Monday, 11 January 2016

Oat Flour Pancakes

A few months ago I found myself drawn to the artisan section of a local supermarket.  It was but mere moments that this beautiful buttery yellow package caught my eye.  I must make a confession and say that I absolutely and utterly hate porridge.  I have done so since I was a child when I was faced with a bowl of frog spawn like gloop each morning before school.  My father always told me that it would taste so much better with a spoon of sugar in it and each morning I would create an island in my bowl and watch it sink slowly into the milky mess.  Sadly though, no matter what additions I made to my porridge, there was never any improvement that I could make to the texture.  Sitting across from me at the table was my brother who scraped his teeth against the spoon with every mouthful as though it would somehow burn or wound his lips if he touched them against it.  Time and time again he did it and more and more tenser my mother became.  I would look over then to see him lift his bowl routinely because he was convinced that my mother had somehow rigged the table so that a tube coming from below and into his bowl, would replace every painful morsel that he swallowed.  When he could take no more, he then resorted to flattening and shifting the porridge around the bowl to make it look like he'd eaten more than he actually had.  This never fooled my mother though.  We sat there glumly staring at our bowls and wishing it would disappear until the moment came when my mother could take no more and sent us off to school.

This memory of horrible textures, flavours and atmosphere at the breakfast table has probably turned me off porridge for life.  Strangely though my kids love the stuff and ask me to make it the next day for them as they head off to their beds.  I really struggle with the smell of it even now when I cook it despite trying many different varieties for my kids.  I'm delighted though that they love to eat it so much because I can feel like a real Supermum sending my kids off to school with a really healthy, hot breakfast every day.

This all leaves me looking always for new and different ways to eat my oats.  No I do really love granola and my Oatie biscuits but these are too high in sugar for me to eat for breakfast every day.  God know that I need to loose enough weight as it is.  So when I saw this cute little package in the shop it just called out to me to bring it home and try it out.  When I make pancakes I always try to make my blueberry syrup to drizzle over the top.  This is not just totally scrumscious but it is also a great way to get my kids to eat blueberries.  I simply just don't understand why or even how kids of mine don't have the passion of fruit as I do.  They are natures sweets and perfect in every way.  Mysterious!!

There is a recipe for the pancakes on the packet but it only makes 5 and involves weighing out ingredients, which is something that I'm not going to be doing first thing in the morning plus I wanted mine to be a little lighter and fluffier so I added in some self raising flour.  If you can't get self raising flour then just use plain flour and use 3 slightly heaped teaspoons of baking powder.  So here is my version.....

PS If you cant get this flour don't worry because I saw somewhere before (sorry can't remember where) that you can just give some porridge oats a blitz in the blender until fine.

Oat Flour Pancakes

125g punnet Blueberries
3 tablespoons Maple syrup
1 cup Oat Flour
1 cup Self Raising Flour
2 level teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Cornflour / Cornstarch
3 tablespoons Soft Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 cups Full Fat Milk (or more if required)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Paste

  1. Before starting out with the batter, put the syrup on to bubble away and thicken.  Just rinse the blueberries and pop them into the pot with the maple syrup.  Cook it slowly over quite a small flame.  It will become beautiful and glossy with little balls of berries ready to pop in your mouth. Yum!!
  2. Put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, stir and leave a well in the centre.
  3. Measure out all of the wet ingredients, including the vanilla paste, in a jug and whisk together quickly.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until it it forms a silky smooth batter.  It should not be so thick as to stay in form when it's put into the pan but it also should not be so runny as to be perfect for crepes.  
  5. Rub a little oil over the pan with a piece of kitchen paper and heat the pan until quite hot. On the packet it says that no more oil is required after the first application but I do find that wiping it with the oiled paper every few batches of pancakes does help if you haven't got the best pan like me.
  6. Using an ice-cream scoop dollop the batter onto the pan in batches of three or four.
  7. When bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over and fry for another minute until golden brown.
  8. As oats always do, the flour will soak up more liquid the longer it sits stoveside so just add in extra milk in small amounts.  Don't add too much at once or the batter will be too runny.
  9. Serve with the syrup spilling all over it and down the sides.  
  10. Enjoy greedily and you're set up for the day!!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Where The Hell Were You?

Well that is a question you might well ask!

Several things have kept me from my blog in 2015.

