Friday, August 15, 2008

Holiday breakfast

Pancakes are one of those things that if I thought about for a minute I would probably consider a peculiar weakness - just a load of flour eggs and milk, hardly very gastronomically exciting; and all that time standing in front of the stove, waiting for each to firm up and brown, before the next one can have its time in the pan, and then finally getting to eat them half an hour later, their meek flavours are drowned out in sharp lemon juice and liberal snow showers of sugar and a couple of seconds later they sit stodgily in the belly...

But their time-consuming nature contributes to their appeal. Because when else do you have the time to mix up batter and stand there idly daydreaming and singing along to Broken Social Scene as you fry each little flat and floury fellow and pop him in the oven to keep warm for later? On holidays, on weekends, on those glorious days of No Work and Nothing More Important To Do Than Breakfast for HOURS!

I'm off work this week. Holidaying in the lovely north London environs which I live in. I've been perusing books in the library, crocheting on the hill, watching Scrubs and making oatmeal pancakes. Apart from the distinct lack of any weather that could remotely call itself summery, it's been lovely.

I chose these oatmeal pancakes, rather than my usual 'recipe' (eye-estimated amounts of plain flour, milk and 1 egg) because they struck me as a little more meaty and substantial, more worthy somehow. And there is somehow something about that name 'Oatmeal Pancakes' which transmits ideas of homeliness, of rusticity, of heartiness and fun to me.

The recipe is adapted from a much-loved copy of 'Recipes for a Small Planet' that I picked up in a second hand book shop a while back. It follows Frances Moore Lappe's 'Diet for a Small Planet', which espouses a non-meat but protein rich diet in response to global famine and the wasteful practice of fattening up animals before ourselves (see for a much better explanation that this and more current writings from Lappe and Lappe junior). I don't use the book much - rather I like to delight in its enthusiasm and lovely old-school line drawings, and to marvel at the amount of milk, cheese and eggs which can be edged into pretty much any meal you care to think of.

The pancakes worked well. They're thick but not stodgy and the oats give you something to chew on. I covered them in combinations of honey, yoghurt, banana, lemon juice, sugar and jam. Messy and delicious.

Oatmeal Pancakes (adapted from Ellen Buchman Ewald's Recipes for a Small Planet)
(makes enough for 3-4 people)

1 cup wholewheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp oil
1 tsp honey
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Mix dry ingredients well

2. Stir in wet ingredients until all well combined

3. Fry on a hot pan (I used a little butter and/or oil to do mine) until brown on both sides.