Saturday, July 21, 2012

Banana & Blueberry Pancakes

Today Brise & I celebrated having been together for 7 years (boy, that's gone fast!), so while he slept in, Master W & I made breakfast.

Pancakes are the perfect breakfast for a lazy Saturday morning, especially if you can sit in a sunny spot to devour them. And this fruity variety has so much flavour, you don't need to add loads of maple syrup to enjoy them.

Banana & Blueberry Pancakes (makes 8)

3 bananas, mashed
1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup frozen blueberries

1. Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add banana.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients and whisk till smooth. Gently stir in blueberries.

3. Spray a non-stick frying pan with a bit of cooking oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, spread a cup-full of mixture in the pan.

4. When bubbles start to form on the surface, flip the pancake and cook for another minute before removing from pan.

5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until all mixture is used. Serve hot with some vanilla or mixed berry yoghurt.

6. For something different for the little'ns, try making their pancakes in their favourite shapes.  Simply grease some metal cookie cutters before placing in the greased frying pan, then fill with a thin layer of mixture.  Keep the cookie cutters around the pancakes while you flip them to be sure they keep their shape. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baked Risotto with Chicken, Mushroom & Pumpkin

It might not quite be to masterchef standards, but for something so easy, it's pretty delish!

Baked risottos are another of my favourite hands-free dinners. I got the idea from one of my many Donna Hay recipe books and I'm so glad I did! I just adapt the recipes to what I feel like and what's in the pantry.

It's been a while since I'd made a baked risotto, but I made this one last week and, for the first time in ages, Master W actually ate all of his dinner! I'd forgotten how much he liked it.

Baked Risotto with Chicken, Mushroom & Pumpkin

3 slices shortcut bacon, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced or minced
1 large chicken breast, diced into 2cm cubes
2 leeks, halved length-ways and finely sliced

200g butternut pumpkin, diced
6 button mushrooms, finely sliced
2 cups arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Heat a splash of olive oil in a stovetop to oven casserole dish. Fry the bacon until browned. Remove from heat.

3. Place all remaining ingredients in the dish, other than the parmesan. Stir briefly to combine. Cover tightly and place in the oven.

4. Cook for approximately 40 minutes, but it may take a bit longer, as the shape of the dish will affect the cooking time. There should still be some liquid but the rice should be tender (but not mushy).

5. Stir the risotto for 5 minutes or until creamy. Add the parmesan and stir gently through. Season to taste.


I find that I need something refreshing with this, so I serve it with a salad in summer or steamed greens in winter.

I ran out of arborio rice last time I made it, so I used half sushi rice and it worked fine.

If you don't have a casserole dish that can go on the stovetop, fry the bacon in a frying pan and add 1/4 cup of the stock to the hot pan before adding to the risotto.  That way you won't miss out on that extra flavour stuck to the bottom of the pan.