Living in the proximity of three great open markets is a bliss for a foodie. I’ve been pondering if that’s the reason why many foodies live in my neighbourhood. I’m even luckier than most people because all three markets are within a walking distance and I go to each one for different things. Among the open markets is an organic market, which is held every Wednesday in Özgürluk Park. Honestly I don’t buy veggies there because they don’t look really fresh. Would I want fresh non-organic veggies and fruit or would I want wilted and old organic veggies and fruit? My choice is the former, at least here. But I still go there because that’s the place I get my favourite flour, buckwheat and spelt flour. Buckwheat has a nutty and bitter taste and spelt flour has a nutty and sweet taste, and they are good for different occasions. I usually buy spelt flour for making bread but this time I used it in pancakes because I was inspired by my recent guest, who introduced me to a new scene in Canadian gastronomy .
I developed my taste for spelt flour way back in Sydney and whenever I see spelt flour, I just buy it. This healthy ancient grain had long been forgotten since the Industrial Revolution and we wanted everything ‘faster’ and ‘easier’ and now we seem to be paying the price. No wonder why people started to have symptoms such as irritable bowl syndrome, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, etc. So now more and more people are conscious of the quality of wheat but luckily it’s becoming easier to find alternative healthy grains these days.
The good thing about living in the old world like Turkey is probably because many agricultural practices are still preserved and many things are processed by hand in villages and you can get ‘stone-milled’ flour(taş değirmen unu) quite easily here without paying extra, Halk Ekmek Organic for example. As you know, this is my daily bread source when I’m not up for paying 12TL for a loaf of sourdough bread or for making my own. This is a small memorable shot of the sourdough bread from Naan Bakeshop, a newly open artisan bakery cafe in Kadikoy, whose bread was really good without a doubt, and especially the colour, darker than usual, was a telltale of good quality flour, and I was feeling very happy to have this artisan bakery in Kadikoy, finally. It’s nice to buy it from time to time for a change for sure.
Even though you can’t afford to pay that much if you’re a bread eater like me, you can still find pretty healthy Turkish version of sourdough bread in most bakeries. The average quality of bread in Turkey, though not comparable with the French or German yet, is pretty high, thanks to the quality of the flour and the long and strong tradition surrounding making bread. And the wheat variety of Turkish origin is said to be registered in the Global Seed Vault. I remember Mr.O’s dad showing me the wheat berries proudly a long ago and my experience in Turkey has proven that Turkish flour is healthier and is supposedly safer for those with any gluten-related issues. The better assurance is that many Koreans who can’t eat bread because of the bloatedness, reflux, and other gastric problems say they don’t get that symptoms when eating bread in Turkey and prefer bread to rice, ending up eating bread as a main dish. 🙂
My choice for adding various grains to my diet is more for the taste and balance. Having my pantry well-stocked up with alternative grains gives me the most security and peace of mind because finding the right ingredients can sometimes mean two hour-return journey and lots of grunts. So when my buckwheat flour ran out after making so many Korean dumplings, I went to the organic market and took that opportunity to take some photos of spring blossoms.
Spring comes like a spring, pushing and pulling…. one day with lovely sunshine and warmth, and the next day with a winter chill. That’s why many people get sick as they go out defying the weather as it happened to me. I was so happy that I hadn’t got a cold this winter when I saw these blossoms but then two days later bang…. I got struck with a flu, which is still tiring me out.
Last week I received many guests, one of who brought these, not only yummy but also valuable goodies, and it warms my heart to feel that people who care for food also care for humanity. She made a thoughtful package, a combination of comfort food and rare food. Yeah, the REAL maple syrup, huh?
Marie, a doctor from Quebec introduced me to the unusual cranberry harvest in Quebec. Look at the sea of cranberries! At first, I thought they were grown under the water but it turned out that they flood the farm when harvesting. It must be quite amazing and fun to trudge through floating cranberries.
