Savoury Buckwheat Pancakes with a Spicy Chipotle Stew


 
You might be wondering why I haven’t updated my blog in a while – or not, in which case, prepare yourself for a bit of an odd post. It’s been a tumultuous couple of months to say the least and I’d be lying if I said things are getting back to normal. They aren’t. As some of you might already be aware my Father has been suffering from terminal brain cancer for the last two years and just under a month ago he sadly lost his battle with that most cruel of diseases, and our lives have been irrevocably changed forever. A month. I can hardly believe it – it feels like I was hanging out with him in our conservatory in Derry but yesterday, watching ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ and generally making fun of the terrible job the so-called featured ‘property developers’ had made of the renovations. Compelling morning viewing, that we both thoroughly enjoyed. My Dad was always great company. Likeable and kind with the biggest of hearts – being around him made you feel good about yourself. So much so, I’m reminded of that well known Maya Angelou quote … ‘People will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel’- or in my Dad’s case ‘People will never forget what he did or how he made them feel’, such was his unshakable positivity and generosity of spirit. Always armed with a brilliant sense of humour (the king of the one-liner!), he could make you see sense when you thought the world was falling down around you (I err on the side of dramatic at times) – and not forgetting the belief he instilled in me that I could conquer whatever I put my mind to. Even before his illness, his ability to put things into perspective was second to none.

 

So, here I am, without the very person I need to ‘put things into perspective’ and feeling like the world is a much worse place to be in – not quite sure what kind of positive spin he would put on this scenario but no doubt he’d have some comforting words on offer. Of course, I’m fully aware this is just another stage in this process they call ‘grief’ but in all honesty that doesn’t make things any easier. My ability to snap back into my life, work routine etc. has officially ground to a halt – and, as over-the-top as it may seem, I’ve even cancelled a trip to Sweden for a friend’s wedding because I’m simply not up to it. This post then is me dipping my toe back into normality and a weak attempt to metaphorically give myself a shake … the last thing my Dad would want is for me to mope about even though that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since I got back to Cornwall. Grief is anything but logical. You can try and sweep it under the carpet but sooner or later it will find you, so I’m not going to deny it’s existence this time and allow myself the space I need to deal with this situation.

 

Okay, so it might seem strange to somehow shoe-horn in a recipe here but I don’t know how else to plough on. Despite my current fragile state, I’ve been finding some solace in the kitchen. Distraction is the name of the game. Although I’m kinda staying in my comfort zone too … no wild experiments at the moment, I’m seeking familiarity instead, which is why I combined two of my foodie loves; pancakes and Mexican food. I should probably come clean at this point and let you know that I have a love/hate relationship with buckwheat – I only like it in certain, very particular, cirumstances. If you’re in possession of my second book The New Vegan you’ll know I have one or two recipes in there that do utilize it … I recommend my ‘Buckwheat Muffins’ for a good intro to this funny naturally gluten-free ingredient. Try as I might though, I cannot get on board with buckwheat pancakes unless they are near enough wafer thin … not so much a crepe but almost akin to a traditional ‘Shrove Tuesday’ style pancake. I have many, many fond memories flipping these lace-like beauties with my Dad (he made a mean pancake), which we always paired with sugar and lemon – simple is almost always best. These pancakes are a savoury, nutty twist on a classic then that goes perfectly with the robust smoky chipotle stew. Similar to a fajita filling, this a dish definitely inspired by my Dad’s penchant for all things spicy – in fact, I’ve cranked up the jalapeno chilli factor in his honour. I hope you like it too.

 

what you’ll need

for the pancakes

70g buckwheat oats

several sprigs of thyme

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

juice 1/2 lemon

salt & pepper

 

for the stew

1/2 yellow onion

1 celery stick

1 sweet red pepper

3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp red jalapenos

1 heaped tsp chipotle paste

100ml coconut milk

1/2 cup black-eyed beans

salt & pepper

olive oil

 

to serve

chopped parsley

sliced avocado

tahini sauce

 

what you’ll do

place the buckwheat oats, thyme leaves, bicarb and seasoning into a blender. blitz until it forms a fine flour. transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon and 150ml water. whisk until the batter is a similar consistency to single (soya, ahem) cream. set aside until you need it.

 

meanwhile, slice the onion, celery and red pepper. heat a little olive oil in a shallow skillet and add the veg. season and fry until it begins to soften.

 

mince the garlic and jalapenos together and add to pan. stir to combine and gently fry until the aromas begin to exude.

