Fluffy Vegan Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce

Hello and happy Saturday!

My second pandemic post.. Anyone else initially thought they would get a whole lot more done during self-isolation than they have so far? 😀 I pictured myself trying out more recipes, posting more, doing at-home workouts every day … but I quickly realized that what I felt like doing most when not working (from home) was just going with the flow, unwinding, reading (I’m loving reading more again!), journaling, talking to friends and family, and going for mindful walks.

And while I’ve been cooking as much as ever, I’ve also been relying a lot on meal prep so as not to require too much time for preparing food during the work week.

Part of me is definitely appreciating the slow, intentional, mindful pace of this unusual time, when there’s a lot less to coordinate, plan and decide. And I consciously resisted any self-imposed pressure to reach targets in my free-time that I didn’t feel like working towards. For me it feels as if, outside of work, I’m focusing on just being and becoming even more in tune with myself and what makes me feel good.

But now, let’s get to what really matters: These fluffy pancakes which are my favourite homemade pancakes so far! Taste-wise they’re similar to the cakey-ier ones I usually make, but they fluff up nicely while cooking and remind me a lot more of the pancakes I had as a child. This change in texture is due to: less banana, more baking powder and the addition of baking soda.

I find them sweet enough as they are but if you prefer you can add some sweetener (sugar, maple or rice syrup, for example).

Fluffy Vegan Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce

Serves: 2 (makes 6 medium pancakes + 1 taster 😉 )

Pancake Ingredients:

  • 140g flour, I used wholemeal spelt;
  • 10g ground flaxseeds;
  • 1 pinch salt;
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder;
  • 1/2 banana, mashed;
  • ca. 230 ml plant mylk, I used rice mylk;
  • 1 tsp baking soda (Natron in German);
  • drop of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice;
  • oil for cooking, I used cacao butter.

Optional extras: some ground vanilla bean and, if you have this, some ground tonka bean (only just discovered this as an addition to baked goods).

Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder (I used 1 tbsp cacao and 1/2 tbsp carob powder to experiment, which is why the sauce looks so dark);
  • 2 tbsp runny hazelnut butter (can be subbed for another runny nut butter);
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup;
  • ca. 1 1/2 tbsp plant mylk / until you reach the desired consistency.

Method:

  1. Add the baking soda to the mylk, along with a drop of apple cider vinegar and set aside while you mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder, ground vanilla and/or tonka bean, if using).
  2. Stir the mashed banana and mylk mixture into the dry ingredients, gently stirring until combined. The mixture should be slightly lumpy, i.e. not very runny. Leave the mixture to rest for ca. 10-15 minutes – you should see some bubbles on the surface when you return.
  3. Heat up some oil on high heat in a non-stick pan. When melted add the batter with a large spoon, roughly shaping into circles. Reduce to a medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown.
  4. While the pancakes are cooking you can prepare the chocolate sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients together.
  5. Serve your pancakes with the chocolate sauce and anything else you desire. As you can see we had ours with the rest of the banana, some fresh berries, an extra dash of maple syrup and a sprinkling of hemp seeds.

Enjoy!

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My First Plant-Based Christmas

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My last post was about my feelings in the run-up to Christmas and talked about what I would do to feel more included in the festive meals. Well, I implemented all the things I discussed and I can’t tell you how much of a difference it made!

These Deliciously Ella roasted maple sprouts with hazelnuts, chili and pomegranate seeds made a wonderful addition to our Christmas Eve dinner. It was such a simple yet satisfying dish to prepare, made the kitchen smell nice and brightened up our table. While my family had some along with their grilled octopus and french fries, I had mine with some hummus my dad bought for me. It was nice hearing appreciative comments and feeling like I’d contributed to what my mom said was the nicest Christmas Eve meal we’d ever had (the only difference to last year’s being the addition of my sprouts, I  naturally take some of the credit and fully agree 😉 ).

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For dessert my family had a chestnut mousse while I enjoyed some squishy medjool dates that I stuffed with dark chocolate and pecan nuts (so good!) and a mince pie.

