Swedish Pancake Cake (and the joy of getting older)

Swedish Pancake Cake

I just had a birthday.

Another year gone where I have taken breath, a breath that has been held while diving into the oceans, a breath that can hasten while riding up steep hills on a bike. A breath that can sing songs with my kids for no other reason than it feels good to sing with them. That same breath that has been granted to me, just got to blow out a candle that signified another year passed, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

I don’t begrudge the late thirties grey hairs, I don’t shower hate on the lined page on which I write my age. I love that I am here. I could easily not be.

With my accrued numbers, I’ve played, learnt wonderful new things, talked deep into the night, eaten dishes that have delighted the taste buds, sobbed entire afternoons away, drunk deep weekend coffees in my favourite cup, had three kids that have pushed me to dizzy limits I didn’t know existed, while they’ve also exploded my heart with delirious happiness and exquisite divine love.

All of these, along with 68790 daily other things have helped create the evolving lucky layered person I am today.

Luck yes. I do feel lucky to be here as so many people who wanted to be, simply aren’t. To be able to age it’s a wonderful and curious thing. So how does it feel to be in my late 30’s?

Well at this age, choices can be contemplated and ideas are challenged, (and I love that.)

At this age I’ve got a fair idea of what I like, and what I don’t like, (which makes things a hell of a lot easier.)

At this age, I know what my body needs and what it doesn’t, (I just have to make sure that I listen.)

At this age, it feels far more confident than 28 ever did, (and hooray to that I say!)

Now I know at whatever number my age may sit, there will always be an endless supply of curiosities to discover, of thoughts to think, and of a diverse array of people to learn from. And with the time that I’m granted? Well I intend to go seek out as many of them as possible, until that simple act of getting older, well it just isn’t an option any longer.

swedish pancake cake 1 || cityhippyfarmgirl

A Swedish Pancake Cake seemed like a sensible idea to celebrate another year gone by. 

This was the first time I had made one, and I’m quietly hooked. Layered, pancakes, berries, no sugar and a second slice yes please.

Swedish Pancake Cake

What you’ll need:

your favourite pancake/crepe recipe (keep them fairly thin and then build them up)

mascarpone and cream whipped together with some vanilla and honey to sweeten

mixed berries

and some extra honey drizzled over the top

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a boy and some biscuits

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Mostly the small boy doesn’t like a camera pointed at him.

Mostly he runs in the opposite direction to the apparatus that is making him stay still for a full 30 seconds. He might miss out on something. Something important.

Mostly.

Then some days he just pops up. Just like that. A wriggle under the table and tahdahhh! 

What are you doing mama?…and what’s THIS?

 Oh, and I want to be in your picture.

The longing. The hunger. The puppy dog eyes.

Disappearing only once a biscuit was firmly in hand.

Back to what ever mischief was interrupted before.

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These truly were just slapped together, but as four out of five of our family members really enjoyed them I thought I would put them up. As they are super healthy and easy.

No butter, no eggs, no processed sugar, no nuts.

Honey Chia Biscuits

2 cups of whole rolled oats

4 tablespoons of chia

4 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

4 tablespoons of water

5 dessert spoons of honey*

Add water and chia together, (a gel type mass should appear pretty quickly- this helps it bind it together.) Add the rest of the ingredients with an extra 2 or so tablespoons of water and mix well. Put aside for ten or so minutes, letting the water soak in. Squish them into balls and squash them done flat on to a tray.

180C for about 20 minutes and then I turned the oven off, leaving them in.

Eat with enthusiasm and regularity.

*(swap to maple syrup if you want to vegan it up.)

Purple Carrot Cake

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Purple isn’t a colour that holds a strong part in my life. It seems to come up in flicks and flecks and then disappears again.

When I think of purple I think of the purple cabbage dish my mum used to make as a child…oh how I used to shudder knowing that was going on to my plate. Any offers of her to make it again as an adult have been politely refused as really…you can’t fight history.

