Tag Archives: yeast

Make: Blinis


With only one to go until pancake day I was chastising my food and lifestyle blogging self for not having marked the occasion. Forget christmas, pancake day is the big one, and having injudiciously missed the boat on national Nutella day last week I was anxious to meet this brief, yet completely without inspiration. That is until I visited leicester wholefoods co-op at the weekend.

If you are Leicester based and have not visited this delightful treasure trove of wholesome delights drop everything and go, go now! It’s an inspiring place. I was accompanying C who was picking up ingredients for work and I had promised myself I would just window shop, but it wasn’t to be. £20.00 later I was armed with Buckwheat flour, coconut palm sugar, agar, dried shitake mushrooms, Liquorice yogi tea and I even threw in some physilium husk (A key ingredient in the life changing loaf of bread) for good measure.

So, lets talk about buckwheat for a minute, the name is misleading as it’s not a grain, rather a pseudocerial or seed more closely related to sorrel and rhubarb than wheat, It’s high in nutrients and a great source of protein. Buckwheat is often to be found lining the shelves of the supermarkets in groat format though it’s not often I see buckwheat flour and I don’t recall ever having baked or cooked with it so I seized the opportunity, buckwheat was exactly what I needed for my pancake recipe of choice this year.

Now onto Blinis, This humble yeasted pancake hails from Russia, traditionally made with buckwheat flour and served to mark the beginning of lent. These delicate, cloud like morsels offer a sophisticated bite sized pancake that can hold up a multitude of toppings. The addition of yeast does keen you need to be a little patient, but the end results are well worth it!

blini making

Buckwheat blinis- you will need:

  • 125ml milk
  • 40g plain flour
  • 30g buckwheat flour
  • 2.5g fast action dried yeast
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 egg whites

This recipe makes 35-40 canapé size blini, I made mine a little larger, around 5cm diameter with  yield of 20

  1. Gently warm the milk to blood temp and mix in the yeast and 15g of the plain flour. Cover and set aside in a warm place for two hours*
  2. Mix in the remaining flours, the yolks and salt. Cover and leave for a further 1/2 hour.
  3. Whip the whites to stiff peaks and fold into the mix.
  4. lightly oil a frying pan and on a medium high heat fry the blinis in batches and watch as the batter bubbles up delightfully. Flip the pancakes halfway through so they are an even golden colour on both sides.

*If you have a dehydrator you can cut the time down by setting the dehydrator to 30°C and warming the milk mix through for just one hour, rather than two.

blinis 1

Now time to get creative, lets talk about toppings…..

I’ve gone down the savoury route here, blinis have a great affinity with smoked fish so I couldn’t deny them a little smoked salmon and cream cheese. I also opted for semi dried tomatoes, avocado and Sirancha, and red pepper pesto, cherry tomato and and olive.

Sweet works a treat here too, I suggest any of your favourite pancake toppings, e.g. honey and blueberry, maple and banana or Nutella and orange, anything goes!

Happy pancake day to all!

creative toppings

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Bake: Herman – Oven Day

I’m pleased to report my mum did a stunning job of caring for Herman over the weekend – including another feed

He’s now been divided into four, and yesterday I delivered one pot of him to a family friend – I think his offspring will be very happy there…

Baking day

The instructions for cooking aren’t too fussy – basically just add…

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 2 heaped tsps of cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tsps of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup of cooking oil (I used veg)
  • 2 cooking apples (I chopped these into little pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts (or almonds)
  • 1 cup of raisins

The fruit and nuts are optional – I’ve seen other people online add chocolate

Sprinkle with sugar and a little butter  (great opportunity to use my vanilla sugar)

Then add to a large greased cake tin and stick in an oven pre-heated to 170 degrees

Check at 45 minutes… my Herman was very wobbly still… and 15 mins later… and 30 mins later… and 15 mins later… and then we left him in the cooling oven while we popped out for a couple of hours…

And then…

The real test

So… how does he taste?

Pretty blooming’ good! A lovely mixture of fruit, nut and cinnamon in a cake that is a lot lighter than I expected – and a slight hint of the yeast in the apple – yum!

The only thing I’d do differently next time is use a shallower cake tin so he took less time to bake and was a more consistent texture throughout (although he wasn’t totally cool on first tasting – the smell made it too difficult to wait)


Things I learnt

  • People think you’re weird when you start talking about Herman… but they’ll still ask after him when you see them next
  • You get quite protective over his well-being… and defensive over why you’re treating him like an actual person
  • It’s not essential to stick to the 10 day programme – as long as he’s bubbling away, he’ll pull through
  • He’s not the cheapest cake to make – he’s a hungry beast!
  • As a result he’s a pretty big guy once he starts baking
  • Cooking him in your parents’  kitchen while wearing shorts, socks and your dad’s massive jumper is not essential, but is recommended

Graduation photos

I plan to keep you updated with with how Herm’s cake friendship spreads… but for now here’s the bake day in a few photo highlights…

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