Growing up Pancake Tuesday was a pretty significant day on the calendar, despite the fact that it marked the beginning of lent and that meant giving up sweets and putting any money you had in the Trócaire box. It also signalled that winter might be coming to an end (well it wasn’t as dark when you left school) and even better St. Patrick’s Day was around the corner. That meant a green ice cream and then not long after Easter beckoned, full of creme eggs and the promise of roast lamb. I knew there was good eating ahead…
Firstly though there were pancakes to be had. Time to stuff your face with stacks of flat round friends sprinkled with sugar, lemon and butter drizzling around your hands. I adore this distinctly Irish way of eating them and I’ve got the easy, old school pancake recipe here . I’m so tempted to have them for dinner but my sweet tooth has been replaced by an Asian tooth (if that’s a thing?) and it’s Chinese New Year so these Chinese Courgette Pancakes ticked all the boxes. They are simple, as a pancake should be, and I serve them with my version of Ching-He Huang’s dipping sauce. They also make a great breakfast and they happen to be dairy-free. Go on, take a whisk…
1 bunch spring onions, green bits removed, sliced finely
4 medium eggs
80g buckwheat flour (or any flour you have)
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Dipping sauce 2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese vinegar or mirin
½ red chilli, deseeded & finely sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled & finely sliced
1 tsp parsley leaves and stems, finely chopped
Turn your oven on to warming (100c) and put a plate in.
Wash your courgette and slice up using a mandolin if you have one, if not use a box grater.
Into a large bowl, crack your eggs and whisk together with a fork. Add in the flour, Chinese five spice and sesame oil. Mix this all together well and leave for 15 mins. Meanwhile mix together your dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Your batter will seem too dry for a pancake batter but the water from the courgette should start to seep out and make it looser. Give it a mix and see. If it’s still not loose enough for pancake batter after 15 mins or so, you can add a little water to loosen it. Make sure to mix well.
Get a non-stick pan on medium to high heat. Have oil ready for frying and some kitchen roll handy. This and having an oven on warming in the best way to make lots of pancakes.
Using a big spoon or small ladel scoop out a spoon of your batter and get it into the pan, making it into a circular shape. It will cook really fast, less than a minute each side. When the edges look cooked, turn with a fish slice or flip if you are brave. Cook on the other side and then remove from the pan and pop into the warming oven. Keep the kitchen roll close by to wipe the pan out between cakes (off the heat!) to avoid too burning the oil and tainting your pancakes. You will have a stack ready to go in no time.
Serve them piled high with dipping sauce and a little Sriracha.
One of the most hotly anticipated restaurants in Dublin (by me anyway) finally opens it’s doors today. Bastible is on Leonard’s Corner, the edge of picturesque Portobello which is fast becoming the food spot in the city. Why so excited by it? Well the chef proprietor is Barry Fitzgerald who Dubliner’s will know as the opening chef at the brilliant Etto on Merrion Row. In addition to adoring his food at Etto, I’m enthralled by his impressive London CV which includes three of my favourites – Arbutus, St. John and The Harwood Arms. All Michelin starred but also all restaurants that concentrate on serving real food – always using seasonal and sometimes inexpensive ingredients but above all creating interesting dishes that you want to eat.
From a sneak peek at their soft launch last week Barry looks set to continue this ethos. A short, simple menu let the ingredients and cooking shine. Here are a few of the dishes…
The restaurant itself has a neighbourhood, laid back feel, thoughtfully designed with lots of space for the open kitchen – as it should be! As well as the short al a carte menu, there will be a bar menu with sharing options. Coffee comes from Cloud Picker (so happy to see restaurants start to serve local coffee!) and Sunday’s will see a proper lunch served every week – no brunch bandwagon here I’m glad to say.
When these green, creamy fruits first appeared in supermarkets in the UK in 1960s legend goes that one woman stewed them and served them with custard. Fast forward forty years later and avocados are an everyday staple for lots of us – crammed onto our lunch boxes, on our instagram feeds and ubiquitous on every hip menu.
We are simply captivated with this great, green contradiction – the fattiest fruit in the world but oh so good for us! But as we start to run out of quirky brunch ideas and twists on guacamole what’s next for the avocado?
Avocado Ice Cream Really tasty ice cream made from avocado? It’s here – Nobó is the world’s first ice cream alternative made from avocado, coconut milk, and sweetened with pure honey. It’s also handmade in Ireland in small batches by two very cool food geeks. Flavours on sale all over Irelandinclude Chocolate & Toasted Almond, Fresh Lemon and Vanilla & Coconut or check them out at People’s Park market in Dun Laoghaire for more experimental flavours, they’re avo-control.
Want to know more? Listen to them chat about this incredible Irish product on Monocle Radio (from 35 minutes)
Avocado Mayo Ah two of my favourite fatty foods come together to make something relatively healthy? Yep it’s happening in the form of Avèyo the avocado mayonnaise. No soybean oil or eggs and it actually tastes like a good mayo. Unveiled recently in the US at the Fancy Food Showit’s made from 5 ingredients and is 82% avocado. Compared to mayonnaise, Avèyo has: 1/5 the fat (2 vs. 10 grams) and 1/3 the calories (25 vs. 90 cal.). Looking forward to this new squeeze…
Avocado drinks Haven’t you heard? Bananas are sooo yesterday. These days it’s all about the avocado, adding substance, creaminess and an undeniable hip factor to your drinks & smoothies. Not only that but they can also add nearly 20 vitamins and nutrients to aid in the nutrient-density of your smoothie. Check this super collection of avocado smoothie recipes or Dubliners can pop in the Ranelagh’s Green Beards to try their wholesome Green Goddess smoothie. Or try this incredible Pina Colada Smoothie from the uber stylish Hemsley & Hemsleysisters new book The Art of Eating Well. Loads of avocado recipes in there. Still not convinced? Here’s why swapping out for an avocado can make such a difference. Hass to be done…
Avocado cake! Yes the knobbly green fruit can even make cakes taste better. They can replace fruit, vegetables, animal products and dairy in various baked goods perfect for any vegans or even just health conscious – you’ll be increasing nutritional value adding the nutrient packed goodness of an avocado to your dessert. I love the texture it adds to baked goods and even better the pretty green hue it can add to your cakes. Try this bright green cheesecake again from avocado loving Hemsley & Hemsleysisters. Also for any chocolate lovers out there this cake from Not Quite Nigella tastes incredible. So now you can av-your-cado and eat it.