Charcoal Pancakes Recipe with Blueberry Compote, Lemon Curd and Cornflowers

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Sunny Sundays make the best days for pancakes and even more the better when you have freshly made blueberry compote and lemon curd to dress them with. With my craving for pancakes and the notion that Pancake Day is crepe-ing (sorry!) up on us, I remembered I had promised to share this recipe…then I remembered I made a whole podcast episode about pancakes!

For a full breakdown of the food history of pancakes and pancake food art go to Smy Goodness Podcast Ep5 - Pancakes and Creativity with Aimee Furnival of Another Studio. There is art from Rembrandt, Hieronymus Francken the Younger, a 1585 recipe for pancakes from The Good Huswifes Jewell and a breakdown of the evolution of the Mammy iconography behind Aunt Jemima. Click link above to see all the images or listen while you make your own pancakes here:

Why add charcoal you might ask…well the charcoal is because I like the texture and benefits of occasionally adding edible activated charcoal to mostly cakes, canapes cases and biscuits. Charcoal can act as a detoxifier, is good for kidney health, gastrointestinal health, has been used as a water filterer for always and I add it to my daily facial cleanser that I make along with bentonite clay, which I also occasionally add to recipes. I am not a doctor or nutritionist so you should do your own research to see if it is something you are interested in ingesting or using, sharing with your family and friends and if you are taking medicines you should always check with your doctor first.

Now for the recipe! The recipe works just fine with or without the charcoal and I like the contrast of the pancakes made with and without adding charcoal to the batter. My pancake recipe is one I have been using for a very long time that is kind of a hybrid of Delia Smith’s pancake recipe and Linda McCartney’s pancake recipe with the offshoot being almost in between a crepe and an American style pancake. It’s not as eggy as a crepe and it’s not as fluffy or thick as an American style pancake. It’s got texture, density and a buttery goodwill to soak up whatever fruit, preserves, syrup or savoury items that you might ever want to top it with.

Charcoal Pancakes
100g plain flour or 1 cup plain flour
150ml almond or any milk or 2/3 cup of almond or any milk
1 egg
30-50g butter (15-25g for batter, 15-25g for cooking) 0r 2-4 Tbsp of butter
1 tsp activated charcoal
pinch of salt

makes 4-5 12 cm (5inch) pancakes
simply double or treble the batch as needed

Charcoal pancake batter, dried cornflowers, lemon curd and blueberry compote -  Smy Goodness

Charcoal pancake batter, dried cornflowers, lemon curd and blueberry compote - Smy Goodness

  1. Sift or dry whisk your flour plus the activated charcoal and pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.

  2. Melt half your butter in the same skillet or pan you will make the pancakes in being sure to not overcook it, you want it just melted then remove from heat.

  3. Measure your milk in a glass measuring jug and then add egg and melted butter and whisk well. You can also do his step in a bowl and then transfer back to a measuring jug which will make pouring your batter into the pan easier, avoid spillage and you get a lovely pattern of browning on your pancakes this way. Or use a soup ladle from the bowl to pan.

  4. If possible you can then let your batter rest for an hour or so but this step is not essential.

  5. Preheat your cast iron griddle or pan to medium to medium high heat. As you continue t cook your pancakes you may need to slightly adjust the heat a little up and a little down to get your pancakes just how you like them.

  6. Put a bit of butter in the pan and let sizzle and melt, then quickly pour enough batter so that it spreads nicely and is manageable to turn over. I usually go for 10-15cm circles of batter. The sides will start to bubble and brown and the batter will start to change in colour a bit as it cooks underneath starting from the outer edges going in towards the middle. I usually wait until the batter has visible cooked underneath and the edges are lightly browned and then flip or turn. If you turn to quickly or not soon enough it’s no bother. I always make the first pancake a bit smaller and eat it as a taster to make sure I haven’t: a) made any silly measuring mistakes b) the first pancake is always a sacrificial pancake that isn’t is good as the rest and gives me an opportunity to fine tune the heat levels in the pan. c) acts as fuel for me for the time frame between when I cook up the rest of the batter and serve them all up!

