Breaky or brunch? Breakfast in all its forms is my most favourite meal of the day.
I could quite happily have an enormous breakfast and eat nothing else for the rest of the day, and I have been known on more than one occasion to have ‘breakfast for dinner’ when a fry up of eggs, bacon, sausages and toast are exactly what I need to bookend the day.
I almost always lean toward a savoury breakfast – if I don’t have a savoury breakfast, have I really had breakfast? And I view the sweeter offerings, such as pancakes and french toast drizzled with a syrup and berries, as some sort of ‘breakfast dessert’. Yes, I will quite happily have my poached eggs and ‘smashed avo’ as a sort of main course followed by a waffle with berries and cream or a chocolate croissant. Judge me if you will, but if you are reading a food blog, then I think I can trust I am amongst friends who share the same flexible approach to socially-constructed mores about what is and is not appropriate when it comes to enjoying good food!
One of the reasons I find going out for breakfast (or brunch, or lekky…?) such fun is seeing what chefs do to find a point of difference in the breakfast menu. I mean, there really are only so many ways you can serve up eggs and bacon. My eyes usually scan the menu looking for something creative and something savoury, and my eyes will usually stop scanning if I see the words ‘fritter’ or ‘pork belly’. The first time I went with my dear friend, Shannon, to New Nordic Kitchen on Prospect Road, the culinary tug-of-war in my head and grumbling tummy was a very real and distressing thing. I knew I would have food envy, regardless of what I ordered – would I go for the Nordic Benedict that featured pulled pork with poached eggs and hollandaise, or would I go the full-fritter and opt for the Green Pea Pancake – one big pea fritter topped with avocado, zucchini, mint, lime and cabbage chutney? Oh the dilemma! On this occasion, I went with the pancake while Shannon went with the Benedict. We were both very satisfied with our choices but our inner greed resulted in food envy that lasted well beyond our first visit, and which could only be resolved by returning with husband in tow, waiting impatiently for him to decide what he wanted to try on his virgin visit since we had already committed, days ago, to ordering what the other had last time!
Truth be told, you cannot find a bad dish at New Nordic. The menu is contemporary Scandinavian cuisine, but you can forget Swedish meatballs as Ikea would have you know them. I took Mum there for lunch a few months ago and we enjoyed a range of small dishes to share, including a dish of moist meatballs with beetroot rosti and a light onion gravy with cranberry jam on the side, and Swedish style baked gnocchi tossed through porcini and forest mushrooms. I also have a mild obsession with the Spiced Apple Tea, a chai tea with fresh ginger, apple juice and a cinnamon stick. Decadent.
But the thing that keeps me going back for more is the Green Pea Pancake with obligatory poached eggs. It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s substantial, it’s sweet, it’s savoury, and it’s green – so it must be good for you! However, it is about a 40 minute drive from the Hills to New Nordic, and a pilgrimage I am willing to make in a heartbeat, but one that is not always a trip that the demands of the rest of my life allow me to make on a whim.
Enter my ‘Scandi’ Pea Pancake! The life-saving alternative to a trip down the hill when the craving takes hold. The bonus is that I pretty much always have the few ingredients on hand, and with the help of the food processor I can have these blitzed, fried and ready to top with a soft poached egg in under 10 minutes. Perhaps that is the nature of Scandinavian simplicity and utility – though this recipe you won’t need an Allen Key for!
One quick note on the recipe: only blitz half of the frozen peas which must be thawed before making – either in the microwave or by running warm water over them in a colander for a few minutes. You only want to blitz for about 10 – 15 seconds, so a few pulses might be enough. The aim is to create a thick and lumpy batter rather than a thin puree. Stir the remaining half of the peas through the batter before spooning into the frypan. You want a fluffy and soft pancake that has texture created by the chopped onions and the combination of the smashed and whole green peas.
‘SCANDI’ PEA PANCAKE
Serves 2 large or 4 medium sized pancakes
- 350g frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup self raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
- small bunch (1/4 cup) spring onions, roughly chopped
- pinch of salt
- Fresh chives and thinly sliced radish (optional)
Place half of the peas into a food processor with the flour, eggs, mint, spring onions, and a pinch of salt.
Blitz for about 10 seconds or until you form a thick textured batter. Don’t over-blitz!
Add the remaining peas to the batter and mix with a spoon to combine.
Ladle some of the mixture into an oiled frypan to make your pancake and cook over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes or until the base is golden and the pancake can hold its shape when flipped.
Flip and cook the other side of the pancake then remove from the pan and repeat the process to make the rest of your pancakes.
Serve the pancakes with a soft poached egg, fresh chives and thin slices of radish.