 

add the chipotle paste and coconut milk, season and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 mins. add the beans and simmer for a further 5 mins until the sauce thickens. cover and set aside until you whip up the pancakes.

 

brush a crepe pan with a little olive oil. over a medium heat ladle in a third of the mixture and spread immediately to the edges using a spatula. cook until the edges come away easily before flipping over for a further 30 secs. transfer to a dish and cover with a clean tea towel. repeat until all the batter is used.

 

there are a few ways you could serve this … either fold, crepe suzette-style and top with the stew or place the pancake in a large dish, fill and roll, or fold. For the tahini sauce simply whisk a heaped teaspoon of tahini together with the juice of 1/2 lemon, a dash of maple syrup and cider vinegar, salt & pepper to taste and a tablespoon or so of water to thin it out. Serve with sliced avocado, a generous drizzle of the tahini sauce and a final smattering of chopped parsley.

 

 

9 responses to “Savoury Buckwheat Pancakes with a Spicy Chipotle Stew”

  1. catofstripes says:

    I’m glad it’s not just me who doesn’t get on with buckwheat. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard admit it.

    Many condolences on the loss of your Dad.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss, your love for him shines through.
    I am a recent Vegan and have found your you tube videos and cookbooks my biggest support,me specially items such as what is in my fridge/cupboard/what I ate in a day wtc.
    Many thanks.

  3. Joceline says:

    Hi Aine, I haven’t read your blog for a while and was so sad to check in just now and hear your news about your dad. It’s a big deal so be kind to yourself and remember there is no right or wrong way to feel. It’s hard and there are so many complicated feelings around bereavement and loss. I don’t have any magic answers but want you to know that I’m thinking of you as I’m sure are many others. Do what feels right for you and take care.

    The recipe sounds great by the way – I will be sure to give it a try.

  4. Huge sympathy to you from me. We lost my FiL (lost is such a weird word, it sounds as though we were careless, which we weren’t) to stomach cancer in March and, you’re right, grief is a peculiar thing which twists and turns and bites you just when you think it’s calmed a little. Cooking and feeding people has helped me no end – even though the memories of meals shared can hurt, they also, oddly, heal. This one looks pretty perfect to me. x

  5. Stumbled on your blog through one green planet. Your food ideas look delicious. And you are right about grief. It’s a weird thing. My dad died at 75 in 2010 from a long battle with cancer. I took care of him in his home so he could die there instead of the hospital. I don’t know that I’ve ever “dealt” with any of it. I just slogged through. One foot in front of the other. Day in, day out. I had 4 really bad years that I can barely recall, but things have improved. I may never “deal” with dad’s death but I’m living again. And when I’m really enjoying something I’ll often say “Dad would have loved this…” In a way he’s still with me. Always in my heart. Feel what you feel, when you feel it. Don’t worry about whether it’s “normal” or appropriate. It is what it is. ❤️

  6. Carol says:

    Sending loving hugs to you. Having lost both my parents, Dad 14 years ago and Mum this January I can truly understand how you feel. It can be hard to participate in life, because it feels like yours has stopped. Grief is a rollercoaster ride of emotions that turns you inside out, so be kind to yourself, embrace your family and friends and do what helps you cope each day. Thinking of you and your family xxx

  7. Ken says:

    Aine, My sympathy to you and your family from me. I’ve been there with both parents and know the funk that you’re in. But you have such wonderful memories of your Da that will be with you forever.
    The wifey just gave me your “Keep it Vegan” cookbook for my b-day and she is busy preparing our first meal from it (tacos).
    I recently returned from one of my musical forets to Eire where it is somewhat of a challenge to eat vegan. That said, I did find restaurants there more accommodating than some of the restaurants in the states. However, In Ennis (where I spent all my time)I did find a vegan restaurant (Pekish) and several other establishments that had some vegan options. The above buckwheat pancake recipe looks great since I have a very low tolerance to gluten.
    QUESTION: I have been told that agave nectar can have the same detrimental health effects as HFCS; increase in cholesterol levels; both being plant based sweeteners similar in nature. Any insight into that?
    Thanks so much and keep up the great work!
    Slan agus beannacht, Ken

  8. Alison says:

    I am so so sorry to hear about your loss; I can’t even imagine how that must feel but your bravery is inspiring. Take each day at a time and remembering your dads positivity and character must be comforting in some ways.

    A xx

  9. Ann Van Gampelaere says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Last week I bought your book ‘the new vegan’ . It’s sooo good. I love the recipes, But I also love your writing. you’re not only a good cook, you are also an excellent writer. Your father must have been so proud of you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *