Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I recently went back to Perth for a few days for the boyfriend’s birthday. It was a big one, and I just had to be there with him. He wanted a quiet one, which was rather nice. He decided there needed to be pancakes in the morning, chicken schnitzel for dinner (my secret specialty!) and cheesecake for dessert. With a trip to the movies to see Alice in Wonderland, Pringles for lunch, and a cute birthday card with a puppy on it, of course.
My efforts were completely outdone by his parents though, who scheduled a surprise wine tour of the Swan Valley for the two of us. Surprise, because we had no idea what the day would consist of, even until we arrived at our destination. Swan Valley is only about 15km from the city center, but you feel like you’re a world away, out in the country! First there was a cruise of the Swan River, complete with a wine and cheese tasting (all before 11am). We left the group at Guildford, a gorgeous historic town, and got on a bright pink bus, which took us to Ambrook Wines, where we did another tasting. Their Moscato was the highlight for me, absolutely sublime.
From there, another smaller bus took us to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, where we sampled their dark, milk and white chocolates and picked up a few goodies and presents. We were then taken to a winery restaurant for lunch, whose name I unfortunately can’t remember. The tasting plate was delicious – smoked salmon, chorizo, char-grilled asparagus, frittata, amazing cheeses, dukkah, beetroot relish and more. Most of the vegetables were grown on the property, and the dukkah, bread, fritatta and relish was made in the kitchen, and many of the other items were local to the Swan Valley also. I was very proud of Steve for trying both asparagus and beetroot!
We were then picked up by a wagon with horses called Toffee and Bonnie, and given a tour of the area, which included a stop at an Aboriginal art gallery, an ice creamery and tastings at two more wineries before we headed home, exhausted and unbelievably full.
But let’s get back to the pancakes. The recipe came from Delicious magazine a few months ago, gracing the cover of the November issue, and can also be found in Valli Little’s book ‘Quick Smart Cook’. The photo looked absolutely beautiful, and I knew the boy would love the bananas and caramel. The recipe itself was more complicated than my usual go-to pancake recipe, which can be made without cursing even before you’ve had a cup of coffee. The eggs are separated, with the whites beaten separately and folded in, which produced the lightest, fluffiest pancakes, but a fair bit of washing up.
I left out the crème fraiche, and I forgot the shredded coconut, but they were delicious nonetheless. The best bit is the caramel sauce, which we were drizzling on almost everything all week, and makes this a very indulgent breakfast. I think in the future I’ll stick with my normal buttermilk pancakes, because they’re easier to make and tastier in my opinion, but the banana and caramel combination was an absolute winner. It was a really nice few days away that I so needed after the craziness that was February. Perth was lovely as usual, and I hope the boy had a great birthday!!
Coconut Pancakes with Banana and Caramel
Adapted from Delicious
• 4 eggs, separated
• 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
• 1 cup (150ml) plain flour, sifted
• 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
• 3 ripe bananas
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Unsalted butter, to grease
• Crème fraiche, and shredded coconut to serve, optional
• 50g unsalted butter
• ½ cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons golden syrup
• 150ml thickened cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir all sauce ingredients in a pan over low heat, to dissolve, then simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Set aside.
Place yolks, coconut milk and a pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk until combined. Gently fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. Mash 1 banana and fold in to combine, with the vanilla extract. In another bowl, whisk eggwhites to stiff peaks, then fold into the batter.
Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-low heat. Melt ½ teaspoon of butter in the pan. Add batter to the pan (I used a ½ cup measure to ensure pancakes were all even in size) and cook for 2-3 minutes each side, until golden and cooked. Keep warm while cooking the remaining batter.
Slice remaining bananas, arranging in a stack on a serving plate, alternating banana slices and crème fraiche (if using). Drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with coconut.