Today is one of those perfect grey and rainy home days. I love rainy days; when the skies seem close and moody, and the house is a cozy, safe retreat. This one is particularly nice as its Australia Day, and that means triple J’s hottest 100 is playing on the radio.
My toddler, Boo, turns two tomorrow. I’m really struggling with this birthday as I know my baby is growing up, and soon those giggling fits and mispronunciated words will be gone, replaced with new challenges and milestones. I’m proud of my ‘big girl’ though. Everyday she surprises me with something new, and she is a curious and loving child. I am very blessed to be her Mum.
Naturally another birthday means another cake. I’m using the same cake as her first birthday. You can find the recipe here. This is a beautiful cake, and the smell of coconut and maple syrup had added another lovely layer to my blissful rainy day. This time the icing is not so child friendly though. I have done a vanilla butter cream, and used puréed blueberries as a colourant. Sadly this was much more pink then I expected, giving us a pink shark instead of blue like I was hoping for. I also used fondant (shock horror!) for the features of the shark’s face. I have never used fondant before, and I found it really challenging. I have also learned that it cannot be dyed with raspberry juice. I ended up using the juice as a paint, by applying it on top of the fondant once applied to cake. I’m not happy with the sugar based icings, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. I can’t wait for her to see her special shark cake tomorrow. She’s going to love it!
While baking Boo’s birthday cake, I decided I also felt like comfort food and a quick raid of the fridge turned up some quark close to its use-by date. Perfect for blueberry and quark pancakes. Quark is a European fresh cheese similiar to cottage cheese. Traditionally it is made without rennet. The one I get is from Barambah Organics, and is a thick creamy delicious treat.
Blueberry and Quark pancakes
1 1/3 cups quark (or ricotta)
3/4 cup of milk
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
Combine these wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Only add the egg yolks for now, the whites get folded through later. Add the blueberries last.
In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mix, and stir until combined. Do not over mix.
Beat the egg whites, until nice and firm. Gently fold through the pancake mix in two batches.
Fry spoonfuls of the batter over a low heat, with some butter or ghee.
I had never cooked quark or ricotta pancakes before, and found it difficult to get the temperature just right. As you can see in the picture, mine were more than golden. You need a fairly low heat, not too much batter for each pancake, and to keep a close eye on them.
Adding quark to the pancakes gives this dish some decent protein, and makes them more filling. They also taste delicious.
Enjoying a rainy day at home with my family, and baking some yummy treats is pretty much a perfect day in my book.