I’ve been cooking and since I was tall enough to reach the kitchen bench, which was when I was about 8yo and on our twice-yearly family holiday to Pacific Palms on the NSW north coast. Dad taught me my first recipe – 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk and 1 egg, we were making pancakes. Once I’d mastered this, every Sunday of those holidays, I was allowed to make pancakes for my parents and younger brother. In my dressing gown, I’d stand in the sun filled beach-shack kitchen with my plastic red mixing bowl and whisk, cooking, and it was the best! I’d lay the place settings with a paper towel napkins and arrange the condiments on the breakfast bar: butter, lemon and sugar, jam and maple syrup, and then invite everyone up to eat. I watched my mum cook everything from scratch my whole life, but it was this pancake moment, when my cooking began and never stopped, and my love of creating and sharing food with the people I love, started to grow.
I’m a huge advocate for getting kids in to the kitchen and involved with their food – shopping for it, preparing it and cooking it – to encourage an understanding of the importance of their provenance, encourage varied diets and acceptance of new foods, especially when it comes to fussy eaters. Otis, helps pick fruit and vegetables at the farmers market and unpacks our shopping trolley – often leaving pieces in random places around the house, with chunks bitten out of them (oh he does this at the supermarket sometimes too!). But actual cooking we’ve never really tackled, mostly because he has the attention span of, well a 2yo boy, oh and we live in a van with a teeny tiny kitchen.
This morning we were up before the sun and I’d decided yesterday that I wanted to make pancakes for breakfast (do you do that too, plan your next meal before you’ve even finished the last?). Otis was hovering around me in the kitchen so I got the step used to reach the top cupboards out for him to stand on – it’s not nearly high enough, but he can see clearly over the bench at least. He helped me crack the eggs, measure and count the spoonfuls of dry ingredients and pour in the milk. He was so happy, “yeah!” and “cookin!” he kept exclaiming with a little skip in his step. Oh it melted my heart I tell you, to see that excitement. It was our first foray cooking the kitchen together, made even sweeter when I realised we’d just made pancakes on a Sunday.
He asked to get the step out again while we were doing the washing up so he could help with the drying, sort of (helping, not helping as we call it) – so chuffed with himself he was. I think we might make a frittata tomorrow, just so I can see him do his little happy dance when we crack the eggs again.
The blueberry maple syrup is actually made with very little maple syrup to cut down on the sugar content – it uses orange juice as the main sweetener, with just a hint of maple. Blueberries, or “bobellies” as Oti calls them are a favourite for us but any type of frozen berries would work in their place. The pancakes are naturally sweet thanks to the banana and are perfect topped with a simple slather of cultured butter.
BANANA BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES
Serves: 4 – Prep time: 5 mins- Cook time: 10 mins
- 2x rips bananas
- 3x eggs (preferably organic)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Coconut oil, for frying
Blueberry maple syrup –
- 1 cup frozen blueberries (preferably organic)
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- Place all pancakes ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
- Add 1 tsp of coconut oil to your frying pan, over a medium heat
- To make 4 large pancakes, use ¼ of the mixture per pancake. To make small pancakes (like Oti’s), use 1 Tbsp of the mixture per pancakes
- Cook for a few minutes until lightly golden and bubbles begin to appear, then flip and cook for a further minute
- To make the blueberry sauce – place all ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat, bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes
- Pour sauce over your pancakes and serve as it, or with a dollop of yoghurt and some toasted seeds