Pancake like object trial#2 aka crepes

TimmyC’s love of pancakes quickly shifted to crepes when he discovered their crispy buttery goodness a few years ago and I thought while I was trying to get a good pancake, I could probably look into crepes as well.

A wonderful Belgian friend of mine made me some crepes for breakfast the last time I stayed with her; the crepes were delicious with a subtle sweetness from the vanilla sugar she uses. I didn’t find it needed much else but a touch of cinnamon to enjoy its buttery crispy goodness but she had hers with bacon, banana and syrup. Her recipe comes from an old photocopied recipes from Belgium and she was also nice enough to translate it for me so I could try to make them when I got home.


 

Crêpes (makes 15)

I had to double check with my friend that I had written down the right type of flour, I just thought it was an odd concept for something so thin and crispy to have self raising flour.
I forgot to make a well for my wet ingredients which just meant I had to mix a bit more but it incorporated together in the end.

Ingredients

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 500mL milk
  • 4 eggs
  • Butter for frying

Equipment

  • Fry pan with shallow sides
  • Spatula
  • 2x Mixing bowls

Method

  1. Sift flour into a bowl
  2. Mix through both sugars
  3. Make a well
  4. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl
  5. Put eggs and milk in the well and mix until everything is incorporated
  6. Ladle the batter into medium hot buttered pan.
  7. Swirl the pan instantly to cover the bottom of the pan evenly with batter
  8. Loosen edges with spatula when bubble start to form
  9. Flip the crepe without dropping it on the floor
  10. Cook for less than a minute on the other side or until golden brown

Tips

We were eating them by the stove top because we were impatient and we liked them hot. My friend placed all of the layers on a plate kept it warm in the oven until she was done cooking. You will have to keep adjusting the heat to the pan so the crepes won’t burn.

For my own convenience, I cooked them all in one hit and just microwaved them when I wanted one; they were hot but lost their crispiness. They looked ugly at first but it takes a few tries to get them thin and flip them without breaking.

Choose your condiments and you’re on your way! Tim likes maple syrup and ice cream (you’ll see a trend) but I like it plain and simple with hints of icing sugar and cinnamon. Layers of crispy thin crepes

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Westside Acton Park

Even though I went to Westside Acton Park for two things specifically (see Miss Van’s and La Crepe blog posts here), I was surprised to see so many other eateries there.

There’s O’So smoothie, Damn Fine Roasters (Canberra’s first drive thru coffee shop, you just honk your horn and someone will be with you shortly), The One (I look forward to their chicken wings!), Miss Van’s, La Crepe (which might be closed for a few weeks) and Habibz (authentic Middle Eastern BBQ). Also up the top of the shipping containers is Aviary, Canberra’s first rooftop bar, I haven’t been up there yet because the one time I tried they were closed for health and safety reasons.

If you haven’t checked out Westside Acton Park yet they have a Pop Up Market this Saturday!

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La crepe – Westside

Of course while we were waiting for our food from Miss Van’s, my friend’s and I couldn’t help but be enticed by the delicious smells coming from La Crêpe the next shipping container over. There’s nothing much more to really write than they smell amazing, Nutella was made to be on crepes and they even do ‘take aways’ so there is no excuse not to get one… Or two.

Here is their menu, crepes range from $5.00 – $9.00. Which one would you have picked?The guy noticed me taking photos and struck a pose. My friend was talking to him and he was super friendly and had helpful advise for when we head to Paris.It takes skill to get a crepe that thin. My friend made her husband wait as she went to get a second one to take away. How cute is the packaging! It looked much easier to eat than on the plate.A photo of my crepe before it got quickly devoured.Friendly service and it didn’t take that long for us to get our crepes even though we were impatiently drooling.

Venue: La Crepe

Address: Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, Acton 2601

Opening hours: hopefully similar times to Miss Van’s?

***This place is now closed *** 😦

Three eateries in 3.5 hours – Dessert Castle

It didn’t take long to literally drive down the street to our next destination Dessert Castle but it did take us a while to find it. I was trying to quickly Instagram between meals as TimmyC drove past the ANU street theatre, past Spicy Ginger cafe and then all the way near Dominos and Chatime. I would have been no help anyway because I didn’t have my glasses on (yes I’m getting old) so we decided to park first and then find it. Turns out it was just to our left next to Shanghai dumpling cafe. There was signs on the door but with dim colour changing lights on the inside it wasn’t particular obvious and it was lacking an outdoor sign from the ceiling.20140627-072557-26757367.jpgCould you spot Dessert Castle easily from the street?20140627-072558-26758707.jpgI must admit, I had already made up my mind about this place before I even went there. I saw photos on other blogs and it just looked like a bigger selection of sub par cakes from a cafe looking awkward next to a bunch of froyo machines and some chocolate truffles, but TimmyC wanted to take me out to dinner and then dessert at Dessert Castle to make sure for ourselves. Fair enough, you can’t judge a venue without experiencing it for yourselves.

