I can't believe it's mid-March already and I've been somewhat absent from here for so long! Maybe it's the fact that I'm getting older that makes it feel like time is flying even faster than it used to or maybe it's down to being a freelancer and always trying to do several jobs at once. I don't know and, to be honest, I don't think I want to know. Right now, I'm trying to take each day as it comes, stress less about things that might or might not happen, and figure out how to not fall into the "busy is the new black" trap. That doesn't mean that I'm not planning things for the future or that I'm living in some blissfully ignorant bubble (wouldn't that be nice considering the state of the world right now?), but it means that I'm trying to be just a little more zen about daily life. "Oh, yeah, how's that going?", I hear you ask. Well, it doesn't always go to plan, and it doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm working on it, I'm making slow progress and I'm learning...
Part of this more relaxed (or should I say "I'm trying hard to be more relaxed here, dammit!) approach is to allow for some mid-week baking. Even after years of freelancing, the old patterns are proving hard to shake: work during the week, bake at weekends. Believe me, my brain does tell me how stupid this approach is considering that I'm completely free to schedule my days as I please, but something inside me still hasn't quite caught up with it all. But I'm making progress and after finishing some client work last week (that obviously still needs to be a priority) I experimented with some Japanese style pancakes for two days.
Yes, it took quite a few failed attempts to get these to a point where I was happy. Happy with the fluffiness, how "spongy" and moist they are, and how they taste. Because (or at least that's my reasoning) I'm coming from a place where I didn't actively choose to go vegan, I'm finding it really hard to compromise on taste or texture in my bakes for some greater good. I completely get it if you trade a fluffy sponge for a somewhat more stodgy one on the grounds of protecting animal rights and truly admire that, but I'm finding it very hard to shake the feeling of "I'm eating something that isn't as it should be". Yes, it's learned behaviour and it is possible to retrain your palate, I get that, but it's also what makes me experiment with one bake over and over until it's as close as I can get it to "this tastes how it should", i.e. not "oh, this is obviously vegan". So, these are the result of a lot of experimenting. Gluten-free and vegan Japanese-style pancakes. You can top them with pretty much anything you want: icing sugar, maybe some lemon juice, fruits and maple syrup...
Ingredients for 10 mini pancakes:
You will need metal rings with a 7cm diameter and 3.5cm height as well as a non-stick pan with a lid.
- 250g self-raising, gluten-free flour
- 1 tin (440ml) coconut milk - chilled over night
- 50g caster sugar
- 1tbsp cornflour
- 1/2tsp baking powder
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- coconut oil to grease the metal rings
How it's done:
- mix the flour, sugar, cornflour and baking powder and put through a sieve
- mix the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with the 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, it should froth up
- put the chilled coconut milk into your mixer bowl and whisk until it turns into a thick and fluffy cream
- add the vanilla extract to the coconut cream
- now add the lemon/bicarbonate of soda mix to the coconut cream
- once all combined, add the flour mix spoon-by-spoon whilst continuously whisking
- now put the mix into the fridge and chill for half an hour
- grease the metal rings with the coconut oil
- place the metal rings into the frying pan and turn the heat onto 'low'
- pour 1 heaped tablespoon of batter into each of the metal rings, place the lid onto the frying pan and bake the pancakes for 15 minutes
- after 15 minutes, turn the pancakes, place the lid back onto the pan and bake for another 15 minutes
- serve topped with icing sugar, lemon juice, fresh fruit, maple syrup...anything you fancy