  7. You can keep your pancakes warm as you cook through a myriad of ways - I feel like I have tried them all but am always open to suggestions! I either keep the oven on a low or ‘warming’ setting and as you make them place them on a plate in the oven with a bit of aluminium foil over your pancakes which will keep them warm. When ready serve them all together keeping in mind to protect your table and little hands from the warm plate. I have also tried a sort of bain marie type technique with a plate over a pan of water on a low heat and place your cooked pancakes on the plate with a bit of aluminium foil over the top. I think this does keep them nice and warm but it can sometimes end up continuing the cooking process. OR cook and serve them right away or with a big ole griddle or pan you can have several on the go at once in a symphony of pancakes and pancakes sizzling and turning.

I love fruit and Smy preserves on pancakes. My favourites are bananas and honey and most notably my Smy Goodness lemon curd and blueberry compote. Both are available in small batches and I usually make a few jars a month or special orders as they have a shorter shelf life than all my flavours. You can easily make your own blueberry compote by throwing a punnet of blueberries in a pan before you start your pancakes and add the juice of half a lemon or orange, some zest, some honey - heck, I even sometimes add a dash of brandy in there. Let it cook, stirring occasionally and don’t let it burn but allow it to go all glisten-y and rich while you are cooking your pancakes. When your breakfast has come together you can always hit it with a final bit of heat before putting it in a little jug or serving bowl for you and your guests to put warm spoonfuls over their warm pancakes. How do you like your pancakes?

For more info all about pancakes listen to Smy Goodness Podcast Ep5 - Pancakes & Creativity with Aimee Furnival of Another Studio. Aimee and I are long time pancake collaborators.

my Goodness pancake brunch - photo by  @elcidre

my Goodness pancake brunch - photo by @elcidre

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Pancake Print by  Smy Goodness

Pancake Print by Smy Goodness

White Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe Revisited

The one recipe I have been asked for countless times is for White Chocolate Bread Pudding - WCBP. This is another New Orleans classic recipe and one that I picked up from my time living in the French Quarter (shout out Royal Cafe Krewe!). I love all manner of bread and butter puddings and this makes a delicious end to a Sunday roast dinner. You can make sweet, little fancy individual portions, portions for a few or big ol' trays of it to serve at parties. It is also ridiculously easy to make, inexpensive and most importantly, people love it! People love it so much that a friend of mine famously ate what has grown over time to six portions of it in one evening. He has requested this recipe so that he can make this with his wonderful daughters which makes me immeasurably happy - so I'm re-posting this for them. Scroll down a bit for my recipe and pics.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding recipe
Before we start - it's important to note that depending on the amount of bread used you may need to add a bit more milk and/or double cream at step 8 or if you are using bread from a larger loaf, a whole loaf or a bigger dish you can add an additional egg as well as chocolate, cream and milk. This is a great recipe to make your own and experiment with.

Ingredients


3/4 loaf of stale white bread or a whole baguette
250g good quality white chocolate - roughly 150g for the pudding, 100g for the sauce
250 ml whole milk
150 ml double cream - roughly 50ml for the pudding and 100ml for the sauce
50g caster sugar
two eggs
Butter
Strawberries in summer or sharp winter berries for garnish

