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This is Number 4 in the Breakfast Cereal Challenge series, and there are actually three different themes going on here, any one of which could work on its own. (So I think it should count for 4, 5, and 6 :))

Theme Number 1: Buckwheat Pancakes

Buckwheat isn’t actually a cereal, but seeds of a flowering plant from the smartweed family (which also includes weeds like dock and three cornered jack, along with rhubarb and sorrel).  It is supposed to be easy to grow in the garden in the right climate – but mine isn’t right.  It likes the long days of summer but can’t stand the heat waves we get here.  People further south, or on the Tablelands should have more success.

It’s nutritionally a superfood with good levels of a range of vitamins and minerals (magnesium, manganese, selenium, folate, choline), flavonoids to protect against inflamation and cell damage,  fibre, and (unusually for a vegetable food) complete protein.  Buckwheat flour is low GI making it a good breakfast food for staying clear headed through to lunch time.

This recipe also uses three eggs,  good for protein, B12 and choline which is important for brain function. ( And because buckwheat has no gluten, pancakes can have a tendency to fall apart unless you use a fair number of eggs.)

The Recipe:

Makes 8 pancakes

Beat together:

  • 1½ cups of raw buckwheat flour
  • ²/3 cup of milk
  • eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons treacle
  • squeeze of lemon juice

The lemon juice is important.  If you don’t have it, you can use buttermilk instead of milk, or, at a pinch, a little vinegar. ( The acid reacts with the baking powder – otherwise they can be too heavy).

Heat a little butter in a heavy pan and swirl it to coat the pan.  Ladle in some mix and tilt the pan to spread it.  Cook over a medium heat until the top is just set, flip, and cook for a minute longer.

They’re best eaten hot as they come out of the pan, with fruit and yoghurt.

Theme Number 2: Smiley Faces

Dead easy and fun.  You just put a drop of pancake mix for each eye and a swirl for a mouth, let them cook for a minute, and then ladle the rest of the mix over top, then cook as usual.  A teaspoon of sweetener (treacle or golden syrup or sugar) helps get nice brown eyes.

Theme Number 3:  Shaker Pancakes

In a cupboard in the caravan we stayed in at the beach a few weeks ago, someone had left a shaker pancake mix. I read the ingredients.  Yow. Beyond the innocuous sounding “emulsifier” and “gum”, and the deceptiveness of bold printing the good-sounding stuff like “soybean”, you get:

  • butylated hydroxyanisole (Antioxidant E320),
  • Sodium aluminium phosphate (Acidity Regulator, Emulsifier E541),
  • sodium stearoyl-2-laclylate (Emulsifier, Stabilizer E481)
  • tartrazine (Colouring E102)
  • sunset yellow FCF (Colouring E110)

I don’t really get shaker pancakes – at home I can’t go past an old fashioned egg beater as the perfect pancake making tool.  But if you are going to go for a shaker, and you don’t want to eat a whole heap of numbers designed to make the mix mix, then you need to put a “rattle” in the shaker.  And being at the beach, and in that kind of mood, I found some shells that had been pounded by the surf into smooth shapes sturdy enough to not chip.  Inside a wide mouth plastic drink bottle they made perfect shaker pancakes, with no numbers.

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