The first reason for me staying away from my blog was a total disillusion with blogland.  As I had known it when I started out, it was a fun and friendly place. I had made many many friends who were starting out just like me and we supported and helped each other through both of the hard times and the creative times.  I had needed to take a break half way through 2014 because of spending much of my time in hospital.  Returning last spring, I realised that blogland had become a very strange and foreign place.  Blogs that I had once conversed with on a daily basis had become so big, they somehow seemed to lose their welcoming friendliness.  There were no responses to questions or enquiries for their well being.  Don't get me wrong, I don't in any way harbour any feelings of jealousy  or resentment towards these blogs that have grown in popularity.  On the contrary I am quite delighted for them and I understand that bloggers that have more followers would have more comments coming in on their posts which would probably be quite hard to get through.  It's just that it was not the world that I had left behind and somehow I just did not fit in any longer.  I felt like a complete outsider or a lost traveler that had wandered into unknown territory.  And even when I began to look out towards other blogs that might in some small way pique my interest, I just could not muster the same passion for this space on the web that I once had.  At this point I must also say a big thank you to the wonderful ladies that have stayed in contact with me over this whole time.  Those who have sent the odd caring and considerate email to help lighten my mood.  Strange to say as this is, I have never met you nor probably will ever have the chance to meet you but you are all great friends indeed.

Secondly with my mothers health not great during the year and surgery that brought to light some more problems for her, the stress and strain took more out of me than I expected.  I honestly think that when people need me, adrenilene keeps me going during that time, regardless of how long that time is.  I can keep pushing and pushing through it.  My limit hidden with the need to just get through this day and onto the next.  Unfortunately as soon as the pressure lightens and life starts to return to normal, all of the pain and strain that my mind has been blocking rushes back and hits me like a shovel to the back!!  And this time it really stopped me dead in my tracks.

Come the summertime I was exhausted like I've never felt before.  I had every ounce of pain that I had missed out on and I had no desire to do anything else other than sleep.  I had been buzzing along for months, going for walks with the dogs and working in the garden, using these activities to destress and let my mind relax and be free of worries even if it was for mere moments at a time.  When I went into complete melt down, I was totally gutted. The kids holidays were just beginning and I was looking forward to finally having a normal summer and spending time with my kids doing things that parents and kids do together without a second thought.  But sadly it was nearly two months before I started to return to normal or well as normal as a person with fibromyalgia could ever be.  Thankfully time and rest has healed my body and I've become probably as active as I've been for more than 10 years. Ready for whatever life has to throw at me next.  Well all except for one thing..

Tendonitis.  During the year I developed tendonitis in both of my elbows, both my shoulders and my neck.  The steroid injections that followed curiously caused a bad flare up.  I say curiously because I have been getting these jabs in my hips every year for nearly a decade now.  This time though they caused jelly like swells around my neck and on both wrists.  This has meant that I have really struggled with all of my crafting passions.  For months now no yarn, fabric, hook nor needles have been held in my hands for more than ten minutes at a time.  Because of this I have found that I have totally lost my creative mojo and I must say that this saddens me terribly.

One good thing has come out of all of this and that is a return to one of the first loves of my life, food!  And about time too.  Over the past years of being unwell, I turned my back on this love.  Handfuls of tablets at a time both sickened and tired me.  I had to teach my husband how to cook for himself and the kids.   And God love the poor divil he tried but being what in Ireland is called a total bogger, his selection of food always, and I mean always, included a mountain of spuds, veg and some description of meat.  My kids loved this when they were younger as he did but for me the sameness of it all was somewhat off putting, to coin a phrase of my mothers.

For me I need a variety of textures and flavours.  I need the heat of spice and the creaminess of parmesan, gruyere and mozarella.  I need not just potatoes but pasta and rice too.  I need a roast at the end of the week that is so tender that it melts in the mouth and whose leftovers leaves any amount of meals that can be created from them, limited only by your own imagination.  Thankfully, as I have returned to take back my place in the kitchen, my children have become more open to new flavours.  They now adore chilli spiked food and the more cheery little red slices that appear on the plates laid before them, the happier they are.  How lucky am I to have two kids that love spices as much as I do?  I am so delighted they are also now taking an interest in the kitchen.  Lucy loves to bake and is very good at it too, I must say.  Patrick on the other hand loves the savoury side of cooking and I always have him on standby as my professional taster.

With these things in mind I have made a decision about this little space of mine in blogland.  I'm going to regard this as a little diary. A diary of new recipes that I try out from my very voluminous collection of cookery books.  A diary of all the recipes that I have invented myself, inspiration usually waking me in the middle of the night.  I want to keep a record of all of these so that I can share them with friends and family.  If there is anyone else out there that may be interested also are welcome to use these too.

And if by any small chance at all, that my arms allow me once more to crochet, knit or sew, I'll post a few words about them too.  I'm hoping to get back to blogging quietly in this little space of mine.  Happy to just record all of the glorious food that we enjoy both eating and cooking together. I'll be delighted to see any visiters pop along and would love to see any comments that they may wish to leave.

Hope to chat soon with a new recipe for Oat flour pancakes....seriously yum!!

Rosie xx