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Instructions

  1. Slice your bread in 2-3 cm slices. For this recipe I used a rectangular shallow dish, roughly 30cm x 20cm but any dish will do and depending on the size and shape of your bread slices you may want to test that your slices will fit your dish before the next step, cutting them into triangles or wedge them into place until you are happy that your bread and dish will work together and that the pudding will have at least two layers.
  2. Butter both sides of the bread. Use margarine if you must but I believe in butter.
  3. Arrange the slices in the dish trying not to leave any gaps.
  4. Scatter white chocolate in between each layer, one or two handfuls depending on personal preference, more if you want a more chocolate-y pudding or less for a pudding that is less sweet.
  5. Repeat until you have at least two layers.
  6. Top with a scattering of white chocolate.
  7. Add the milk, double cream, caster sugar and eggs into a jug and whisk. This pudding is quite sweet and stodgy so if you don't like sweet puddings you can halve the sugar or even leave it out, I have tried this and it still works and there is also the sauce to go on top which will add sweetness.
  8. Pour the mixture all over the bread, making sure that the mixture hits corners and crusts. The mixture will fully saturate the bread and you want the mixture to come up at least halfway up the dish. Remember the note from above that depending on the bread you used you may need a bit more liquid or you may have a bit more than necessary. If you are a bit short on liquid just add a bit more over the top.
  9. Now put to side or refrigerate if you are not going to cook straight away, I always try to make it early, leave it covered in the fridge for a bit and let the liquid soak up.
  10. Cook for 30 minutes at 200˚C or until browned, ideally you want it to be nice and stodgy with some crispier sections on top.
  11. Just before the pudding is done, take another 100 ml of double cream and melt the remaining half of the chocolate on the hob or in a microwave if you are pushed for time. Stir well or whisk until the tow are combined without overcooking or burning. IT will be the consistency of a runny custard.
  12. REMEMBER - If you are doing a massive WCBP just up the liquids, add another egg and use more chocolate.
  13. Place portions of the WCBP in bowls and pour a nice amount of the hot mixture on top of the WCBP. I think the pudding is BEST when served with strawberries and I used some defrosted ones here as it's winter but winter berries work just as well to cut through the sweetness.
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Enjoy! This is a total crowdpleaser!!!

Pasta Jambalaya

 
 
Auntie Chrissie's green beans

Auntie Chrissie's green beans

Auntie Chrissie's courgette

Auntie Chrissie's courgette

A dish that I picked up in New Orleans that was on the menu at the now no longer Royal Cafe at 700 Royal St. I waitressed there and it holds some of my favourite memories attached to some of my favourite people to come in to my life. I used to ask Chef Johnnie to make me this vegetarian dish and it is one that has stayed with me. All the flavour of New Orleans in a slightly healthier recipe. This one combines two of my places I consider home as I used green beans and courgettes that I had picked from my Auntie Chrissie's garden in Orford, Suffolk and brought back to London. It has the cayenne and paprika to give it that characteristically new orleans flavour and is full of vegetable goodness. I love this recipe with any variation of vegetables of with prawns or crawfish.

Recipe

100g green beans - topped, tailed and cut into 3 cm long sections
1 small red pepper - sliced and chopped
1 courgette - sliced into half-moons
50g sun-dried tomatoes - chopped finely
100g artichoke hearts - roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste
150g linguine + salt for water

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1.  Whilst preparing your veg adn ingredients begin to salt and boil the water for the pasta and cook for the correct time as noted.
2.  Add oil to a pan with heat set to low.
3.  Heat the sliced garlic for one-minute and be sure not to burn the garlic them remove the garlic slices from the oil and pan.

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4.  Add the green beans and red peppers to the oil.

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5.  Add the courgettes and sun-dried tomato to the pan.

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6.  Add the artichoke, cayenne and paprika to the pan and stir well. If you do not like spicy food then you should reduce the cayenne and paprika from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. If you prefer spicy dishes you can increase the amount of cayenne and paprika to 1 tablespoon each of cayenne and paprika.

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7.  Add the thyme and cream to the pan and stir well.
8. Drain and add the pasta to the pan, stir well, garnish with oil and parmesan if so desired and enjoy!

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December prints

 

A little pattern I made using photographs of quince cordial, quince jelly and colouring in the remaining ghost shadows left over when I was making lots of beads.

Above is a pattern I made using some slices of polymer clay cane that I made inspired by the colours of Audacity software which I have been spending a lot of time on lately.

 

Christmas Crafts and Cake Decorating at Comet Children's Centre

 
Homemade soaps

Homemade soaps

Christmas Cake made with homemade mincemeat

Christmas Cake made with homemade mincemeat

Sausage rolls

Sausage rolls

Gingerbread shapes

Gingerbread shapes

 

Thank you to all the families, staff and children at Comet Children's Centre - especially Gareth, Sarah Jane and Clara. We made our own mincemeat, mince pies, mince muffins, Christmas cakes, soaps, gingerbread shapes, carrot cake muffins, chocolate muffins, lots of icings and more.