These Fruit d’Or cranberries were more plump, not as dry as the ones we normally see, and as I was confined to bed with the sniffles, I felt miserable and thought that delicious pancakes with healthy cranberries would cheer me up. After what Marie had told me about how Bolivians were going starved because of the ‘quinoa craze‘ among foodies, it remembered the friend, who I’d call Mr.Bio, whose pantry was always stocked up with quinoa, Bio products and frozen products. As you know, I’m not a fashionable foodie; I’m an honest and healthy food advocate. Growing up in a household where beans, peas, seeds, millet, black rice, all kinds of grains go into a bowl of rice, I didn’t have to look for healthy grains as they were just always around.
It’s all about balance, so let’s stop taking food as a scientific experiment and just enjoy everything that comes on the table. Millet and buckwheat have similar nutritional value so why people need to use quinoa at the obvious damage it does to the world.
Having been exposed to different food cultures and diets, I’ve learned to make do without and even though I have a missing ingredient, I don’t fuss any more. You might have noticed that I’ve been using yogurt in place of milk in my cooking after a certain point. At the beginning of my life here, I was bringing fresh milk from a nearby village and giving it a minimal pasteurization treatment at home, and then, later I was sending Mr.O to buy fresh milk every morning. And then later, it struck me that using yogurt in baking cakes makes more sense here. This time, though, I was curious and used just the whey, the liquid whey that builds up in the yogurt container. What do you do with it? I would use it to make a yogurt drink in summer time or dilute sauce, soup, cream, etc, but I hadn’t used in baking before. And honestly I sometimes tip it off into the sink if too much or let my dog lick the whole container. So I decided to use it in my pancake mix to see what happens since ruining a pancake is less risky than ruining a whole cake. But guess what? It seemed to work well.
You see two different photos here. Yes, I made it twice because it was so delicious and I hadn’t had pancakes for a long time. Since I was inspired by my guest, Marie, I thought I’d make the most of the maple syrup while I was in the mood. Obviously, the left one was made when I was sick and couldn’t be bothered to wash the fry pan and cooked it in a ceramic pan, but the grilled pear topping was better than the orange.
Both have exactly the same ingredients, spelt flour, cranberries, egg and whey but the only thing I did differently with the right was to add baking soda, and also, I let the batter rest a bit for the right one but I’m not sure if this made any effect.
Perhaps, it could be the separating the yolk and white that did the trick, who knows? There were in fact many variations so it’s not worth taking any note of what I just said. Excusez-moi 🙂
The second batch rose pretty high as you can see, and it was exciting to watch it rise. Actually, I was making more pancakes, using a pancake mix, as a teenager in Korea as it was an iconic western food, which is easy to make and delicious. Then, along the way, I’d moved on to French crepe, and now what? Gözleme? But I hate seeing this savoury Gözleme sold in touristic places with westernized sweet stuffing like Nutella, banana and such.
Anyway, the strange thing is that I actually preferred the first batch because it had, let’s say, more natural taste. Now I doubt about the rule of having to add baking soda to neutralise the acidity. What if you actually like the acidic taste? Perhaps, I should make another batch to confirm it when I get over the flu.
Either way, Mr.O and I enjoyed having pancakes smothered with maple syrup for breakfast and dessert after dinner for a whole week. 🙂 Sometimes being an experimental food blogger makes you do this, right? Speaking of no waste, I wonder what other food bloggers do if the food they make fails. Throw it or still eat it? Hmm…
Fluffy Spelt Cranberry Pancake with Maple Syrup
1 cup spelt flour (or substitute with regular flour)
fresh or frozen cranberries or dried cranberries
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg, separated(optional)
2/3 cup yogurt whey
Little bit of butter (for greasing)
1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a big bowl
2. Mix the egg yolk, sugar and yogurt or whey in another bowl
3. Whisk the egg white (skip if you’re using the whole egg)
4. Mix both mixtures together and stir in the cranberries
5. Heat a non-stick frying pan greased with butter over medium high, and using a large tablespoon, drop the batter in the middle
6. Turn down the heat to allow the pancakes to bake gently. Turn the pan around if necessary.
7. Bake for 2 mins until the pancake gets firm and you can turn it gently and bake for another 2 minutes or until golden
8. Serve with the extra cranberries or other grilled fruit with maple syrup and creme fraiche or thick yogurt