banana blueberry pancakes large

Banana and Blueberry Pancakes and the #EarlyBirdChallenge

banana blueberry pancakes

Do you make the most of your mornings?   Do you jump out of bed and cook a delicious breakfast for you and your family?  Do you fit in half an hour of exercise in the park?   How about an early morning meditation or reading that book you’ve always been meaning to? What’s that?   Did I hear someone laughing?

I have to say, I’m naturally a morning person but even I fall into the trap of having exactly the same breakfast every day.   I’d happily get up at 6 o’clock and enjoy the first hour of the day if that hour was just for me.  Instead, I’m often forced to get up at 5:00 or even 4:00 if I’m unlucky.  Even for me that is way way too early!

I spend my early mornings looking after children and even if I’ve been up for hours I still end up just grabbing a bowl of muesli for breakfast once it gets to 7 o’clock.   I’m sure there are some mums who really make the most of these early morning hours when it feels like the whole world is still snoozing but unfortunately I’m not one of them.  Or at least I’m not most mornings.

Recently I’ve teamed up with Free Office Finder to take part in their Early Bird Challenge and resolved to make some changes.   Just once a week I will try and make an interesting and child-friendly breakfast that the whole family can enjoy.

For my first breakfast challenge I made these lovely banana and blueberry pancakes adapted from this recipe on BBC Good Food.   I always think of American style pancakes as being quite heavy but these were surprisingly light and I loved the fruit in them.  My lovely husband was very pleased to get pancakes for breakfast too but unfortunately Little Miss Spice did not and all the fruit got picked out of her pancake.   Never mind, at least I’ve discovered she likes plain pancakes.   I’ve also made the recipe with just banana and I’m sure you could adapt it to use almost any fruit you wanted to use up.

Over the next few weeks I hope to make French Toast, poached eggs and maybe, just once, a full English breakfast.  Not for lunch.  For breakfast.

So, if you were to take the Early Bird Challenge, tell me, how would you make the most of your early mornings?

Ingredients for Blueberry and Banana Pancakes

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp (45g) soft brown sugar

1 egg

1 banana, sliced

100g blueberries, fresh or frozen

100ml milk

Honey, golden syrup, yoghurt to serve (optional)

How to Make Blueberry and Banana Pancakes

  1. Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.   Stir together and make a well in the centre.

  2. Add the egg and beat it in with a fork.   Then gradually add the milk to make a smooth thick batter.

  3. Stir the fruit into the batter.

  4. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add a few tablespoons of the batter to the pan with a space around each one.

  5. Cook the pancakes for a couple of minutes.  They are ready to turn over when you can see bubbles appearing on the surface.   Cook for another couple of minutes on the other side and then serve drizzled with honey or golden syrup and maybe with a dollop of yoghurt on the side too.

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Banana Pancakes

I can’t believe it’s 3 months since I last took part in the Secret Recipe Club.  I may have missed one of my favourite activities, but the good thing is, I have a lovely house to live in now with a big kitchen, which has definitely become my favourite room in the house.   I just wish I had more time for cooking in it.

Well, this month I was paired with Judee from Gluten Free A-Z Blog.  I don’t have much experience of gluten-free cooking but I soon decided to make her delicious-looking banana pancakes.   I’ve never made pancakes without milk and flour before and I was intrigued to see what they would be like, made with just 2 ingredients, as well as being completely drawn in by the picture.  They were served with raspberries and blueberries and looked so healthy as well as delicious and I also felt they would be perfect for my picky little daughter to eat.  Unfortunately she decided they were better to play with than eat!

The pancakes were very quick to put together and cook so you could make these in about 5 minutes if you were pushed for time.   They tasted lovely and you could definitely taste the banana in the batter.   The only issue I had was that they were a bit more watery tasting and had a wetter texture than normal pancakes.   I didn’t this time, but I think that if I made them again I might serve them with chocolate rather than berries, as I somehow feel that would be the perfect combination for these little pancakes.

banana pancakes 1 (500x423)

Ingredients – Serves 2

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

How to Make Banana Pancakes

  1. Put the banana and eggs into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan.   Drop the mixture in a tablespoon at a time.  Cook for about 1 minute and then turn them over and cook for another minute.  Repeat until all the mixture has been used up.

  3. Serve with berries, cream, chocolate or whatever you normally like to eat with pancakes.

To see what other Secret Recipe Club participants have made, click on the link below.

Appams and Sri Lankan Beef Curry

This month’s Daring Cooks Challenge seemed to creep up on me really quickly.   One day it was July and then suddenly I realised the posting date was almost there.    This month we were challenged to make appams to accompany a south Indian/Sri Lankan dish.  I think I’d heard the name appams before but that was as far as it got.   They are a type of fermented rice and coconut pancake.  I’d never eaten them before and they are also quite different to any other pancakes so for me, this was exactly the type of challenge I like.  The fact that they are Indian and I love Indian food was also a bonus.

