings of Canadian maple syrup, some big, fat, luscious strawberries and a huge dollop of the freshly whipped butter, there is a sudden silence at the table and two very satisfied tummies moments later. And yes, that is baby ELG’s tiny hand edging towards the hotcake. I did start him on solids this week and he’s obviously raring to go as rice cereal is just not cutting the mustard!
Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes
4 eggs – separated
3/4 cup milk
1 1/3 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup plain flour – sifted
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Combine 4 egg yolks, milk and ricotta together. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt together and add to ricotta mixture. Mix until just combined. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and in two batches; fold into ricotta mixture. Add a tsp of Herbies “Strawberry Gum” spice. Heat a pan and swirl it with 25g of butter. Drop two tablespoons of mixture per pancake into pan and cook for a couple of minutes both sides until golden crispy edges have formed. Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit and honeycomb butter. Enjoy!