Inside was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. To your right is a wall of frozen yoghurt with lots of different flavours ranging from taro to peanut butter. At the far wall is the cake cabinet housing a large range of individual cakes, macarons and chocolate truffles while coming back around the other wall is the drinks, menu and cash register.

A big selection of macarons and chocolate truffles.20140627-072602-26762694.jpgA large glass cabinet full of individual cakes and tarts.20140627-072601-26761353.jpgA big wall of froyo with about 10 flavours.20140627-072600-26760009.jpgEverything inside was very ‘busy’ between the ceiling, the ever changing coloured lights, the froyo wall and all the cake selection, it was hard to focus on just one thing.20140627-072648-26808996.jpgTimmyC couldn’t decide what to get and his eyes darted around like a kid in a candy store. I suggested he order the crepes from the menu which he did not see and he knew then straight away what he wanted. I opted for macarons and froyo to get a wider scope of the menu.

Despite the lumpy look of the macaron shells, I decided to get two. I asked if they were made on site and I was informed that three sources make their macarons but what I couldn’t understand was if there are three different suppliers/people making them, why did they all consistently look lumpy? Also some of the fillings looked like a split cake batter which I was a bit dubious about. They also said that they have a size requirement for their cakes, so that must mean they source those as well.

Macarons – Tim tam and salted caramel flavour ($2.50). I was relieved to find that the macarons had a great texture and they weren’t stale but unfortunately, all I could taste was sweetness and I couldn’t distinguish the flavours. There was a hint of salt in the salted caramel one but other than that, they just tasted really sweet.

Lump looking macarons but I took a chance.20140627-072647-26807476.jpgIt looks like my macaron had goosebumps.20140627-072910-26950210.jpgBut at least it had a good texture.20140627-072911-26951674.jpgOreo cheesecake ($6.50?). My friends ordered this cake and it tasted surprisingly really good, it tasted like a mix of white chocolate and oreo in a smooth cheese cake that wasn’t overly sweet or heavy.20140627-072645-26805658.jpgThis is a huge container, don’t fill it all up as the price is based on weight, $2.20 per 100g.20140627-072644-26804289.jpgI tried to choose my flavours wisely at the froyo section. I started off with nutella, then peanut butter which came out a different consistency, followed by cookies and cream, chocolate, cherry and plain. My taste tester tub, which looked like 50 shades of brown came to $7.05. The cherry flavour was TimmyC’s favourite, to me it tasted like a mouthful of pink nerds candy. My favourite (if I had to choose) would have been the Nutella but because this type of frozen yoghurt like most froyo franchises isn’t creamy, all the flavours tasted watered down (fancy fillings strawberry is still my favourite). You can also add toppings but I didn’t bother with any, the amount of people I saw licking their fingers from dripping froyo to the topping counter was disconcerting.20140627-072729-26849520.jpgPancakes with maple syrup, strawberries, banana, whipped cream all topped off with chocolate sauce  ($12.00). We thought ordering off the menu meant that it was a hot menu item but sadly everything was very cold. The pancakes had no ‘bend’ to them and felt crumbly when you cut through it while all the condiments were OTT and too sweet. It might have been okay if you were under the age of 10 and you just wanted a sugar hit.20140627-072732-26852710.jpgThis is all we could finish of the pancakes before we gave up.20140627-072916-26956203.jpgCrepes served with strawberries, banana, vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream all topped off with chocolate sauce  ($12.00). Again, this was cold, underwhelming and too sweet.20140627-072735-26855868.jpg20140627-072734-26854249.jpgFlat white ($4.00). Nothing amazing about it but the slight bitter coffee taste was refreshing between all the sweet desserts.20140627-072731-26851107.jpgI wanted to like it, after all the staff were very friendly and asked us as they walked past about what we thought. It was all underwhelming but I was surprised to find that what I thought I would like the least being the best tasting dessert (the cheesecake). I guess I had high expectations of a place that had dedicated their whole store to desserts that the calibre would be much higher.

