Breakfast time and pancake temptation


For the most part, I’m not the kind to dally over, under or prior to breakfast. Once upon a time, I could barely manage the few minutes of showering before my stomach felt like it was devouring me. Staying with various friends in Germany was a special torture, as the morning routine extended beyond showers and shaves, to setting tables, brewing coffee, laying out cold meats and cheese, and popping down to the bakery for fresh rolls. At times, breakfast begins more than an hour after rising. (It must be said that such German breakfasts are delightfully homely affairs — totally gemütlich — and can fill a day with bonhomie. But only if I haven’t already collapsed from the aforementioned self-consumption.)

Breakfast, as some readers already know, is rather important to me, associated with simple but very important dietary specifications. It is, however, here that I first reveal the temporal parameters of my breakfast. As a child, I would eat before showering. Little did I know this would establish digestive patterns that have turned me into a wimpering hunger-immobilised wreck when visiting Germans or poorly-catered hotels.

As a student, I tried going to the gym before breakfast, and quickly found myself staggering, zig-zag fashion, across campus as my nervous system gradually shut down non-essential functions. I think it was around about this time that I discovered morning croissants were not only delicious, but an excellent surrogate for gym exercise.

After quite a few years of travelling, I can now manage almost 45 minutes without food before my stomach starts gnawing. And you know, 45 minutes is just right for making puffy pancakes. I grew up with my mother making pikelets (the only true puffy pancake in my family) with butter and golden syrup for special breakfasts, and of course she was up well before me, so there was never a delay in product delivery. As an independent adult, these morning luxuries have been rare, because they take too long.

However, I was so attracted to the recent tasty photo of banana/bacon/ricotta/maple pancakes on The Last Appetite a few weeks back that I decided to brave the ticking clock and reproduce them at home. 45 minutes. Done, dusted, devoured.

I rarely post recipes on Syrup & Tang because most readers have their own trusted books, or you can Google pretty much anything (with about an 85% chance the result will have been “adapted” from a book). So, off you go and find some fat pancakes (often called American pancakes. I like the buttermilk pancakes in Stephanie Alexander’s big fat Cook’s Companion). Slice or mash some banana. Fry some streaky bacon over low heat for quite a long time until fairly crisp. Have heaps of butter and maple syrup ready! Try not to forget the ricotta whipped with honey (ehem, damn). Devour noisily.

And if that doesn’t suit you, have a bowl of Rice Bubbles. They’ve made me the man I am today.

Postscript: My co-eater, Mittens, was browsing through Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Harvest and came across a salad with pear and prosciutto. “How about this on our next batch of pancakes?” What a good idea… (not the salad part, of course).

8 thoughts on “Breakfast time and pancake temptation”

  1. I’m not much of a breakfast person during the week or on Saturday. A banana will usually suffice as I look forward to lunch instead. However, Sunday is a day when I take the effort to make breakfast – and even then, the timing of it would qualify it as brunch.

    On the issue of making pancakes, I use Bill Granger’s recipe from Bill’s Food. However, the one thing I do differently to him is that I make the batter the night before. It seems to result in a lighter and fluffier pancake. I remember reading in another recipe that a batter should be rested in the fridge for half an hour before using it. In an effort to avoid the chaos that children cause in the morning, I decided to make the batter the night before and see what happened – and if a batter could be improved by a half hour rest, what about an overnight one? Needless to say, since then, I’ve always made the batter in the evening.

  2. Rice Bubbles seem to have made many a man. I’ve always been more of a cornflake girl myself, but not in a Tori Amos sense.

  3. 4 Weetbix and and espresso is my standard. I wish there was time most days to cooks something tasty as breakfast foods are such fun. Today I am going to be naughty and eat Lebanese baked goods for breakfast.

  4. I’m a toast and coffee girl for mid-week breakfasts. If I have a special breakfast then something like ricotta pancakes or baked vanilla ricotta at Birdman Eating, or Blintz’s at Babka. I must say I’d rather go out and have someone else cook the pancakes. Today however I had leftover Buddha’s Delight for breakfast.

  5. Clearly some people got up before me this morning! 😉

    @Daniel: yeah, preparing batter in advance is an excellent idea. I just never get organised enough late at night!

    @Y: we need a new name for cornflakes!

    @Mark: you talking baklava all morning? Oh yum.

    @Deb: I’ve never been able to do toast for breakfast. I think British B&Bs cured me, as grumpy breakfast staff plonked down cold, leathery ex-bread. Going out for pancakes is a treat, isn’t it:) For me, it takes too long though, so I’m likely to collapse in dramatic agony.

  6. Thanks for the link. I think this is also how I tend to use blogs for cooking: more for elements of inspiration rather than cooking exact recipes verbatim. It’s only when I see something that is well outside my experience (and my collection of physical recipe books) and from a trusted source that I’ll cook from an online recipe.

  7. I’m not a fan of pancake American style (known here as drop or Scotch pancakes) or the crepe style….that was until I discovered if you mix in Dulce de Leche into the batter and if so wished pieces of banana you have Banoffee Pancakes!

    Lovely lovely lovely!

Comments are closed.