Tag Archives: cafe food

Blueberry and ricotta, buttermilk hotcakes

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There was a period there, about 10 (or more) years ago, where I spent entire weekends cooking ricotta hotcakes. I guess that’s to be expected when you’re working in a cafe, but there’s a limit to how many hotcakes one can make and still think of them as a food one might want to eat. I could possibly blame Bill Granger for introducing Sydney siders to hotcakes. His tiny Darlinghurst cafe, Bills popularised this weekend breakfast dish so every other cafe, including the one I worked in, followed suit and had a version on their menu. Mind you, he was obviously on to something, as 20 years on, hotcakes still feature on Bill’s menus across his now SEVEN cafes! Cafe work certainly offered a more social life style, even if we did cook hundreds upon hundreds of hotcakes each week. The bonus was obvious, the work hours were during the day (nights off) and we only worked 9 hours as opposed to the 16 i’d been doing in restaurants.

 

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It’s been six or seven years since I’ve made ricotta hotcakes. Seriously! You think I’m joking? I’m not!

Last weekend, I suddenly and whole heartedly knew I was ready to cook them again. Making a small batch of ricotta hotcakes at home was enjoyable. It was not stressful, sweaty, or tiring as it had been in the past. They deserved a second chance and they have redeemed themselves. Ricotta hotcakes have returned to my repertoire – yippee! I hope they find a place in yours too.

Adding fruit to a hotcake mix adds a level of sophistication that is amiss from the plain variety.

The cafe I worked at had several ways of serving hotcakes depending on the season. There was caramalised banana – every bodies favourite, sour cherries made an appearance, poached rhubarb was popular, and when in season raspberries always made a show.

But blueberries work a treat with ricotta. And that’s how I made them last weekend. I’ve tweaked my old recipe and replaced the white flour with wholemeal, and added almond meal to the mix too. This makes them a little healthier and these days that’s preferred.

 

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These blueberry and ricotta buttermilk hotcakes will have weekend brunch taken care of. Smother them in pure maple syrup, and serve them with double cream or yoghurt.

 

Blueberry and ricotta buttermilk hotcakes 

Ingredients

150g (1 cup) wholemeal self raising flour

25g (3 tbsp) almond meal

1 tsp bi carb soda

2 tbsp brown sugar

25g melted butter, plus extra for cooking

2 eggs, yolks and whites separated

190ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk – see note

150g fresh ricotta

1 punnet blueberries

Olive oil for cooking

 

Place the flour and almond meal in a medium bowl, sift in the bi carb, add brown sugar and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre of the flour.

In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, egg yolks and buttermilk, whisk till combined and pour this in the middle of the flour. Stir lightly, add the ricotta and fold and stir till well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add to the hotcake mix and fold gently till combined. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a non stick fry pan with oil and butter (about 1 tbsp of each), when the butter sizzles spoon 4 or 5 hotcakes into the pan, immediately scatter each hotcake with 4-5 blueberries, cook on a medium to low heat till golden on both sides. Continue to cook hotcakes using more oil and more butter till the mix is used up.

Serve blueberry hotcakes with maple syrup, and double cream or yoghurt.

Note – you can make buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp lemon juice to regular milk.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone loves corn fritters

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Lets face it, sweet corn doesn’t win any awards for being exotic – it’s not fancy and it’s not gourmet. But that’s part of it’s beauty – it’s a simple vegetable. In Australia, spring is the season for sweetcorn, and at $1 a cob it makes for budget cooking. And what better dish to make with your cheaply purchased corn? Corn fritters of course.

 

Everyone loves corn fritters – even my kids will eat them. Though, when serving my kids corn fritters, I have to call them “pancakes with corn”, but hey, if it means they eat something with vegetables and don’t complain about it while they’re doing it, I’ll call them anything they want me to.

 

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Why make them?

Because they’re fast and easy.

The cooked corn kernels burst in your mouth like pockets of sweetness.

They taste so good when eaten hot from the pan.

They are light and fluffy and good for a snack.

 

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Back when I could still claim to be a chef (it’s been four years since I’ve worked in a professional kitchen), every cafe had corn fritters on the menu. You could get corn fritters with crispy bacon, corn fritters with spicy chilli jam, corn fritters with smoked salmon and poached eggs… Argh… too many corn fritters. Now days, those repetitive weekends stuck behind hot stoves are just a distant memory. Corn fritters have found their way back into my repertoire. I can even smile while I make them, and eat them.

 

I’ve learnt a thing or two about corn fritters –

1. Use fresh corn, cut straight from the cob.

2.  Whisk the egg whites separately, so the batter is light and fluffy.

3. Use a high ratio of corn to flour, so you actually taste the corn.

4. Cook fritters in olive oil and butter so they get a crispy edge and cook with a golden colour.

 

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Sweetcorn and zucchini fritters – makes about 12 fritters

Ingredients

2 cobs of sweet corn

1 zucchini, coarsely grated

6 green spring onions (scallions), sliced thinly

1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour

1/2 tsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

2 eggs, separated

50g melted butter, plus extra for frying

1/4 cup milk

Olive oil, for frying

 

Remove the kernels from the cobs of corn, place in a large bowl. Add grated zucchini and sliced green spring onions. Add flour, sugar, salt and white pepper.

 

Place egg yolks and milk in melted butter and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture on to the corn and stir till combined.

 

In a separate clean bowl, whisk egg whites till soft peaks form. Add to corn and flour mixture and fold gently till well combined.

 

Heat a large non-stick fry pan with 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter. Cook the fritters in batches of four or five. Spoon fritter mix into pan and cook on a low heat till golden on both sides.  You can keep the fritters warm in a low oven whilst cooking remaining fritters.

 

Fritters are best eaten whilst still hot. Don’t know what to serve them with? – try avocado mash and salad.