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Sugar-free goji berry pancakes

nu3, the European nutrition experts, have just launched in the UK. Their online store has a huge range of products, including products that are exclusive to them, all to help us lead healthier lives. You can also get advice from their team of health specialists.

The company started only 5 years ago in Germany and have very quickly grown. Now we can also enjoy their huge range of health products.

As part of their UK launch, nu3 challenged me to come up with a recipe using their goji berries. Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, grow in China and are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They’re considered a superfood by many because they’re high in nutrients and antioxidents.

nu3 not only sell the dried berries, but also goji juice, goji capsules and chocolate covered goji berries. You can eat the dried goji berries simply as they are or easily pop them into smoothies or muesli and also even scatter them over salad. I experimented with adding them to cooking and I came up with some yummy pancakes.

nu3My regular readers will know I’m a big fan of fluffy pancakes so I used self-raising flour to make these pancakes lovely and light. To complement the healthy goji berries I used mainly wholemeal self-raising flour, and sweetened them with honey and very ripe banana rather than sugar (the riper the banana the better as it will be sweeter).

I felt very healthy eating them and figured I was allowed an extra drizzle of golden syrup over the top because of all the healthy ingredients inside! And Nicholas loved them too.

SUGAR-FREE GOJI BERRY PANCAKES

Prep time: 5-10 mins (plus overnight soaking time for the goji berries)
Cook time: 10-15 mins
Makes about 10 pancakes
Freezable

50g goji berries, covered in water and soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour (I used 1 cup of wholemeal and 1/2 cup of white self-raising flour)
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
1 egg, beaten
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 cup milk
Small piece of butter, melted, to grease the pan

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a medium- sized bowl.

Add the honey, egg and mashed banana then gradually pour in the milk mixing until you have a fairly thick batter (you might not need to use all the milk).

Drain the goji berries and gently mix them through the batter.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and brush with melted butter. Use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of mixture into the pan. Cook in batches, turning when bubbles appear on the surface (1-2 mins). Cook the other side until golden brown (about 1 min). Lift out and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm.

Variations:

  • Use nutmeg or ginger instead of cinnamon
  • Add vanilla essence for more sweetness

Tip: Wipe your pan clean with a piece of paper towel after each batch and then brush with some more melted butter.

Pink (Beetroot) Pancakes

Like pretty much every other toddler, Nicholas is a creature of habit. For more than a year, his breakfast had to be puffed rice cereal with milk in a yellow bowl with a particular blue spoon, together with a banana milkshake he’d often help me make, even throwing in a small handful of spinach leaves himself. Oh, and the milkshake had to be in his robot mug with two straws (usually one green and one orange). If you’re nodding your head as you read this, rather than chuckling, then I’m sure you have your own creature of habit.

But the routines that little ones so need can suddenly change to another. Now breakfast must be pancakes with a mug of cold milk. I pushed a lot for him to still have his milkshake as I loved being able to get a serving of fruit and a serving of veg so easily into him first thing every day. In hindsight my pushing was never going to work! So that has made me experiment with adding different ingredients to the pancake batter. We’ve had green pancakes (spinach) and now pink pancakes. And I’m a happier mummy knowing he’s getting a little extra dose of ‘healthy’ every morning.

beet pancakes

PINK (BEETROOT) PANCAKES

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Makes about 12 medium pancakes

375ml (1 1/2 cups) full cream milk
2 tsp (10ml) lemon juice
35g (2 tbsp) sugar
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp allspice (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and a pinch of cloves)
1 large egg
30g (1 1/2 tbsp) butter, melted
1 medium-sized beetroot (about 150g), peeled and finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
Extra butter, for greasing pan

Mix the milk, lemon juice and sugar in a medium bowl, then set aside for five minutes. (It might develop a slightly curdled look during this time.)

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl. Mix through the allspice.

Break the egg into the milk mixture and add the melted butter and grated beetroot. Whisk until the egg has combined with the milk (donโ€™t worry it the butter just floats on the surface).