After all the sweetness and not being particularly satisfied, I asked one of my friends if they would like to go to the Golden Drum for a bit of supper. She was keen so we left Dessert Castle and started walking up the road when something magical happened….

Venue: Dessert Castle

Address35 Childers St Canberra, ACT 

Website: http://www.dessertcastle.com.au/

Dessert Castle on Urbanspoon

The Pancake Place

The Pancake Place might seem like an unusual choice for dinner but they have an extensive savoury crepe menu and then there are some people who still act like they are five and choose sweet pancakes for dinner *looks at TimmyC*.

This establishment has been in Port Macquarie for more than 20 years and it brings much nostalgia to those who used to come here for a treat as a kid, not because it is still open and serving delicious pancakes, but because the decor, friendly hospitality and uniform have not changed much since.

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If we are going to do a kid indulgent meal, we may as well complete it with an iced caramel ($6.50) and iced coffee ($6.50). It is very nicely decorated with cream, ‘tv snacks’ and sprinkles.
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Large stack of 3 pancakes ($14.90) with extra ice cream ($1.50) and extra syrup. Thick fluffy pancakes that have never disappointed. I’m glad that we got an extra scoop otherwise I don’t think they would have gone far enough for three pancakes. I also like how if you want extra syrup they leave it with you at the table.

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Gourmet crepes~

Each savoury crepe comes with a soft roll with delicious butter. The meals came out at lightning speed, drinks and water came out within minutes of ordering and in less than 10 minutes all meals were on the table.

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Bologneseprime ground beef with onions, mushrooms, garlic, tomato and red wine, topped with a mild cheese sauce (lite bites $16.90).

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Chicken and asparaguschicken, mild cheese and asparagus with our creamy wine sauce (lite bites $18.90).

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Mexicanprime ground beef with chilli, capsicum and beans topped with melted cheese (lite bites $16.90). Obviously not authentic, just an Australian Mexican version complete with Doritos corn chips. I chose a small one so I could fit in sweet pancakes for dessert but even after eating the small one I was stuffed. Lite bites just mean there is less filling. The salad was very bright filled with unusual things such as kiwi fruit, watermelon, zucchini, red cabbage, pretzels, tomatoes, pineapple, canned fruit and fresh strawberries.

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Always fast friendly service here at the Pancake Place, but I think that the savoury crepes lacked a bit of salt and flavour having only used very mild cheeses and the ‘cream of the crop’ choice on the menu would be their sweet pancake options.

Venue: The Pancake Place

Address: Clarence Street, Port Macquarie, New South Wales 2444, Australia

Phone: (02) 6584544 They apparently don’t take reservations during the peak holiday season, it is a first come first serve basis but we didn’t have any trouble getting a seat for dinner.

Pancake Place on Urbanspoon

Breizh cafe

As most people are using their lunch time to quickly walk/run/cycle up Mt Ainslie, I found myself sitting in air-conditioned comfort in the newly opened Breizh cafe eating crepes with my Belgian friend at the Ainslie shops.

I had heard about the Breizh cafe from a reader (thanks Hannah!) who was quick to inform me about the opening of the Breton cafe with unique sweets, French cider and coffee and I knew I had to get there as soon as possible.

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20131219-232459.jpg 20131219-232555.jpgIt is an improvement on the previous establishment with a good layout, good coffee and fabulous sweets.20131219-233227.jpg

Lunch menu: from 12pm to 2pm

Galettes~ savoury crepes made with gluten free Buckwheat flour.
While I was snapping away at the surrounding decor, my friend found herself torn choosing between two savoury crepes and that was even before she saw the menu for the sweet crepes. I just suggested how about we order both savoury crepes then share a sweet one. I’m usually full of these bright ideas that maximise the amount of menu items that end up on the table hehehehe, I just had one request that we get the unusual looking ‘Kouign Amann’.

Smoked salmon, capers, dill and creme fraiche ($14.50). Salmon, capers and dill are usually the perfect marriage of flavours and it is even more so with a crepe. I’m used to buttery sweet crepes so I found the buckwheat flour a little denser and heavier. We were slightly disappointed to find that the crepe wasn’t filled with anything but rather just decorated with ingredients on top, that is probably why it came out so fast.

