After too many months of not enough sun, John and I decided it was time to travel to a warm locale where we could soak up some vitamin D and broaden our cultural horizons (what a cliche) by not just sitting on a beach in the Canary Islands like we did last year, but by taking my aunt & uncle’s advice and heading to Marrakech for a few days. I’d been interested in Morocco since college, when I took a French class on North African literature (or something to that effect). Plus, I really like tagine, dates, and Moroccan mint tea, and the fact that Marrakech was just a 3 hour plane ride from Gatwick was icing on the cake (the very same moist, delicious cake our Riad served us for breakfast every morning).
…(or maybe I should call it haphazard blogger’s block) is to stick to what you know.
And what I know is pancakes.
I found this recipe ages ago, but sort of dismissed it for a variety of reasons. Who has that many flours lying around? Who takes a recipe posted on blogspot in 2011 seriously? (Kidding!) Plus, I found the prose incredibly irritating. But, everyone is entitled to their own style, and clearly I was in the wrong here, because those pancakes turned out to be amazing.
I made a few tweaks based on laziness (not wanting to buy even MORE flours) and pure experimentation, and the resulting recipe is mainly a reminder to myself to stop looking for the perfect gluten-free pancakes, because these are it.
But before I get to the recipe, a few other life updates:
1. We finally edited Barcelona pictures, and they are available here. Enjoy!
2. The sun decided to shine this weekend. That was a nice surprise. I spent most of the day inside today, but did crush it on a run with John (8:12! for 3 miles of intervals) and enjoyed having the windows open.
3. I’m finally getting into the whole Oxford obsession with Alice in Wonderland, and we saw a play involving puppetry at the Pegasus Theatre on Saturday, called “Alice.” It was about the original girl, now an old woman hiding out in a bomb shelter during WWI. It was really well done. During the show, my mind wandered as it always does, but this time I thought about how this mathematician (Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll) invented stories to entertain a child, but those stories have such complex allegorical meaning and wisdom that really take Alice above a mere bedtime story. Although maybe the point of children’s stories is to encourage kids to think about the world around them in a more symbolic, less black-and-white way. I don’t know what the point of my meandering ramble is, other than to say that I really like stories and am fascinated by the many ways in which we interpret our world – who we are, what we do, why we do it, and how we relate to everything around us. Yes, all that from a 45-minute puppet show.
This-might-be-it Pancakes (the end to the endless search for the one recipe to rule them all)
2 cups sorghum flour (find it in an Indian grocer)
1/4 cup almond flour (I got some for super-cheap in Barcelona!)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup whole milk
1 cup club soda (sparkling mineral water or whatever the Brits call it here)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon sugar (I used xylitol)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add some butter and let it melt, then swirl it around.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add in the wet ingredients, except for the water. (Little trick: I added all the wet ingredients to a jar and shook it up, then poured it in). Fold batter together with a spoon, stirring until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the water, watching the batter fizz and bubble like magic. Stir again. The batter should be thick, but pourable, with few lumps. Test the skillet by flicking a few drops of water on it – when it sizzles, it’s good to go.
Lower heat to medium. Pour a scoop of pancake batter on to the heated skillet (about 1/3 cup’s worth). Repeat once or twice (I can fit 3 into one pan). When bubbles form around the edges, after about 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the pancakes. Cook for another 2 minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate and repeat until all of the batter has been transformed into delicious ‘cakes.
People who’ve requested pictures: this is not the post you’ve been waiting for. Well, probably not.
Since I was a wee 4th grader, I’ve had an obsession with interior design. I sketched (grossly out of scale) floor plans of my rooms and had annual “makeovers” to freshen up my personal space. Lately, I’ve been following the “Small Spaces” section of ApartmentTherapy.com for inspiration. Things are slowly shaping up, but I thought it’d be nice to show you the “before.” Before the mounting piles of cat hair and scratch marks cover our nice leather sofa; before the kitchen counters turn into a Tetris game; before my clothes find an actual home in a chest of drawers or wardrobe, rather than my gigantic purple suitcase.
There may never be an after, but there will be slightly-more-exciting “during” photos, as I head out for additional furnishings this week. Go-to places are Argos.co.uk, Dailyinfo (like Craigslist, but just for Oxford), and charity shops.