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk quickly until almost smooth (the batter should still have a few small lumps). Donโ€™t overmix the batter as this can make the pancakes tough. Leave the batter to rest while the pan is preheating (at least two minutes).

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Melt a little butter in the pan to lightly grease it.

Give your mixture a quick stir to get a more even pink colour. Use a spoon to pour heart shapes into the pan (start with a dollop at the top then let the batter fall into the heart’s point at the bottom; repeat for the other side). Cook only two or three at a time, otherwise turning the pancakes will be difficult.

Cook the first side until small bubbles appear and burst on the surface (about 1-2 minutes).

Turn over with a spatula and cook until the second side is lightly browned and the pancakes are cooked through (another 1-2 minutes).

Cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm while you finish making the others. Add a little more butter to grease the pan each time and keep checking the temperature of the pan as it will probably need to be reduced as the pan heats up with use.

Tips:

  • Little ones love pancakes in fun shapes. You can simply use a spoon to pour the batter into a shape as you cook the pancakes, or you can put the batter into a piping bag or squeeze bottle (the squeeze bottle won’t work for these pink pancakes as the grated beetroot will get stuck in the nozzle!). An even easier way is to make normal-shaped pancakes and use a cookie cutter after they’re cooked.
  • To avoid getting beetroot juice everywhere, use disposable gloves to keep your hands stain-free and place the grater in a bowl to catch as much as the beetroot as possible.

Rainbow pancakes – St Patrick’s Day

rainbow pancakes

Who said everything has to be green for St Paddy’s Day? We did some rainbow chasing over breakfast looking for the leprechaun’s pot of gold. It was a wonderfully colourful way to start the day!

I used my fluffiest pancakes recipe, dividing the mixture between 6 small bowls before adding food colouring gel to create red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple batter. I cooked them on a slightly lower heat to avoid too much browning and to keep the colours as bright as possible.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

The fluffiest pancakes

Today is pancake day (Shrove Tuesday). It marks the last day before Lent, which traditionally is a period of abstinence, and what better excuse for your family to start the day with something more indulgent than your usual cereal and toast?

Many people like their pancakes thin, similar to crepes. I’ll happily eat those but usually filled with a savoury filling. For me, sweet pancakes have to be thick and fluffy, stacked high and topped with fruit.

My lovely niece Emily made these for us for Christmas breakfast. It’s a fantastic recipe from Exclusively Food that doesn’t need an extra standing time, and produces pancakes that aren’t too sweet and are perfectly fluffy (even the first one you make).

I’ve made no changes to the original recipe – they’re absolute perfection! However, they do suggest using the back of a spoon to spread out the batter, just as you pour it into the pan, to form an 11cm diameter circle. You could do this if you prefer thinner pancakes; I just let the batter spread on its own to keep them thick (and they spread to the same diameter anyway).

The fluffiest pancakes

THE FLUFFIEST PANCAKES

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Makes about 12 medium pancakes

375ml (1 1/2 cups) full cream milk
2 tsp (10ml) lemon juice
35g (2 tbsp) sugar
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 large egg
30g (1 1/2 tbsp) butter, melted
Extra butter, for greasing pan

Mix the milk, lemon juice and sugar in a medium bowl, then set aside for five minutes. (It might develop a slightly curdled look during this time.)

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl.

Break the egg into the milk mixture and add the melted butter. Whisk until the egg has combined with the milk (don’t worry it the butter just floats on the surface).

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk quickly until almost smooth (the batter should still have a few small lumps). Don’t overmix the batter as this can make the pancakes tough. Leave the batter to rest while the pan is preheating (at least two minutes).

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Melt a little butter in the pan to lightly grease it.

For each pancake, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. Cook only two or three at a time, otherwise turning the pancakes will be difficult.

Cook the first side until small bubbles appear and burst on the surface (about 1-2 minutes).

Turn over with a spatula and cook until the second side is lightly browned and the pancakes are cooked through (another 1-2 minutes).

Cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm while you finish making the others. Add a little more butter to grease the pan each time and keep checking the temperature of the pan as it will probably need to be reduced as the pan heats up with use.

Sweet potato jack-o-lantern pancakes

Their faces are quite mean, but Nicholas loves growling at them!

These jack-o-lantern pancakes are full of sweet potato goodness with chocolate drop features, however you could use raisins to make the faces and then they’d be completely sugar-free. Head over to Mindful Mum to see how you can make them.

Blueberry pancakes (sugar-free)

Hubby and I are following the Dukan diet to lose the spare tyres that have appeared over the years helped by us loving food and really not liking exercise. So far it’s working well and hasn’t been too hard to follow (you have foods you can eat, and you can eat as much as you like of them, and foods you can’t eat). You also have to eat oatbran and it’s easier to eat this in the morning (it also keeps your tummy full until lunchtime). I make Dukan’s galettes which always smell divine because of the cinnamon and vanilla I put in, but they taste very similar to cardboard!

Nicholas sees us eating our galettes and, of course, wants some too. For the moment he doesn’t realise that his galettes are usually banana pikelets or apple pikelets. My stocks in the freezer of these were running low so I thought I’d try a new flavour – blueberry.

I’m calling these pancakes, probably mini pancakes are a better description, because I left the blueberries whole and therefore made them thicker to surround the berries. Whether you call them pancakes, mini pancakes, pikelets, drop scones or dropped scones, make them, they’re yummy!

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cook time: 10-15 mins
Makes about 10 mini pancakes
Freezable

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g blueberries
1 tbsp honey
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
Small piece of butter, melted, to grease the pan

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a medium- sized bowl.

Add the honey and egg then gradually pour in the milk mixing until you have a fairly thick batter (you might not need to use all the milk).

Gently mix in the blueberries.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and brush with melted butter. Use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of mixture into the pan. Cook in batches, turning when bubbles appear on the surface (1-2 mins). Cook the other side until golden brown (about 1 min). Lift out and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm.

Variations:

  • Use nutmeg or ginger instead of cinnamon
  • Add vanilla essence for more sweetness

Tip: Wipe your pan clean with a piece of paper towel after each batch and then brush with some more melted butter.

Sugar-free apple pikelets

I’ve now whipped up three batches of apple sauce (or applesauce as Americans seem to use). Like most things, the more times you do it the easier it gets and I now feel like I know what I’m doing!

I thought I’d try it out this time as a sweetener in my banana pikelet recipe, replacing the honey. I still have a few banana pikelets in the freezer so I made apple pikelets this time using grated apple. I also meant to add some sultanas to the batter, but my mind drifted onto other things and I forgot. Oh well, there’s always a next time!

Pikelets are small pancakes and are perfect for children to cook when they’re old enough to start doing supervised things in the kitchen. They’d also be a good way to get kids to experiment with different flavour combinations.

These pikelets, like my banana pikelets, aren’t super sweet. You could add some honey to the batter or serve them drizzled with honey or, if you’re not worried about them being sugar-free, add 1/4 cup of sugar to the batter. And don’t worry if you don’t have bicarbonate of soda, as they work just as well without.

Pop the leftovers in the freezer to have for breakfast or a snack another day.

SUGAR-FREE APPLE PIKELETS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes about 20
Freezable

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 sweet apple, grated
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
small piece of butter, melted, to grease the pan

Sift flour, bicarbonate and cinnamon into a medium-sized bowl. Add grated apple, apple sauce and egg, and mix to combine. Gradually add the milk until you get a fairly thick batter (you might not need to add all the milk).

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and brush with melted butter. Use a tablespoon to drop the mixture into the pan. Cook in batches, turning when bubbles appear on the surface (1-2 mins). Cook the other side until golden brown (about 1 min). Lift out and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm.

Variations:

  • add sultanas or raisins to the batter
  • use other fruit instead of the grated apple (mashed banana, whole blueberries, mashed strawberries, etc.)

Tip: Wipe your pan clean with a piece of paper towel after each batch and then brush with some more melted butter.