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Potato, Raclette cheese, Black Forest ham, onion ($14.50). The ham tasted like a wonderful proscuitto with a spicy rind and like any great cured meat was salty but it was balanced out by the crepe, cheese, potato and the sweetness of the caramelised onion. Again most of the filling of onion and cheese was at the tip of the crepe leaving the edges a bit tasteless and abandoned.

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Oozy cheese! 20131219-232904.jpg

 Sweets~

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Apple, salted butter caramel, Calvados, vanilla ice-cream ($13.00). The sweet crepes are very different to the heavy buckwheat savoury galettes. The edges of the crepe were crispy and buttery, there was a enough sauce and topping for every last bite of the crepe and the flavours of the salted butter caramel was heavenly with the soft stewed apple and ice-cream.

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Kouign Amann ($6.00)When my friend went to order our desserts, she was asked if she would like some cream with the Kouign Amann, since it was 1/3 flour, 1/3 sugar, 1/3 butter what’s a little cream on the side? I am so glad that she said yes because it was amazing! Light and creamy with notes of vanilla essence – perfect! If we fell in love with the cream, I had high expectations of this cake. 

It was like eating an amazing sweet bread with lots of layers that you could feel in your mouth topped with a fabulous flaky caramelised top. Towards the outer edges of the cake, the sugar was thicker and forms almost a toffee covering which wasn’t too sweet but gave a great crunchy texture. I advise you all run and go try this immediately if not sooner! 

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A wonderful addition to an already great collection of eateries of Ainslie. There are lots of great unique choices and friendly helpful staff who were very attentive. I am very keen to come back again and try different things.

Venue: Breizh cafe

Address: 15 Edgar Street, Ainslie, ACT 2602

Phone: (02) 6156 0346

Christmas opening hours:

Dec 24th Tues – closed
Dec 25th Wed – bookings only 9am – 2pm
Dec 26th Thurs – 9am – 3pm
Dec 27th Fri – 8am – 4pm
Dec 28th Sat – 8am – 4pm
Dec 29th Sun – 9am – 4pm
Dec 30th Mon – closed
Dec 31st Tues – closed
Jan 1st Wed – 9am – 3pm
 
**Sunday surcharges apply

Breizh Cafe on Urbanspoon

Breizh cafe re-run

—– 19th Dec 2013 —–

Pretty much straight away after I pressed publish on my blog about the first time I went to Breizh cafe, we jumped in the car and went to get crepes that TimmyC was craving for after seeing my photos. We happened to arrive just after the breakfast menu ended but they said if we ordered fast enough they would let us order from it. After I paid, I asked if breakfast finished at 11am and lunch started at 12pm, what would they serve in between, they said that they usually just sell coffee and cakes from the cabinet.

20131226-175441.jpgTimmyC thought his flat white tasted very bitter and it wasn’t very smooth, not a good start to the morning.20131226-175507.jpg

Sweet crepes with home-made salted caramel sauce ($8.00). The breakfast menu has simple crepes and when we enquired about the more OTT crepes on their lunch menu they said that the kitchen hasn’t prepped for that yet. The crepe was simple but tasty with a perfectly made thin crispy crepe adorned with nothing but salted caramel sauce and a bit of icing sugar.

20131226-175518.jpgPork sausage with cassoulet style white beans and toasted baguette ($13.50). The sauce to this cassoulet was so tasty but I couldn’t put my finger on what the flavours were, so I would take another bite and ponder some more and then take another bite until when I put my spoon in there was nothing left so I grabbed my bread and wiped up any remaining sauce. I wasn’t too keen on the white sausage, it just tasted like dull meat and herbs with barely any sear on it.

20131226-175531.jpgYou could see from my plate what I enjoyed most from the dish.

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Kouign Amann ($6.00). I somehow managed to convince Tim not to order another crepe and to get the cake that I talked up so much. The whipped cream was as fabulous as I remembered it to be but the cake however was very different. There wasn’t the toffee crust that built up around the edges of the cake, the top was not hard and sticky and all the ‘bread’ layering in the middle was rather dry and almost stale. This might have been in fact the same cake that had been sitting there since Thursday. I was so disappointed since my previous experience was so magical.

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I was very sad about the kouign amann not being as good, I would hate to think that someone else went out that morning after I posted about it and got the same stale thing as we did. I ended up editing my thumbs up on Urbanspoon to the Breizh cafe after this visit. So far the sweet crepes have not been disappointing.

On a side note, this cafe has a 10% surcharge on Sundays so just be aware if you’re coming for a Sunday brunch.