Christmas brunch on the 25th was another great success. In previous years we always went to my grandfather’s for lunch, but this having been preponed to the week before, we decided to have a relaxed brunch instead. I made my Banana Almond Butter Pancakes, which were an unexpected hit with my sister. (I bribed her with some of my chocolate to try one, and, to my great joy, she ended up liking them and eating more). Along with those I had lots of lovely fresh fruit – papaya, persimmon, kiwi, pomegranate, berries – and one of the sweet saffron maize bread rolls I’d made the night before with coconut oil, almond butter and raspberry chia jam. I’m also glad I made some guacamole, as not only did it taste so good with the second half of my maize roll, but my mom ended up eating some too, along with her croissant, cheese and meat. And while my Dad and sister had Eggs Benedict, they ate them on the English muffins I made. So while we all essentially had different meals, the fact that we shared some components, along with the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, brought it all together.

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This year’s Christmas has truly made me realize the importance of sharing food on special occasions. Cooking for others is a way of showing love and appreciation and eating a delicious meal together can also be a wonderful shared experience. For this reason I’m so glad I made the changes I did, so that I was able to feel more a part of our Christmas meals despite eating a fully plant-based diet. It really showed me the difference between merely leaving a component away and actively adding something that enriches the occasion for all.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

xoxo

Eat Smart Brunch at Farmopolis

 

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Can brunching be a hobby? I feel like that’s all I’ve been doing lately on the weekends, but what can a healthy-food-obsessed girl do if there are so many pleasingly plant-based places and exciting events to go to? When I found out about Niomi Smart’s brunch at Farmopolis I jumped at the chance to eat some more of her delicious Eat Smart food (I already got to sample some at her Q&A at Wholefoods in September) and I’m so glad I got my hands on a ticket – it was a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable way to spend part of my Sunday.

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The event started off with refreshing mocktails: Pina Coolada, Cucumber & Melon Muddler (what I went for) and Virgin Mary. Next we were served artisan-style rye toast with different types of chia jams: Strawberry, Orange & Apricot and Plum & Ginger, which were all incredibly tasty. My favorite was the Plum & Ginger, which is on page 57 of Eat Smart. Next was what was, for me, the star of the show: the Swiss Bircher Muesli (page 49). Being (half) Swiss I have had my fair share of Birchermüesli over the years, yet none of them vegan and none of them as yummy as this one! I will definitely be making this, maybe as a lunch (I don’t think I can ever wean myself off of my breakfast smoothie bowls and, hey, why should I!) or afternoon snack. It’s made with almond milk, oats, apple, lemon juice, cinnamon – which gives it a wonderful warming note – raisins, flax- and sunflower seeds. If you have the book I definitely recommend you give it a try!

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The final course was the full English (pages 62-63), consisting of tofu scramble, grilled tomatoes, garlic mushrooms and baked beans. Now, I’m not such a fan of savory dishes for breakfast or brunch and I was semi-considering asking for another bircher instead, but as the whole point was to try several different recipes from the book I went for it and I have no regrets! The flavors all harmonized really well – especially the scramble with the tomatoes and the delicious (!) baked beans with the mushrooms. It was a nice way to end an amazing brunch that left me feeling satisfied, yet energized instead of overly full and sluggish.

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The event was all the nicer thanks to the lovely hostess, Niomi. She’s just as warm and friendly as she comes across in her videos and it was great seeing her in a more relaxed setting with less people than back at the Whole Foods Q&A. What I also love about these events is the people you meet, as more often than not you end up having a lot in common! It was so nice to be surrounded by people also into plant-based eating and a healthy lifestyle in general 🙂

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Tip: check out the Farmopolis website for more interesting events. It’s a café, bar, cinema and event space and is also London’s first floating garden, rehousing plants from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s a really nice space to be in and there is so much going on there – this Tuesday, November 29th, for example, there is an event called “Wildlife Drawing: Miniature Pigs”, a drawing class where the subjects are mini pigs!! How cute is that? It was already sold out when I checked though, so I unfortunately won’t be posting about mini pigs any time soon…

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