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Oatmeal pancakes immediately conjures up the idea of something thick and heavy that does not sound like it might be remotely appealing on a breakfast table. This could not be further from the truth when you end up grinding your own oat flour for these super light, almost fluffy pancakes from Smitten Kitchen. It is also true that most people are too lazy to come up with a decent breakfast spread, though it is repeatedly claimed to be the single most important meal of the day. I tend to agree that early morning may not exactly be the best time to spend in the kitchen unless you happen to run a boulangerie or likewise. Pancake batter, however, has the advantage of being prepared in advance and stored in the fridge until ready for use, making it convenient for early and late risers to enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast.

OATMEAL PANCAKES

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (90 grams) oat flour

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt

1/2 cup cooked quick-cooking oatmeal

1 cup lukewarm water + 1 pinch salt

3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (295 ml) whole milk

1 tablespoon (20 grams) molasses

2 large eggs, room temperature

Method:

  • To make oat flour, pulse rolled oats into a food processor or spice grinder until finely ground.

  • Whisk dry ingredients (oat flour, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) together in a large bowl.

  • In a small bowl, whisk butter, milk, cooked oatmeal, honey and eggs together until combined.

  • Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ones. Using a light hand is important for tender pancakes.

  • Although best if it’s used immediately, the batter can even be kept overnight in the refrigerator.

  • The batter should be slightly thick with a holey surface. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle.

  • Heat over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Lower to medium-low.

  • Working quickly, dollop 1/4-cup mounds of batter onto pan, shaping 2 or 3 pancakes at a time.

  • Once bubbles have begun to form, flip pancake over and cook till bottom is dark golden-brown.

  • Serve hot, straight from the skillet or keep them warm in a low oven. Makes about 18 pancakes.

Oatmeal Pancakes

Envi ene bon ti salade melanz? While the average Mauritian is not a huge fruit eater, he/she will hardly ever say no to a freshly prepared fruit salad topped with tamarind sauce and disel pima/ chili salt. A colourful meli-melo of tropical fruits including mangoes and pineapple, our traditional fruit salad is not a homemade entity but derives its popularity from the road side sellers who usually extend their fares to markets and beaches on Sundays and holidays.

It will not be an uncommon sight if you come across one today on our crowded public beaches, which are always so on the eve and the day of a public holiday. And as we are celebrating our Independence Day today, there is, I’m sure, no better occasion to do a post on something we can proudly call as our ‘national’ salad. As the official celebrations unfold this afternoon in Champ de Mars in the attendance of eminent personalities, many will undoubtedly gather in more informal surroundings with the same feeling of being fier d’etre mauricien/ proud to be a Mauritian.

MAURITIAN FRUIT SALAD

Ingredients:

2 semi ripe mangoes

1 medium pineapple

1 small cucumber

10 jamalacs/ love apples

1 carambole/ star fruit

2-3 dried red chilies

1 teaspoon kitchen salt

3 tablespoons tamarind

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Method:

  • Peel mangoes, pineapple and cucumber. Cut each fruit into bite size pieces or chop into thick slices.

  • Cut the jamalacs into halves and slice the carambole thinly. Place all chopped fruit in a large bowl.

  • Crush the dried chilies and salt together in a grinder or in a mortar until it turns into a fine powder.

  • Remove any seeds from the tamarind and soak the pulp in 2 tablespoons warm water for 5 minutes.

  • Combine the tamarind pulp with 1 tablespoon of chili powder. Add more water and grind together.

  • It should form a sauce of slow dripping consistency. Toss this dressing over the bowl of fruit salad.

  • Mix till well combined and leave to stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving.

  • Top with extra tamarind and serve in plastic cups along with extra salt and chili powder. Serves 4.

Mauritian Fruit Salad

Happy Women’s Day, my dear bloggers!

Today we celebrate the achievements of women all over the world and from all walks of life – from the dedicated homemaker to the independent career woman – who deserve to be honored for their significant contribution in shaping our present and future. As a spouse, daughter, sister, mother, co-worker or friend, a woman has an influential role in society, which is still unfortunately not acknowledged by many. While issues of gender bias and abuse persist at large, we still hesitate to take steps to raise awareness and empower women to recognize and stand up for their rights.

This year’s campaign theme, Be Bold for Change, aims at bringing the contribution of male and female to equal value and closing the gender gap but is it an impossible dream? We are always under constant pressure to comply with the norms society imposes on us that we fail to express our true selves. I deem myself lucky to have escaped this coercion, having always been free to speak my mind and do what I feel right. Today, I choose to be bold and take some time out for myself. To recover from my horrible period cramps and post viral symptoms and to bake a simple chocolate cake from Nigella Lawson, one of my baking inspirations and a remarkably gifted woman.

CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL CAKE

Ingredients:

50g cocoa powder, sifted

125 ml boiling water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

150g ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch kitchen salt

150 ml regular olive oil

200g white caster sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/325ºF. Grease a 23 cm/9-inch spring form cake tin with a little oil.

  • Line the base of the tin with baking parchment. Measure and sift the cocoa powder in a bowl.

  • Whisk the boiling water into the cocoa till you have a smooth and chocolatey but runny paste.

  • Whisk in vanilla extract, set aside to cool. Combine ground almonds with baking soda and salt.

  • Put sugar, olive oil and eggs in a mixer with paddle attachment, beat vigorously for 3 minutes.

  • You should have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream. Turn the speed down a little.

  • Pour in cocoa mixture. When all is scraped in, slowly tip in the ground almonds and scrape it.

  • Stir it a little with a spatula. Pour batter into the prepared tin. Bake cake for 40 to 45 minutes.

  • Bake until the sides are set and the centre on top still looks slightly damp. Cool for 10 minutes.

  • Serve the chocolate cake cut into thin slices with vanilla ice cream, like a pudding. Serves 8-10.

Nigella’s Olive Oil Chocolate Cake

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