So I learnt to cook.
Not to the Masterchef skill level but enough to hopefully impress the ladies. I can remember a few horribly lame attempts in the early days — meat and two veg is never going to cut it. And then I discovered pancakes.
Now we are not talking about the sickly sweet variety that begins life as powder in plastic bottles on supermarket shelves.
These are proper pancakes with whole meal flour, eggs, a dash of milk and a layer of lightly stewed apples with just a little too much cinnamon. Topped with real maple syrup this works a treat, as my beautiful wife will attest.
After more than a decade of happy togetherness I am still grateful to the whole meal pancake.
Then a problem emerged when a year ago we made a family decision to give up eating wheat. Well almost because I challenge anyone to give up pasta made at home by an Italian.
Once in a blue moon a home-made pizza also makes it onto the dinner table but bread has gone the way of pastries and other commercial grain products. We pass on any processed foods with flour.
It is remarkable what a difference that decision has made to our health and, dare I say, wellbeing. And that is a big call from a crusty bread and jam addict.
It is also remarkable how restrictive it is being truly wheat free when out and about. I have often stared at the display cabinet in a café and failed to find anything that I could order.
But I digress. Back to pancakes.
Was it too much to also give away that small but significant token of affection? Of course it was for it is not the cooking that matters at all. It is all about the action of providing food from a loving place.
So I needed an alternative to the whole-wheat delights and found it in a fruit.
Yes, banana pancakes. They are truly worthy and although the recipe is modest there is enough technique to demonstrate that you really do care.
- 4 bananas [green tinged skin are ideal as you need firm flesh]
- 2 eggs
- 2 generous tablespoons of almond meal
- half a teaspoon of baking powder
- coconut oil
- maple syrup
Here is what you do
Add everything to a big bowl and blend with a stick mixer until you can get a lava like consistency to the mixture. There is no risk of over doing it.
While this is going on put the heat under the biggest and baddest non-stick fry pan you own. Not too much heat though. The trick to the banana pancake is long and slow for they are usually thick, more a pikelet than a pancake, and too much heat produces burnt mush.
The other secret weapon is coconut oil. You can use the spray can version but the solid stuff that comes in a jar is best
Let about half a teaspoon melt in the pan and spread it with a spatula.
Now add the pancake mixture one tablespoon at a time with space between the blobs.
They are ready to turn when a shake of the pan sees at least one of them moving.
Flip with said spatula for any attempt to impress with fry pan dexterity will end badly.
Serve on a big platter topped with berries of your choice — blueberries for the sweeter tooth and raspberries for those who prefer the tart taste.
Have plenty of real maple syrup to hand and present with two spoons. Eat directly from the platter remembering that although you are the bloke, under no circumstances eat more than half the pancakes.
This is such a winner that it may even be better than the original cinnamon-apple version.
Minions will love it too.