Friday, 14 December 2012

He who picks

My mum used to make savoury pancakes for dinner when we were kids. Stuffed with something like tuna and cheese, I think. I always like adding to our repertoire, especially if it means Kian has more than two mouthfuls. A wrap of sorts has so many possibilities: a Mexican-inspired filling of beans, chilli, avocado and coriander; sweet, buttery onion with chunks of spiced meat; pumpkin and ricotta; curried vegetables...

But we never have wraps. The trouble with bought wraps is their list of ingredients. I can't bring myself to buy anything I don't want to put into our tummies. I make flatbreads but they crisp and crumble and it's not quite the same.

Until I started thinking more about mum's pancakes in Egypt and back to my time in France when I used to wander the main square in Montpellier looking for a bite to eat. There were always sweet crêpes filled with chocolate spread and savoury galettes made with buckwheat flour and oozing cheese.

A couple of weeks ago, I filled a big paper bag with buckwheat flour at my local organic shop and came home and made the batter. I let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two, and then cooked ladlefuls in a knob of butter till brown and set.

The perfect wrap. Soft and delicious and better than all those tortillas out there. I can't believe I haven't made them sooner. A couple of weeks ago, I made 'snails' with a mixture of softened onion, grass-fed beef mince spiced with cumin and coriander and a little grated cheese. Luca's had his smeared with avocado. He-who-picks-out-anything-green didn't.

Yesterday felt like another pancake day, except this time I ground the buckwheat groats myself to make the flour – much cheaper that way. A quick blitz of the batter ingredients*, a rest in the fridge and all you need is a good pancake pan. Slices of free-range ham and grated cheese for the boys with a bowl of tomatoes on the side; added wilted spinach and lots of basil for us. I folded the pancakes in half and popped them in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt.

I was in France again.

Except, hang on, I don't remember anyone there picking out the ham and squishing their noses...

Can someone please tell me I'm not alone with a fussy discerning eater? I was always of the belief that picky eaters weren't born picky; that they're somehow conditioned through what they get fed and the choices they get. But it's not true. I have what can only be described as a home-cook-and-food-writer's dream child and... well, one that isn't.

I know his unadventurous ways won't last forever, that it's most probably to do with attention or control, but right now I just want to hear that your child couldn't care less about your cooking either.

Please? It'll make me feel so much better.

* 1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup plain flour, 2 eggs, 2 1/2 cups milk, good pinch of salt


  1. sounds utterly delicious....I promise if I came for dinner I'd eat it all!!

    1. Me too! I agree all sounds completely delicious Vanessa and no you are not alone with small people who are developing their tastebuds...even me The Wholefood Mama has children who aren't keen on too many vegetables. They will try things though and that is all I ask at this stage. Keep serving up the delicious real food it is one of the greatest foundations we can teach our children in these times of factory food. x

  2. I served expensive sirloin steak to my girls last night, and Stella picked up a fistful and threw it across the table. But there's one advantage of having twins - as long as one eats well, you can sort of convince yourself that the other one is getting the goodness via some sort of osmosis. Works for me...

  3. Oh don't worry! Jude is a massive fusspot. I grate veges into his spaghetti bolognese and stews and his favourite dinner is baked beans on toast or a couple of boiled eggs from our girls. He might have a free range pork sausage now and then too. I try and make him lots of fresh vege/fruit juices, he eats heaps of fruit and has a little multivitamin (from woolies) bear lolly every day. He has a bowl of weetbix for breaky, a vegemite sandwich for lunch most days and that my friend, is his entire diet. Once when I was in the studio, he ate eight muesli bars. Eight. Did that make you feel a little better!? ;) x

  4. I have many an unsatisfying evening here when I come up with creative names for beautiful, delicious, organic meals, they get excited and involved in the prep and then Ben almost 9 times out of 10 opens his mouth and lets it drop back onto his plate in disgust. Very disheartening! The show must go on though!!!! Rest assured you are NOT alone!! x

  5. One of my friends has a a little epicurean (from birth) and another who only eats jam sandwiches. I think it's just personality. The older is interested in food and flavours and the younger just couldn't give a rat's proverbial! Too much else for him to be doing to waste time with food!

    A girl I went to school with ended up being put in hospital when she was only about 3 because she refused to stop and eat, and if she did she would only eat watermelon. Her family are Italian and there house was full of deliciousness. Again, no real sense to it. Just a funny little part of who she is. She's still not particularly interested in food as an adult. It's just necessary fuel to her.

  6. We're pretty focussed on food around here and I have TWO who are hopeless! Well not hopeless. Just hopeless right now. My now 8 year old spent a year between two and three pretty much just eating tinned spaghetti (for heavens sake.) And my 2 year old? only wants milk. Or yoghurt. Or an egg. That's about it. I don't push it. Surround them with good food and don;t make it a fight and they'll come to it eventually. That's my theory. And that savoury pancake of yours is Good Food. I'm making that this week. Gorgeous photo too. xx

  7. I have one that wants to live on cow's milk and weetbix!

    When I was at the Holistic GP with Frankie the other day, she told me there is new research to say we need to allow children to touch, smell, play with and taste their food up to 16 times before they decide it is 'safe' to eat it. So I say keep dishing it up with a smile and don't worry if it doesn't all get eaten up...hopefully, it will eventually!

  8. This is such a yummy idea. I will use it, thank you very much! Lovely to have found you too. I think your blog and photos are just beautiful. x

  9. I love pancakes and savoury ones are as much a favourite as the sweet variety - I guess I'm just a pancake girl at heart.

    Such lovely memories

    Nina x

  10. Lucien sounds very similar to Kian. I find it so frustrating and disheartening when he just takes a few mouthfuls and then either refuses any more, spits out the rest or flicks it on the floor with glee. On the flip side, when he does devour something I've made my heart soars and for that brief nano-second I think I must be the best cook in the world!!! That said, he declined all my home-made efforts tonight and I resorted to giving him hot weetabix. One night last week he refused everything and then woke up hungry so I ended up making him porridge at 1.30am! Hopefully our boys will grow out of it soon - I can't believe they're going to be two next week. Where has the time gone? I'm wondering how to make an easy but visually attractive birthday cake for next Sunday so will be watching with interest to see what gem you serve Kian on Friday. I hope he has a wonderful day. xx

  11. Oh yum! Off to check if we have buckwheat flour...I'm sure we do...please, please let us have some. Dinner here we come! Thanks for sharing :) x

  12. These pancakes look delicious! I've never had one with different food stuffed inside. This post makes me want to experiment with our pancakes. First, we have to buy some syrup which I forgot at the grocery store.

    Thanks for sharing!


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