Friday, March 1, 2013

Fruit and vegetable pancakes

Photos by Steve Shanahan
 First published Canberra  Times 13 February 2013

With the challenging morning ritual of filling school lunch boxes fast approaching, so is the dilemma of finding something appetizing and somewhat healthy to put in them.

There arent too many kids I know who will refuse a pancake, and with fruit and vegetables hidden within, these are a tasty and satisfying way of ensuring vegetables are on the school menu. If your kids are old enough, they might even like to help prepare or cook the pancakes themselves.

The idea of combining fruit and vegetables in pancakes was initially brought to me by our daughter who decided she wanted to put everything in hers. The combination of flavours lends a slight sweetness, which she loved. Just remember to squeeze out the juices from both the apple and vegetables and you will have dry, crispy pancakes that should keep fresh in a lunch box without going soggy.

The combinations are endless, and depending on the palate of your little diners, you can add spices, different cheeses or herbs to these pancakes to vary the flavours.

Regardless of the combinations, if you are serving them hot and want to add an extra touch, a few dollops of greek yoghurt adds further body and balance to these pancakes.

These are the perfect lunch finger food and kids will find them even tastier when they are involved in the making.

1 zucchini, washed with skin left on, finely grated
1 cob of corn
1 carrot, finely grated
1 green apple, washed with skin left on, finely grated
squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup milk
2 tbsp natural greek yoghurt
2 eggs
½ cup tasty cheese, grated
1 tbsp olive oil

Remove the husks and silk from the corn cob, and slice the end off it so it has a flat bottom. Standing the cob up on a board with the flat side down, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the corn cob. Discard the cob and set the kernels aside.

Using your hands, squeeze the grated zucchini, carrot and apple to remove the excess juice. Place the in a large bowl, add the squeeze of lemon juice, and mix until well combined. The juice squeezed from the carrot, apple and zucchini is delicious to drink. Add the corn cobs to the mixed grated fruit and vegetables.

Sift the flour and baking powder together into a separate bowl. Whisk the milk, yoghurt and eggs together in a jug and add to the flour, mixing until well combined and the batter is smooth. Add the batter and grated cheese to the zucchini, carrot, corn and apple and mix well together.

Heat a little of the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Spoon two tablespoons of the batter mixture into the pan to make one pancake. Cook pancakes in batches, for three to four minutes each side until golden through.

Using a spatula, transfer pancakes to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.

Serve with extra yoghurt.

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