Nigel Slater's Peas with Olive Oil and Mint
Things To Eat/Drink/Learn/Plant/Pick Before I Go

Edna Lewis's Sour-Milk Griddle Cakes


I'm sorry I left so abruptly, without warning. I wanted to tell you about these pancakes before we left, I really did, but you know how it goes with these mid-season vacations: they creep up out of nowhere and smack you out of your tired routine with unexpected strength. Before I knew it, I was as far east as I've ever been, in Israel for a week with Ben and some of his family, and you spent two more weekends (two!) without knowing about these pancakes.

Excuse me, griddle cakes. There. Doesn't that sound even better?

The batter sturdy and thick, impossibly so, and tangy with buttermilk, the cakes cook up into fluffy, flavorful rounds. A mixture of whole wheat and regular flour gives them added heft. But what really makes them is a gentle dousing in warm berry sauce and cool-from-the-fridge maple syrup.


They're our new favorite breakfast. I should tell you that I particularly like them if I've gone to bed reading The Taste of Country Cooking (thanks to Molly for the recommendation) and imagining that I can hear little Virginia birds waking me and my growling tummy in the morning for breakfast. It's somewhat alarming to admit this, but we - the two of us - ate almost all the pancakes, save two, when we made them. So much for freezing leftovers. And for restraint and modesty. Ahem.


Sour-Milk Griddle Cakes
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Royal Baking Powder (see below)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups sour milk or buttermilk

1. Sift flours, salt, soda, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add beaten egg and melted butter. Mix well by stirring. Add milk and stir well. Do not over-mix or the cakes will be tough. The batter will be quite thick.

2. Pour on sizzling-hot greased griddle in largish spoonfuls. When the cakes become quite puffed and show tiny bubbles, turn and cook a few minutes more. Serve with stewed berries and maple syrup.

Stewed Berries

2 cups berries, fresh or frozen (blueberries are what Edna Lewis recommends; I used black raspberries, because they're what I had in the freezer)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

1. Place the berries, sugar, and water into a quart saucepan. Set the pan over a medium flame and bring to a boil. Turn the flame down, leaving the berries at a quiet, rather gentle boil for 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Turn the heat off until the pancakes are ready to serve. Then reheat the berries so they will be hot (do not let them boil) and spoon them onto the cakes. Leftover berry sauce keeps in the fridge and can be used to stir into yogurt or drizzle on ice cream.

Royal Baking Powder

Mix 2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda (for example, 4 teaspoons cream of tartar with 2 teaspoons baking soda). Use quantity as directed in the recipe above. Store the remaining mixture in an airtight container indefinitely.