Now is the season for locally grown blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and mulberries, which means they are available at good prices. Lately, I’ve been heading down to Palm Beach Farmers’ Market on the Gold Coast, or Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market in the Northern Rivers to check out other regional markets, where I’ve filled my basket with a colourful haul of perfect berries. To be honest, the warmer months are not my favourite as I struggle in the heat, but gorgeous produce like berries and stone fruit are sweet compensation. What a treat!
To make these pancakes, I’ve added some puffed buckwheat seed. Contrary to its name, buckwheat is not a wheat grain; it is actually a seed related to rhubarb. To produce puffed buckwheat, the seeds are put under a high pressure, much like in a pressure cooker, and steamed — sort of like popcorn. Many seeds and grains are available in a puffed form: rice (rice bubbles), millet, amaranth, spelt, quinoa and buckwheat, to name just a few. Puffed grains are always available at health food stores and supermarkets.
People have eaten puffed grains for eons, usually for breakfast. I don’t use them often in my cooking; however, they are fun to include from time to time to add texture and crunch to the dish. Buckwheat puffs also have an almost savoury caramel flavour, which I find adds interest and complexity. Used in the right place, buckwheat puffs can be a satisfying and more-ish garnish.
Here, I have added the puffs to the batter, and I have also used them to garnish the finished dish.
Buckwheat pancakes, berries, yoghurt and puffs
gluten-free | dairy-free option | vegan option
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup buckwheat puffs
1 scant teaspoon bi-carb, sifted
60 ml yoghurt (animal or coconut)
½ cup milk (animal or other)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or paste
coconut oil or butter for cooking pancakes
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
1 teaspoon rapadura sugar or raw honey
½ teaspoon vanilla powder or paste
½ cup organic apple juice or water
extra yoghurt and buckwheat puffs to serve
To make the berries, place all ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 5–10 minutes. Put aside. To make the pancakes, place the flour, puffs and bi-carb in a large mixing bowl, and mix together thoroughly. Place the yoghurt, milk, vanilla and eggs in another bowl, and beat together with a whisk until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mix and fold together gently, until just combined. Don’t over-beat the batter. Place a cast-iron skillet or similar over a medium heat and add a teaspoon of oil or butter to the skillet, then add a large spoonful of batter. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip to cook the other side for 2 minutes. Repeat with all of the mixture, keeping the cooked pancakes warm. Serve pancakes with berries, yoghurt and extra buckwheat puffs.