During my research for this month's Go Ahead Honey blog carnival, I perused many lists of magical superfoods, aphrodisacs, ayurvedic healing fruits and bitter tonic leaves of chinese medicine. I dreamt of a mystical smorgasbord, dripping with fig and pomegranate, sliced tomato and just plucked brazil nuts, a plate of sea scented oysters, asparagus and saffron hollandaise, of vanilla and rose syllabub eaten with the fingers.
What a wealth of magical food there is to be sampled!
Although my eyes were like saucers in the face of all this delicious potential, I knew in my heart that my beloveds would like nothing better than a plate of pancakes - light and fluffy, fresh from a buttery pan.
So I made some pancakes using the magical almond nut - long famed for it's healing properties.
It is believed in ayurveda that almond is warming - very important in this dark, damp time of year.
Almonds help to regulate blood sugar, by providing fibre and oils that slow the digestion - avoiding mid afternoon, or evening slumps that are sure to interfere with the joys of life.
Vitamin E in almonds assists in the production and regulation of sex hormones - good for fertility, for PMS sufferers, teenagers and lovers! It's also important for smooth skin, shiny hair and healthy nails.
Finally - almonds are a good source of phenylalanine, a chemical that is a precurser to dopamine, adrenalin and nor-adrenalin. This means that consuming almonds can help to enhance your mood, relaxation and alertness by ensuring a plentiful supply of feel good hormones. Cocoa beans are another good source of phenylalanine, which is why we all love chocolate so!
To reap the greatest benefit from your almonds, they should be soaked before eating, as this reduces the antinutrient - phytic acid (found in all nuts, seeds, grains and pulses), which can prevent you absorbing all these wonderful things from the almond. Roasting or cooking also reduces phytic acid - so making these pancakes ensures you get the maximum bang for your buck, as they are soaked overnight and then cooked to crispy, fluffy perfection.
I made a plate of these pancakes for breakfast this morning - a sort of pre-valentines warm up! The beauty of overnight pancakes, is that they are all ready to go as soon as you can heat a pan and throw in a knob of grease as the mixing is all done beforehand and the (yogurt) magic happens overnight.
We piled the table high with butter, yogurt, peanut butter, ripe bananas, maple syrup and liver pâté and set about creating our own delicious combinations according to taste and whim. My whim always leads me to the liver pâté, Fin to the banana and peanut butter and Nick to the soothing yogurt. Fin and I ate with our eyes and fingers, as slowly as our greedy bellies allowed. Nick used a fork - as he is nothing if not a gentleman.
About half way through this indulgent meal, we looked at each other's yogurt smeared fingers and faces and gave a united sigh of breakfast satisfaction. Nick cleared his throat and thanked me simply for taking the time to nourish our family, for the almond pancakes, home-made, raw-milk yogurt, and fresh chicken liver pâté. He thanked me for caring enough to do all the shopping, soaking, culturing, chopping, roasting, steaming and baking that make our meals nourishing and flavoursome.
And when he was finished, Finley turned it into a song - complete with chair dancing. The song segued into a stream of consciousness trail through a number of 1980's hits - each camper than the last.
When he was done, I asked Fin if he'd like to try a little liver pâté on his last pancake? I - as you may have gathered by now - am a liver devotee, and pâté is one of my favourite superfoods. Something I regard as pure medicine - of the most delicious kind!
Although Fin gobbles most food with relish - liver and spinach remain firmly off the menu. I've managed to find ways of adding spinach to curry and stews with no wincing from Fin, but not aroused a love of liver in his nine year old heart as yet.
This morning Fin surprised me by spreading a little pâté on his pancake and eating it without so much as a shudder. And then he rendered me almost speechless by asking for a little more and pronouncing it quite acceptable and something he was willing to eat in moderation from now on, as long as I kept bringing the pancakes.
Any parent who has wished in vain for a nourishing food to be consumed willingly - will share the lump of pride and tearful joy that overcame me as I witnessed the pâté watershed this morning.
If you're looking for something to serve your beloved this Valentines morning that will nourish and sustain, boost their happy hormones, sex drive and leave them with lustrous skin and shiny hair - make them a plate of pancakes and then leave the rest up to them.
If you would like to join in this month's Go Ahead Honey its Gluten Free, please do! I would love to know what you feed your loved ones to nourish and delight them. Have a look at the theme post here and send me your entry by Feb 24th.
Overnight Grain Free Pancakes
(makes about 14) enough for three people
You can use any ground nuts you like for these. Cashews make a very light pancake, pecans a dark malty one, pistachios and rosewater a totally decadent Middle Eastern version for slathering with honey.
130-150g Ground Almonds - about 1 cup (the smaller amount gives lighter more delicate pancake)
125ml (1/2 cup) live yogurt, kefir or water + 1 tsp lemon juice
2 Large Free Range Eggs
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch of Sea Salt
Some time between supper and bedtime, the day before you plan to eat the pancakes, mix the first two ingredients together in a ceramic bowl or glass jar and set aside in a warmish place until the next morning. 8-14 hours.
In the morning, add eggs, salt and bicarb to the mix and beat well. The mix should be the consistency of softly whipped cream - not completely runny. If it's too runny then add more almonds, too thick add more yogurt / water.
Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan to medium hot and add a teaspoon of goosefat, lard or coconut oil and another of unsalted butter. Spoon in dessertspoonfuls of the mix and fry gently until bubbles have formed all over the surface of the pancakes.
Keep an eye on the heat and turn down if neccesary as almonds are easy to burn. The pancakes will take more colour than a grain mixture would though.
Use a palette knife to flip the pancakes over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes, or until golden.
Lift onto a warmed plate with a piece of kitchen paper on it or cool on a rack. Add more grease to the pan if needed and repeat the process until all the mixture is used up.