12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 2: Orange Zest Pancakes

You know that box of pancake mix you reach for at the grocery store? The one you sometimes pick up for a rainy day, much like packaged Betty Crocker brownie mix?

image via | grababuggy.com

image via | grababuggy.com

Don’t do it. Because it’s so easy to make a batch from scratch. If you’ve got flour, some sugar, eggs and a little butter, you can make pancakes at home.

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Once you have the basic pancake recipe down, you can make whip up a batch anytime. And top them with whatever you like. You could go Nigella style, and add some bacon and maple syrup, for that irresistible sweet+salty kick.

Or you could take the popular muffin & cookie flavour combination of lemon and poppy seeds and whisk it into your pancake batter à la Melissa Clark. (I love every little flavour twist she has up her apron!)

And of course, you could add ricotta, because, why not?

You could also opt for eggless, gluten-free, dairy-free, (and ultimately taste-free!) buckwheat banana pancakes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good. I made these and they were rather…well, for lack of a more subtle word, bleh. Maybe it was the quality of the soy milk I used? Either way, there was an overpower of soy milkiness and baking soda, and I had to slather my very short stack with peanut butter and cinnamon honey to get through. However, a quick internet search will reveal that many people luuurve GP’s vegan pancakes, so perhaps it’s just me.

Anyway, this is a pancake recipe for those who dare to consume AP flour and melted butter. Think of it as a holiday indulgence, and you won’t feel all that guilty about eating some. Like 1-2-3 cookies and buckwheat muffins, I followed Michael Ruhlman’s ratio for pancakes, from his book Ratio. If you have the ratio stuck to your fridge, you can make however many pancakes you want…whenever you want.

The Pancake Ratio: 2 PARTS LIQUID : 1 PART EGG : 1/2 PART BUTTER : 2 PARTS FLOUR

In my case, I took 1/2 cup as the unit. I added 2 parts or 1 cup of liquid (milk+orange juice,)  1 part or 1/2 cup eggs (works out to 2 medium eggs) half a portion of butter (1/4 cup butter,) and 2 parts or 1 cup of flour, along with a teaspoon of baking powder.  My ‘extras’ were castor sugar for sweetness, vanilla, orange zest and a pinch of nutmeg. In the end, I got a pretty, speckled, gorgeous-smelling batter.

 

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ORANGE ZEST PANCAKES (Adapted from Ratio

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4  cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract OR seeds scraped from a quarter of a vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder

METHOD

  • Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder) in a large bowl/jug and set aside.
  • In a another bowl, lightly whisk together the milk, orange juice, eggs, melted and cooled butter, orange zest, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a light hand till no lumps remain. These measurements will give you thick pancakes, but if you like your pancakes thinner, add some more milk.
  • Pour spoonfuls of batter onto a lightly greased griddle or pan, and cook over medium heat till done.

June Bookshelf + Food Updates

Well I have been easing back a little since my birthday post. The monsoon has arrived. And I am enjoying it by being incredibly cliched: sitting by the window, drinking chamomile tea and reading.

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But the weather calls for it. Since there is no 6 feet of snow followed by a white Christmas with eggnog to speak of in Bombay, we must wring the monsoon for all it’s worth and do as much as we can with the change in weather. That’s all you get in the tropics: hot, hotter and rain. Oh yeah, and lots of bananas year-round.

About those books.

It took me a while to get through Black Milk, since I was reading other stuff between. But it is a very interesting read. Not really a self-help book or life coaching guide- but a lot of insight on womanhood, motherhood and the choices women make, particularly as writers. The nice part is how Elif Shafak weaves in biographical anecdotes about famous women writers- like Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, and Ayn Rand, to name a few- as well as the women behind some literary greats, like Sophia Tosltoy and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Ratio is a gem of a book recommended by a family friend and foodie- and I am so, so glad I picked it up! It really takes you behind the fundamentals of cooking: how to combine ingredients the right way, scientifically, to get the desired result. I’m still on the baking chapters and I can’t wait to try some the techniques out!

Chef’s Story I chanced upon at my nearest Crossword bookstore and it was priced at such a steal that I HAD to buy it. Quick profiles of some of the greatest and most-loved chefs in the world (read Lidia Bastianich, Anthony Bourdain, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, Marcus Samuelsson…I could go on!) and what inspires them to do what they do. Really inspiring stories.

And Lean In I have just begun- and though I had misconceptions about the book initially, I have to say I was wrong. It’s quite inspiring, and it will make you look at some aspects of your life and nod in agreement. I have been nodding for a little over 2 chapters now, so there is still more to go.

So that is my June Bookshelf! But I have to give you some kitchen updates as well, because if I didn’t it would just be wrong.  Here is something I made recently, after I saw it on Thanh’s blog. Of course, she makes it look as gorgeous as it tastes! Anjum Anand’s cadamom-scented chicken curry.

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I also visited this artisan bakery called The Baker’s Dozen in Worli. Oh, such beautiful bread! I tried their olive focaccia and challah and enjoyed both. They also have the cutest descriptions for each variety of bread, complete with a little  picture of the flag of it’s country of origin.
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And while I was in Worli, I did a cliched monsoon thing and clicked a picture of Worli Sea Face on a cloudy monsoon day.

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How have you been spending the monsoon? And for my friends who are in places where there is no monsoon, how have you been enjoying the weather?