Sensationally Smitten

Happy Pancake Day!

OK I know I am 5 days late but we celebrated it all the same this morning in my kitchen with a sensational pancake recipe with inspiration drawn from Smitten Kitchen. I recently came across Smitten Kitchen after my ongoing search for the greatest birthday cake recipe…MM is turning 1 in April. In one of her posts, she boasts that she has found the recipe of all recipes when it comes to birthday cakes. When it comes time to baking the birthday cake, I will let you know. Another recipe that took my interest recently is the Chocolate Fudge Cake posted by Hostile Bacon. Miss Ren (of Hostile Bacon)and I share a love for a cake mixer and have had one or two discussions about the innocent Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and its all-reigning asset status in the kitchen…

So getting back on track with Pancake Day; the three ELGs were sensationally smitten. As usual, there was no rush to the corner shop so in PJs I used what was in the pantry so the original Smitten Kitchen recipe has been altered. The result was the pancakes were light, fluffy, golden and the mixture was easy to whip up and held itself together when it came time to flipping the pancakes in the pan. Mr ELG and I had them with the works; dusted icing sugar, squeeze of lemon juice, raspberry sauce and light drizzle of golden syrup. MM had them on his Bunnykins plate in an extremely watered down version. His pancakes were eaten bare but still woofed down all the same.

Apple and Raspberry pancakes


4 small apples (I used Gala apples but any would do) peeled and grated

2 eggs – beaten well

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup natural yoghurt

1 1/2 cup self raising flour

pinch of baking powder

1/4 cup caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To serve:

Dollop of apple and cinnamon natural yogurt

1 banana – halved and sliced lengthways

golden syrup

raspberry sauce (if not your own then Cuttaway Creek is the next best thing!)

half a lemon

icing sugar to dust


Combine wet ingredients and lightly whisk together in a small bowl. Combine dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add wet ingredients and grated apple; whisking it all together until just combined. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and stir in.

Brush a hot pan with some butter so it is thinly coated. Add two large tablespoons of mixture and flip over when bubbles start rising to surface. Place slices of banana between two cooked pancakes and dress with remaining ingredients according to personal taste. Makes 8

Eat. Love. Enjoy!


with Bill and honeycomb butter in mind…

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!

Go Alfresco

This phrase actually reminds me most of year 9 Italian class with Mrs Rihani when she asked us to think about how many Italian words were actually already immersed in the English language….

Today, however I am actually talking about Alfresco, the wonderful store on Pittwater Road, Collaroy Sydney. Alfresco is a store I regularly go to when I have a spare moment to browse, forget about time and dream about all of the beautiful things that I could buy from Alfresco to have in my home.

From the moment I park my car and go through the side entrance to wander past the fresh flowers, through their corner store where it’s ever so tempting to buy some Barefoot Contessa to stock up the pantry with and into the Emporium of all of their major goodies, time stands still for me and I love this feeling.

Alfresco is situated on the corner of Pittwater Road and Ocean Grove, Collaroy and looks like a big Hamptons-style house with a large carpark at the front – perfect for impromptu drop-ins! It rivals Peters of Kensington as a superstore of goods offering a wide range of affordable brands; both wide-spread and exclusive. Where it differs from Peters however, is that it is always visually appeasing to the eye so no matter what display they have in the front window, it always transports you immediately to the vision that they have laid out before you. Last week for example, their furniture display was a combination of old-world safari meets tropical island Bahamas; there was a unique leather bar cabinet which I imagined I could use to just whip up a mojito to sip on and home fragrances from Sicilian brand Ortiga to ferry my senses to a faraway place. As you turn and walk a few steps away the mood changes and you find yourself looking at clean, white finishes and texturised fabrics and the style instantly becomes more country home-esque.

Alfresco’s kitchen range is hard to out-do and the owner of the store obviously has a love for baking as their range of bakeware, aprons, mixers, blenders, utensils and specific icing ingredients is extensive. One’s eye can never go past the rainbow of colours that Kitchenaid make their mixers in and the other thing that happened to take my fancy last week were a cute range of aprons titled “Kiss the Cook“.

Alfresco also stocks a terrific range of books, mostly coffee-table types and a noteworthy one for me last week was a book dedicated to A life on Pittwater and its beauty (given my wedding will be located up there in 12 days). There is also a gorgeous range of silver jewelery, lovely smelling candles and staff who are helpful, knowledgeable and care to stop and have a chat. Additional stores are also located in Mona Vale and Cherrybrook, Sydney.

So whether you are buying a gift for someone or spoiling yourself with a “just because”, go to Alfresco and get whisked away and feel time slip on by.