Purple, and I think of the beautifully scented lavander that sits outside my front door. A heady large bush that seems to have a constant stream of buzzing bees dancing on it’s purple flowered heads. Brush past it with your hand just after rain shower and you are rewarded with a heady scented smell that clings to finger tips.

I once had an oversized costume jewellery ring with a purple stone centred in the middle. An old flatmate had given it to me on my birthday. It wasn’t a considered birthday present, it was more the fact that I appeared in the room at the same time as he unveiled the ring. We used to joke that he had got it off someones dying finger….given that he used to keep a large axe in his room, and periods of ridiculously erratic behaviour… probably not a joke I would find quite so funny now.

Purple was on my leg recently. A peach sized bruise that I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how it got there. For two weeks I was reminded of the fact that I didn’t remember how something so big and sore had got there in the first place. (What is it about bruises that make you prod it routinely to make sure it still hurts?)

Purple is also the colour of an old brooch that has sat in a small wooden of mine box for a very long time. I’ve never actually worn it, so it still sits in little drawer surrounded by a purple ribbon, ready and waiting for that one day.

So what does purple have to do with my carrot cake? Well clearly I’ve used purple carrots. Those carrots with the deepest darkest of colour. Carrots that stain your fingers when you peel them, and carrots that scream out to be made into a cake. Not just any cake though. I had played with my carrot cake recipe before, using the purple carrots and all I got was dark coloured flecks through out. Where was the purple? (Like in this sourdough.) I needed to somehow let the carrot cough up its colour without becoming a stodgy lump by cooking it too much. I also didn’t want to put any vegetable oil, or sugar in there. Raising your eyebrows a little? Nope, stick with me.

Local honey and sultanas for sweetness. Pecans and wholemeal spelt for flavour. Carrots for well, purple. And voila, purple carrot cakeMaybe purple is going to hold a bigger part in my life now after all.

Purple Carrot Cake

400g grated local purple carrots

100g melted butter

150g local honey

3 beaten free range eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

50g roughly chopped pesticide free pecans

50g natural sultanas

150g wholemeal spelt flour

150g s/r flour

Grate carrots and melt just the butter just a little with them either in a pot or microwave. Just enough to melt the butter- which also releases the purple colour. Mix through remainder of the ingredients, leaving the flours until last, then folding them through too.

Bake at 180C for approximately 45 minutes, in a greased and lined tin.

sprouted buckwheat…not really hippy food at all

sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat

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Sprouted buckwheat. It’s my new best friend at the moment, and I’m having a quiet love affair with it in, well pretty much everything.

Since last December I’ve been playing with it in various incarnations and there is yet be a combination that I haven’t liked. I’ve put it in bread, alive granola, a base for tarts, raw energy ball snacks, porridge, pancakes and smoothies. Plus a few experiments with pizza bases, cakes and biscuits. Really, I think the possibilities for these little stars would be endless.

So what’s so good about it and why would you bother sprouting it?

– It’s gluten free.

– It’s super easy to sprout, (given reasonably warm conditions, it can sprout within 24 hours.)

– It’s considered a super food and has a low glycemic index.

– Sprouted it is full of live enzymes and nutrients.

– High in iron and protein, and acts like a grain but isn’t a grain.

– Great for balancing blood sugar levels and has been linked with stabilising cholesterol.

–  It’s also incredibly versatile when it comes to making and baking.

sprouted

How to sprout buckwheat

You’ll need a glass jar, some muslin and a rubber band or alternatively one of these fancy pancy sprouting jars, and raw buckwheat (not roasted).

Rinse your buckwheat.

Leave it to soak in tepid water for about 2 hours, (twice the amount of water to buckwheat.) Buckwheat will swell.

