Julia Roberts' character asks a friend, 'What did you have for lunch today?', to which her
friend glumly responds 'Salad'. 'Exactly!' Julia shouts, 'I used to really enjoy food'.
We are so busy nowadays, and so consumed with meticulous calorie counting, that we forget
to have fun with food. We forget that you can eat an 'enjoyable' balanced diet of nutritious
food, cooked in wonderful ways. I love watching Nigel Slater cook, because he really cooks
for fun - some of his dishes aren't even a meal, but rather a snack, but he is enjoying the
experimentation with flavour. I find it so inspiring. We have his book, 'Real Fast Food' in
our kitchen, and whenever I am feeling a bit bored of food, I know I can just open the book
to shake things up, and I am never disappointed.
I was having a wander around some blogs a month or so ago, and came across a wonderful
post about breakfast. I wish I could remember which blog it was now, but for the life of me,
I cannot. They were saying how they were really into breakfast at that moment in time, and
they shared the most delicious recipe for pancakes with a rhubarb, strawberry, orange &
maple compote (if the owner is reading this, please feel free to tell us who you are and claim
the glory!). I practically fell over myself printing out the recipe, and was waiting for the
perfect lazy weekend morning to try it, and well, last Saturday was it.
The pancakes are spongy and light, and utterly divine. The compote is perfectly sweet, with
a lovely tart edge to it. All in all, a great recipe to cheer your appetite up with, and one to get
the day off to a cracking start - especially on a summers day. So why not treat yourself to
some food fun this coming Saturday morning? With temperatures set to reach 25 degrees,
I would say there couldn't be a better time.
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2" cubes
2 cups strawberries, capped & quartered
1/2 cup orange juice
zest from one orange
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange liqueur eg. Cointreau / Grand Marnier
(this is optional - we left it out, but we must try it with at some point)
Melt the butter in a saute pan over a medium - low heat.
(or in a saucepan if that is all you have).
Add the rhubarb and strawberries. Stir and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Cook the mixture for about 20 - 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb breaks
down and the sauce thickens up, and is no longer watery. Bear in mind that it does firm up
a bit as it cools.
4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
2 cups plain flour
2 cups whole milk
(we used our usual semi skimmed to save pennies, and it was fine)
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt if desired
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except the egg whites, and mix well.
Beat the egg whites separately until very foamy.
Fold the egg whites into the mixture, until fairly well incorporated - work the foam in.
Ladle into a well-buttered pan on a medium - low heat.
When air bubbles stay in the middle and the edges are golden, flip.
Cook for another minute or two until golden brown on both sides.
Keep warm in a 200 degree oven, covered with foil, while preparing the remaining cakes.
Top with compote or roll up as pictured, and serve immediately.
This lot serves around 6 pancakes, and I would say perhaps enough compote to satisfy 6
people. I shall admit that my partner and I alone cleared the lot - it was that good! Needless
to say, it ended up being brunch! It is also perhaps worth suggesting that you could have this
as a dessert as well as a breakfast, what with the option of adding alcohol (maybe not in the
same day though).
Whatever you chose to do with it, do it you must. Enjoy!