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Break time... ?

Published by nahom worku — 12 days ago

Blog: cheers to new horizons
Tags: Erasmus recipes

Hello dear reader, you are in for a big Erasmus recipe surprise. Continue reading htis blog post to find out what I am talking about.

As I can imagine for most university students here in Italy (most probably also all around Europe) exam sessions are over and now is the time to decompress and breath without worrying about too many things. This phase were you get to 'relax' (though a student-life is hardly described as a relaxed one) must not be taken lightly because it determines your performance in the coming months of study-time. Therefore now you may be asking your self... 'hmm what kind of activity can I do to decompress and loosen up from the past exams session... ?'. Well that's where I come in because I happen to have an answer to this question that a lot of you might wonder about. This trick that I am going to explain has not been ''scientifically proven'' as per say but I can say that I have been practicing it for the past couple of years and I got good results from it. Don't you worry because it is nothing too complicated for any one who is into cooking :) So here I go: the trick that I use to decompress after busy days (periods or weeks) is that I start making pancakes. not like any other ordinary pancakes but this are ''decompression/post-exams session pancakes''.

How to prepare decompression pancakes ?

Most of the items you will use to prepare my decompression pancakes can be found in your kitchen but if not you can make a stop at your local store to grab some of the things you need. The best case scenario would be to get your ingredients (like for the most part of the dairy products) from a local farmer because in this way you get fresh and healthier food items that will have a great taste while also providing the necessary nutrients for your body. But hey not having ''bio dairy products'' won't stop us from making our own decompression pancakes so here it goes.

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Ingredients 

3 whole eggs

90 gr sugar

350gr white flour

15gr baking powder

150ml milk

a pinch of salt

*The above listed ingredients Will make the classic decompression pancakes but if you want to make a unique kind of decompression pancakes I suggest you add one of these extra ingredients:

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 lemon juice (or a pinch of lemon zest)

1/2 orange juice (or a pinch of orange zest)

Procedure 

Start by choosing a nice big round bowl where you will mix your ingredients inn, Crack the three eggs and add all the sugar and start mixing this two ingredients together. You can use a hand mixer or a simple fork (in this case it might take a little bit more patience and some muscle action but you'' get there).

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Continue to mix the eggs and the sugar until most of the sugar is dissolved. At this point add in half of the milk and give it a good mix. At this stage make sure that all of the sugar has been dissolved

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At this point add in all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and if you desire to have it cinnamon flavored now is the right time to add in the cinnamon as well. Now start mixing slowly and then mix more vigorously until you end up with a smooth and honey-like consistency of the pancake mix. If your pancake mix look too dense or too dry use the remaining milk to make your mix 'more liquid' because you will see that the denser the mix the harder it gets to work with, so watch out.

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At this point you need to get your non-stick pan and wait a couple of minutes as the pan gets hot and ready to make your decompression pancakes. When the pan is hot enough start putting one measure (I often do two table spoons or just one big spoon) of the pancake mix. If you have a big pan try to fit two or even try pancakes at once. 

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Once they start having some holes on the surface you should prepare to flip them so that they can be cooked on the other side. My advice is to keep the fire at low so it cangive you the time to flip the pancakes without worrying that they moght get burnt.

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For extra flavour or if you don't have a non-stick pan use some butter on the pan before you pour the pancake mix. I use a non-stick pan and often I put some butter on the pan because I feel like it gives the decompression pancakes an extra depth of flavour. An alternative to butteris your regular olive oil.

**If for some reason you are not a big fan of a fluffy sweet decompression pancake, you can make your pancake mix much thinner by adding double of the amount of milk used for pancakes. In such a way you will make another home favorite sweet/salty snack:  le crepes. These are equally tasty but I think they require some sort of a filling to make them more enjoyable, whereas for the decompression pancakes they were ready to be eaten from the time you pop them out of the pan. Try both and choose one them and if you feel like it leave a comment about your preference.**

Why decompression pancakes ?

Unlike any other pancakes, decompression pancakes are easy to make and they do not require you to be a top notch patissier from Le Cordon Blue. All you need is some basic kitchen utensils and grab your ingredients and you are good to go. Like I said it is also an excuse to invite some friends over and make your version of decompression pancakes.

What can be a really good drink with decompression pancakes is a hot cup of black  tea filled in three quarters of milk. I like it this way because you get to feel the creaminess of the milk without loosing the taste of the black tea. Another classic alternative is a latte macchiato with a stiff layer of foam on top; a friend of mine introduced me to cold milk from the fridge with grounded cinnamon, mix this two together and take small sips and feel the taste of the cinnamon and the freshness of the milk straight out of the fridge.

Since I love to eat this treats for breakfast, what I do is I make a big batch of decompression pancakes (like last time I made twenty of them) and I keep them in the fridge. When ever I want them they are ready on the go as they are or I sometimes warm them up in the microwave to put some butter on top (guilty pleasure but it's ok every now and then). 

It will take some time before you finish making all of those decompresion pancakes but I tell you they are worth the waiting. And also if you can have some friends over and you make them together it will be nice way to spend some quality time in the kitchen.

What else can you do ... ?

Well once you are here and you have mastered the art of making pancakes like no one in the world can, I suggest you to consider some of the following alternative uses for the pancake mix (also known as batter_and not butter, don't confuse this two thing please) :

  • Once you get your classical pancake mix without adding any flavouring agent (like cinnamon or lemon) you can make what is generally known as genoise sponge cake. This is the simplest form of a cake you can think of, with an exceptionally light and fluffy texture. To make a genoise sponge cake prepare the so called batter, prepare a medium sized (18/20cm diameter) baking tin and either put some butter all over the pan or cover it with baking paper including the sides. Put all of the batter into the baking tin and bake it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 20/25 minutes or untill the surface is golden brown and when you stick a knife in the cake it somes out clean.

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  • If you add some cocoa powder (I always go for unsweetened cocoa powder because it gives the cake a much deeper chocolaty taste) you will end up with what is known as chocolate genoise. If you want to take your chocolate genoise to the next level by making a simple chocolate frosting follow these steps: melt 200g of dark chocolate and once the chocolate is melted add a knob of butter to give your chocolate that shiny look. Once you have the cake and the frosting, proceed by entirely covering the surface of the cake with the chocolate frosting and let it settle down for a bit. In this way you end up with a lovely chocolate genoise cake, perfect for birthday parties or even a generous dessert for Sunday afternoon.

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  • The same pancake mix may be used to make another favorite for breakfast or even for break time while sipping on some tea. I am talking about the well known banana bread. So once you prepare your classic pancake mix this time adding the cinnamon powder according to your taste, mash three medium sized ripe bananas into the batter. As usual prepare a medium sized (18/20cm diameter) baking tin and either put some butter all over the pan or cover it with baking paper including the sides. Put all of the batter into the baking tin and bake it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 20/25 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and when you stick a knife in the cake it somes out clean. Though be aware that the knife might not come out clean even when the cake is perfectly cooked. This may happen because of the bananas you used in the batter which makes the cake a bit sticky.

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So simply what I would like you to try is to discover the art of baking cakes and sharing this sweet treats with loved ones and people around you. I am sure that the beginners will improve in their baking skills and those of you who have never tried it are convinced enough to start experimenting this type of cooking.

Unitl next time, thanks for reading. Cheers to y'all !!!


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