I own a lot of cookbooks. If my husband Si was telling this story he would definitely be using expletives by now and would be going on about how my cookbooks are no longer contained to the one shelf above the T.V. He would be saying they now occupy premium space under the desk, beside the desk, on the coffee table, next to the bed, often on the dining table... and the kitchen bench. He would be complaining that there's also the odd pile on the floor... Or two, and really I can't deny any of it. Some people collect antiques, dolls or cars. Me, I collect cookbooks. Some I love for their recipes (those ones are generally splattered with food), others for the voice behind them, while mostly if I'm being completely honest I just love to ogle the gorgeous photography. I know, I know, how superficial eh? Please don't tell me I'm all alone on this one.
The newest addition to the collection is a stunner and one that I've loved cooking from over the past week or so. Wholehearted Food is written by Brenda Fawdon, the legendary chef who founded the first licensed organic restaurant in Australia, Mondo Organics, and its immensely popular cooking school in Queensland. Her ethos mirror mine to a T and in this, her first book, she shares her lifelong love of real food to produce a beautiful collection of wholefood recipes. All the photos were taken at her home, gorgeous organic orchard and kitchen garden on beautiful Mount Tamborine in Queensland. She writes...
‘I am lucky enough to live at the breathtakingly beautiful Tamborine Mountain, where we also source much of our produce for the restaurant and for home. We haven’t paid an electricity bill since we had sixteen solar panels installed on our roof. We use only tank water, and we have built an organic courtyard kitchen garden featuring handmade recycled sleeper and corrugated-iron raised beds. Down the back we have planted a mini orchard, which is slowly providing us with mandarins, Meyer lemons, limes, grapefruit, blood oranges, peaches, apricots, fuji and Granny Smith apples and figs. (And cobbler’s pegs. Damn them!)’
Along with the photos being taken at her home, they were also captured by Brenda's partner Christine Sharp and are just stunning. While the book is not vegetarian or strictly gluten-free, many of the recipes are both (or vegan) and all the sweet treats use unrefined sugars and natural alternatives, which of course, I love. There's a strong emphasis on encouraging people to think about where there food comes from by buying local organic produce and ethically raised meat and sustainable seafood, which I think is a really important thing for people to consider if they chose to eat these foods.
Some of the recipes that have caught my eye are: Purple sprouting broccoli with sweet potato, poached egg and turmeric aioli, Mung Bean falafels (which I have tried and loved), Mung bean, wild rice and buckwheat kitchari (next on my to-try list), Chickpea crepes with avocado, black hummus and lentil sprouts, Ginger kuzu creme brulee, and the famous Mondo Chocolate dandelion pudding has my name written all over it!
The recipe I most wanted to try out though, was her Buckwheat pancakes with warm vanilla berries (see recipe below). I make two very similar recipes (they are actually both in my book, one sweet, one savoury) but it was her method of beating the whites, then adding the sugar to form a meringue which blew me away with it's genius and I just knew I had to share this recipe! If you are familiar with using buckwheat flour you will know that it sometimes has a tendency to go a tad gluey and dense. I whip my whites for one of my recipes, but stabilising the whites with the addition of sugar is something I'd not ever thought of doing myself and I'm actually kinda kicking myself it wasn't my own idea, haha!
The resulting pancakes are lighter than light, beautiful fluffy wee things. And the warm vanilla berries are the perfect topping, along with a generous dollop of natural plain yoghurt. I made these yesterday for the kids and I as an afternoon snack (the things we bloggers do to get good light I tell ya?! Read this great blog post for more on this) and rather than cooking large pancakes I instead just cooked them in little pikelet sized ones. The kids ate most of them straight from the pan unadorned, but they did save a couple each which I topped with the berries before they were inhaled, literally.
I've shared the recipe below exactly as it appear in the book, but there's a few added notes of mine at the very bottom should you care to read the slight adaptions I made.
Update: This giveaway has now finished! Thanks to everyone who entered.
Lastly, the lovely people at UQP have offered a book to giveaway to one lucky New Zealand or Australia reader!
Here's what you have to do to be in the draw to win a copy of Wholehearted Food, by Brenda Fawdon.
This giveaway is open to New Zealand and Australian readers and will be drawn by Random.org on the 15th November. Good luck!
Buckwheat pancakes with warm vanilla berries
1 lime or lemon
This recipe is reprinted with permission from Wholehearted Food by Brenda Fawdon (UQP), available now in all good bookshops or online.
Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of Wholehearted Food courtesy of UQP, but as always my views are completely my own. I only write about things I believe in and what I feel you, my readers, will enjoy.