Minestrone Soup at the Church of Cheese - Whitecross St Market

 

I'm collaborating with the Church of Cheese at Whitecross St Market by popping up there for the next few months. With the cold winter I will be serving hearty homemade soups to go along with the panini and cheese toasties. The minestrone featured carrot, kale, courgette, potato, celery, onion, canellini beans, pasta and topped with our parmegiano cheese. Next week will be split pea, vegetables and speck. Let me know what soups you want to see next!

 

Cheese Toasties!!!

 

The meats and cheeses of the Church of Cheese and the preserves of Smy Goodness are being folded together and pressed until golden brown in the form of heavenly cheese toasties. They are perfect on a chilly day because, well - hot cheese. Just a few of the cheese toastie flavours of the day include:

  • Salame Napoli mature cheddar cheese and apple and pepper chutney
  • Speck, gorgonzola and quince chutney
  • Schiaciatta piccante, pecorino w/chilies and six-pepper jelly
  • Portabello mushrooms, brie and red onion marmalade

 

 

Rainy Day at Whitecross St Market

 

I'm quite pleased with this little video I made whilst bored at the market. It seemed appropriate that the Twin Peaks soundtrack kept shuffling into play. This was one of those days when it is pointless to avoid the inevitable thorough soaking headed ones way from either packing up and/or getting home. In my case on this day, it was both.

 

Quince/Apple & Polenta/Pistachio Crumble w/ Quince Ice Cream & Membrillo Shavings

 

Here is a re-experimentation created in an effort to make a slightly lighter crumble as well as to use lots of my quince preserves, in this case quince jam and membrillo. I always make the ice cream beforehand or the day before for one less step to complete on the day. If you don't have a jar of Smy Goodness or another type of quince jam you could make vanilla ice cream or serve with a good quality vanilla ice cream or frozen yoghurt. I had also made the membrillo about a month prior to this pudding but you could also buy ready made membrillo or omit it all together

CRUMBLE RECIPE
Ingredients

1 quince
2-3 apples
100g polenta
100g plain flour
100g butter, room temperature
70g sugar
handful of pistachios - finely chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.

  2. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish, I use one that is 15cm x 20cm. For a larger dish you may want to double the recipe.

  3. Peel, core, quarter and roughly chop the quince. Place the quince in an ovenproof dish top with 1 Tbsp of the sugar and shake to distribute and then place in the oven for 20 minutes. This will give the quince a head start as it requires a longer cooking time than the apple.

  4. Prepare the crumble topping by sifting the flour on to the top of the polenta. Add the sugar and chopped pistachios to the flour and polenta and stir well to mix.

  5. Add the butter and rub with clean fingertips to incorporate the butter throughout the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly texture that when pinched together will adhere to itself in clumps.

  6. Peel, core, quarter and roughly chop the apples into chunks.

  7. Remove the quince from the oven and immediately increase the heat to 180°C, add the apple to the quince and stir to distribute well. Be sure to use an oven glove and give the pan a shake so that the fruit levels out within the dish.

  8. Spoon the crumble topping on to the fruit until it has completely covered the fruit. Gently pat the crumble topping for a more compact topping.

  9. Return the dish to the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes or until the topping has gone golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the crumble to rest before serving.

QUINCE ICE CREAM RECIPE
Ingredients

200g milk
200g double cream
4 egg yolks
1 jar of Smy Goodness quince jam
vanilla seeds from half a vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp of organic vanilla extract
small pinch of salt

Method

  1. Place the milk and vanilla seeds into a pan. Turn the heat to medium but do not allow the milk to boil. Once the edges of the milk start to bubble remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.

  2. In a bowl or jug blend together the quince jam and egg yolks and salt.

  3. Once combined slowly stir in the double cream and beat until well combined.

  4. Now add the cooled down milk to the mixture and stir until completely blended.

  5. Add the mixture to an ice cream maker and follow directions. I have used a Gaggia and a Magimix

ASSEMBLY
S
erve a portion of the crumble on a plate or bow alongside a scoop of the ice cream and top the ice cream with very thin slices of membrillo.

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Above left are jars of quince jelly and a quince cordial that I made. On the right is a pattern/print that I made from a photo of extracted quince pectin in a jug.

Quince, freesias and the crumble and ice cream.