Rinse again, getting rid of any of the slimyness that might have built up (starch). Drain, turning it upside down. Keep rinsing and draining every 6 hours until little tails appear. (In warmer weather this can take as little as 24 hours.) Make sure it’s well drained as you don’t want it to go mouldy. Wait until their tails are the same length as the groat.

essene bread with avocado

And that’s it. Depending on what you are you using it for. You can halt the sprouting process by popping it in to the freezer, or dehydrating if you aren’t quite ready to use it there and then. I don’t have a dehydrater but have used the second shelf of my oven while cooking something at a slow temperature with the same effect (see top picture.)

An incredibly versatile food that is rich in nutrients and other health benefits. Easily accessible, (check in your local health food store) giving a little nutty texture to any food you decide to pop it into. So not hippy food at all, just a simple food item that really, I can’t get enough of at the moment.

Now get sprouting people.

Alive Granola

200g sprouted dehydrated buckwheat

150g dates

100g coconut

100g linseed

100g sunflower seeds

50g sesame seeds

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Pulse everything in a mixer and eat instead of a boxed cereal.

new discoveries


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choc agave balls

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New discoveries…

New legs to walk on, and walk she does. At ten months and four days she said, whoooshka! Lets go, lets get busy…and hasn’t looked back.

New magnifying glasses for the boys, show little critters can become big critters at the right angle. There are a lot of new little things to discover.

Holiday time and park mornings are spent exploring. It can be hard work and they need lots of healthy energy giving snacks.

I’ve posted these balls before (here) but have changed around the ingredients a little. My new discovery of the deliciousness of dark agave nectar, was a lovely surprise. I would use it sparingly due to the food miles on it, but it is a wonderful alternative to sugar or honey.

These ingredients are just a rough guide, use whatever you have on hand and like to add to the mix.

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Chocolate Agave Energy Balls

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup linseed meal
1/2 cup sunflower kernals
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup honey (use extra agave if you want to make it completely vegan)
2 tbls of unhulled tahini
1 tsp vanilla
sesame seeds/ or extra coconut
Mix all ingredients together, add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to bind ingredients together and roll into balls. Roll again in sesame seeds or coconut.
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This post is going to We Should Cocoa @ Chocolate Log Blog– for a sugar free chocolate combo this month.

autumn

a changed beat

different air

cool nights and sunny days

autumn is here

along with school holidays

long walks in the park

the crackle of brown leaves under foot

perfect to build up and then run through

changing colours, changing light

changing rhythms

long days and aimless running

 need lots of snacks

healthy ones

Tahini Balls

1 cup whole oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup unhulled tahini

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup hazelnut meal

1 tsp vanilla

sesame seeds

Mix it all together, add a couple of tablespoons of water just to bind it. Roll into balls with dampened hands,  then roll in raw sesame seeds. Keep in the fridge.


gluten and sugar free crumble

I didn’t feel like sugar and I didn’t feel like flour… but I did feel like dessert. The rhubarb was fast becoming friends with the flacid celery in the fridge and I still had some squirrelled away blueberries in the freezer. A crumbley thing it was. Lots of similar variations of this had been popping up around the blogosphere. It’s funny how a food dish can sneak it’s way in, and suddenly everyone is happily eating a variation of the same thing. 

So did rhubarb without sugar work?

It probably didn’t work as well as it could have. However, the honey was a decent trade off and completely passable if you were going easy on the sugar and didn’t want any gluten though. The Monkeys had two serves of this, so it certainly passed their palate test. Mr Chocolate got through it and declared yes it was good… but the last one was better, (with sugar and flour.)

Blueberry Rhubarb Crumble

(gluten/ sugar free)

Bunch of chopped rhubarb and a punnet of frozen blueberries

in the microwave for 3 minutes

while that’s cooking

blitz 1 cup of toasted almonds/hazelnuts/linseed in food processor (chunks not crumbs)

add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cinnamon

then 3 tablespoons honey

mix it round and pop on the top of the fruit

into the oven at 180C until golden