I think my appams looked right, at least they looked the same as other appams on the internet, but as I haven’t had them before I’m  not sure if the texture was quite right.   They broke up very easily and this may have been because when I blended the rice, I didn’t blend it quite finely enough, although the recipe did state that it didn’t need to be completely smooth.  I noticed after blending that there were still some tiny gritty bits in the mixture.   Maybe using rice flour or half rice flour, half rice instead of the uncooked rice would have helped the appams to hold together better.  Or maybe they are supposed to be like this. Like any of these things,  I think when you make a completely new recipe, it can sometimes take a few tries to get it just right, and unfortunately, I’ve only had one try at these.

In terms of flavour, they did have a lovely coconut  flavour and I might even like to make them more coconuty by adding extra coconut blended up with the water.  I did feel I could still taste a slightly yeastiness though, which I would like to mask next time.   Maybe I didn’t add quite enough salt.   When I’ve experimented with using less  salt in homemade bread, I find that I get the same yeasty flavour.

The curry tasted good too, I especially liked the flavour the tamarind gave it.  I used my lazy slow cooker method and the picture looks terrible (so I’ve hidden it right at the bottom of the post). I wasn’t sure how to eat it with the appams as they did not hold together well enough to eat like a bread, so I dipped them in which was good and then tore them up and put the bits in the curry as that was the easiest way.   Sorry! Probably not the right way, but it worked for me!

Blog-checking lines: Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Ingredients for Appams – Makes 6-8, serves 2-3

Recipe from Aparna at My Diverse Kitchen

150g uncooked basmati rice

Just under 1 tsp dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

60ml water

9g cooked rice

1/4 tsp salt

60ml thick coconut milk

How to make Appams

1. Soak the raw rice in bowl of water for at least 3 hours.

2. Dissolve the sugar in the water.   Then add the yeast and leave it to become frothy.

3. Drain the raw rice and put in a blender.   Add the yeast and water mixture.   Blend.

4. Add the cooked rice to the blender and continue to blend until it is fairly smooth.

5. Put the mixture into a bowl and leave for 8-12 hours in a warm place.  I left mine in the kitchen for about 21 hours and it was fine.   It will go quite yeasty and a bit smelly but don’t worry.

6. When ready to make add the salt and coconut milk.   It should be a little thicker than milk.   If it is too thick add a little water.

7. Smear a little oil around a wok or frying pan.   The pan should be oiled but there shouldn’t be a pool of oil in the bottom.

8. Take half a ladle of the batter and pour it into the pan.   Swirl it around so it is thin around the outside but a bit thicker in the middle.   This is why I found a wok works really well.

9. After about two minutes remove and keep making them until all the batter is used up.

Ingredients for Sri Lankan Beef Curry – serves 2

Adapted from Mangoes and Curry Leaves, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

300g stewing steak, cubed

About 10 dried curry leaves

1 green chilli pepper, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

60 ml coconut milk

1 tsp tamarind paste

How to make Sri Lankan Beef Curry

1. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning.   Cover with a little water so the beef is covered.

2. In the evening, remove the curry from the slow cooker and simmer on the hob to reduce the liquid a little.

3. Don’t reduce too much.   It should still be quite soupy.  Serve with the appams.



Goat’s Cheese and Vegetable Pancakes

Today I broke the habit of a lifetime.   I made pancakes when it wasn’t pancake day.   If I have ever done this before, please remind me.  I am not of course including eating the ones that are called crepes and therefore claim to be classier, even though they are just the same as British pancakes, because I have to admit that I have eaten crepes on the odd occasion.

Thinking about pancakes reminds me of a Canadian lecturer at work who said she was really surprised when she found out that here most people only eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and not throughout the year.  As they are so easy it did make me think that I should make them more often.   And then pancake day passed and I forgot about it.   And then, I saw on Livs’ blog, Six Mix Tricks, that she was having a competition in which we should use one of her mixes and create a Spring/Easter themed recipe.  As batter is one of the mixes I decided to make pancakes.   Now, I know pancakes are not especially springlike, but they do include eggs, and by serving them with a side salad and including fresh mint and goat’s cheese with Mediterranean vegetables (apart from the mushroom) in the filling, they seem much lighter and more summery than the pancakes I made back in February.

So, what have I learnt?   Pancakes are definitely a forgotten about meal and I resolve to make them again before next year in February.   Also, if you are interested in finding out more about Livs’ concept of cooking based six mixes (batter, pastry, white sauce, custard, cake and scone) then take a look at her blog.

Ingredients – Serves 2

For the Batter – Makes 3-4 pancakes(so you can have dessert ones too)

250ml milk

100g flour

1 egg

Pinch of salt

For the Filling – fills 2 pancakes

1/4 aubergine, diced

1/2 pepper, sliced

5 mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

2 spring onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Goats cheese

About 10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced


Black pepper

How to make Goat’s Cheese and Vegetable Pancakes

1. Prepare the batter.   Using a whisk mix together the milk, flour, salt and egg.   Leave to stand while you prepare the vegetables.

2. Heat some olive oil in a pan.  Add the aubergine, red pepper, onion and garlic.    When softened add the mushrooms.

3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan.  When hot, add a ladle of batter.  Tip the pan to the sides so the batter covers the whole of the bottom of the pan.   After a couple of minutes turn and cook the other side.

4. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

5. Serve by putting the vegetable filling in the middle of the pancake, sprinkle with mint, spring onions and chopped mint. Roll up and serve with salad.