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Waking up early on Sunday to make crêpes or pancakes for breakfast is something of a ritual at my place. Crêpes are and still remain in my belief, delicate, lacy creations that one can gracefully flip over on a crepière until they are just golden and ready to be served with a spoonful of pineapple jam. The idea of savoury crêpes struck me as being absurd and I was never tempted to try one till I was pleasantly surprised by a salmon filled crêpe at the Pancake Festival held at Grain d’Sel restaurant years ago. In a feeble attempt to recreate this rich gastronomic experience, I managed a close replication of the flavours as I remember them using a basic crêpe recipe from Nigella and deliciously creamy seafood filling from Kraft Cheddar cheese. Not all crêpes have to be sweet, right?

SEAFOOD CREPES

Ingredients:

For the Crêpes

30g unsalted butter, melted

150g all purpose flour

375 ml full cream milk

1 egg, room temperature

For the Filling

3/4 cup cooking cream

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

100g smoked salmon, sliced

300g peeled shrimp, cooked

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons spring onions

Method:

  • For the crêpes, put the flour, milk and egg into a blender and whiz to amalgamate.

  • Pour the mixture into jug and stir in the melted butter. Heat a seasoned crêpe pan.

  • Ladle 1/4 cup batter into pan, then quickly hold it up and swirl it around carefully.

  • The batter should form a thin pancake covering base of the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

  • Flip crêpe over and cook for another 20-30 seconds on the other side, then remove.

  • Stack the crêpes between layers of baking paper on a hot plate until ready to serve.

  • For the filling, place cream in a small saucepan and heat gently over medium heat.

  • Stir in grated cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in lemon, pepper and spring onions.

  • Gently fold seafood through sauce. Place a spoonful of seafood sauce on each crêpe.

  • Fold in half, then in half again and serve immediately with extra cheese. Serves 5-6.

Seafood Crêpes

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

While you can make use of your good, old coffee machine to brew fresh granules for this sensational summer drink, I tried to adapt it for those who do not have or cannot be bothered with filtered coffee. For those purists who swear by the genuine stuff, go straight to the unaltered recipe on Epicurious.com. Those who are not so squeamish over instant coffee, grab your jar of regular Nescafe and start by making the coffee jelly which is the magic ingredient in this drink. I would suggest that you go for a stronger dose than you are used to as the freezing process will, to some extent, numb the intensity of the coffee flavour that comes through. Chill for a couple of hours, then stretch yourself under a beach umbrella and sip lazily through a bubble straw [ideally with a view on the beach] on a scorching summer day.

FROZEN ICED COFFEE + COFFEE JELLY

Ingredients:

For the Coffee Jelly

1 tablespoon agar agar

4 teaspoons instant coffee

2 tablespoons caster sugar

2 cups cold water

For the Whipped Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frozen Iced Coffee

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Dissolve agar agar in 3 tablespoons cool water in a small bowl. Let stand till bloomed, about 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile combine cold coffee and sugar in a large container. Gently stir agar agar mixture into coffee.

  • Do not stir too vigorously else air bubbles will appear. Chill the mixture until it is firm for about 2 hours.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or whisk, whip cream in a large bowl till soft peaks form.

  • Add sugar and vanilla and whip to medium peaks. Chill whipped cream while preparing the iced coffee.
  • For the iced coffee, blend coffee, cocoa, milk, syrup, vanilla, and 3 cups ice into a blender until smooth.

  • To assemble, cut coffee jelly into 3/4″ cubes and fill serving glasses with 1/2 cup cubed coffee jelly each.
  • Spoon 3 tablespoons of whipped cream over each and spread it around to create a solid layer of cream.

  • Divide frozen iced coffee (about 1 cup each) among glasses and carefully pour on top of the cream layer.
  • Top glasses with more whipped cream and serve immediately with bubble tea straws. Makes 4 servings.

Frozen Iced Coffee

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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