Cinnamon sugar pancakes

I have already posted a recipe for savoury pancakes on this website, but I thought I would share the recipe again in a sweet format. I grew up with pancakes as a treat. We used to call them bazaar pancakes, and could usually by them for a next to nothing whenever the church or school or a charity event held a bazaar to raise money. It is quite common throughout South Africa, and you are sure to find a couple of retired ladies baking pancakes in aid of something or another in every small town in South Africa. My gran used to be one of those ladies, and this is her recipe…

The recipe gives approximately 20 large pancakes

2 cups water

2 eggs

30 ml white spirit vinegar

63 ml oil

2 cups cake flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ml salt

Whisk all the wet ingredients together. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. And whisk gently together until the batter has a smooth consistancy. The batter should be very runny and thin-if not the case add more water until the batter is runny (less thick than pouring cream!).

Heat a dash of oil in a pan, or use a non-stick pan. Add the batter, swirl acros the surface of the pan, and allow to bake for 5-8 minutes. The pancake is ready to flip, once all the sides have curled inwards. Flip the pancake once, and bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, place on a plate and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Repeat the process. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!  These pancakes can also be frozen once made.

Bolognaise filled pancakes topped with a creamy white sauce

The heat has finally broken in Cape Town, and made way for rolling mist from the sea and cloudy, cooler weather. It really is a great change, and I look forward to getting out and about in my veggie garden today. With the cooler weather (and on my beau’s insistence, with dessert in mind), I decided on pancakes filled with a basil bolognaise sauce, drizzled with a creamy white sauce and topped with white Gouda and parmesan for dinner. The end result-creamy, crispy and filling! This recipe gives 4 large portions (2 pancakes per portion).

This pancake recipe is also my gran’s recipe.  I remember calling her just after I went to varsity, short on money, and in dire need of some cinnamony reassurance.  This is the recipe she gave me, and I still have the same hand-written note pinned on my fridge today. This recipe gives 20 thin pancakes and 13-15 thick and thin pancakes (If used for filling, I make thick pancakes). I made 8 thick pancakes for the savoury filling and the rest I used for a cinnamon filling.


2 1/2 cups water

2 eggs

30 ml white spirit vinegar

63 ml cooking or olive oil

2 cups flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ml salt

Whisk all the wet ingredients together, before sifting in the dry ingredients.  Whisk everything together until there are no more lumps present.  Let the batter rest for 30 minutes before frying the pancakes in a non stick pan lightly coated with oil. Again, if I want to fill and bake the pancakes afterwards, I make thicker pancakes, but if I want to cover them with cinnamon sugar I make thin pancakes.  The pancake is ready to flip once all the sides have curled inward (about 5-8 minutes after pouring the batter). Flip over once, and allow to brown for another 2 minutes before removing from the pan. Set aside. If you are making cinnamon pancakes, cover them with sugar and cinnamon after removing from the pan. For the savoury pancakes, do not add any cinnamon or sugar. Reduce the crispiness by placing them on top of each other as the come out of the pan; this will help with the rolling later. Set aside.

Bolognaise sauce:

200-250 grams lean mince

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tin tomato paste (70 grams)

1 can whole peeled tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (I use cherry)

5-6 leafs fresh basil, finely chopped

2-3 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup water

1 carrot, very finely grated

Heat a dash of olive oil in a large pot, and sauté the garlic and onions for 5-6 minutes .  Add the cumin and coriander and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the mince and brown for aproximately 8-10 minutes, before adding the tomato paste. Stir in, then add the carrot, canned tomato and water. Allow to simmer over a low temp for 30-40 minutes or until most of the fluid has reduced. Add the fresh herbs, stir through and simmer for another 5-10 minutes before removing it form the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

White sauce:

2-3 tablespoons butter

2 heaped tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cup milk

salt to taste

Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat. Add the flour, and stir in. I use a whisk to ensure a smooth roux (flour butter mix). Slowly stir in the milk whilst whisking, and allow to thicken for a couple of minutes. If the sauce is to thick, add another dash of milk.  I made a thick sauce for this recipe, because I did not want to cover the pancakes completely. Once thickened, set aside.

Assembly of pancakes:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Starting from the top of your pile of pancakes, add two to three tablespoons of the bolognaise sauce along the length of the pancake towards the edge. Lightly roll the pancake to ensure that the filling is in the middle. Place in a prepared baking dish. Do the same for the rest of the pancakes. Once all the pancakes are filled, and in the baking dish, drizzle with white sauce and cover with mozzarella or a hard white cheese such as Gouda and parmesan ( I used a combination of the latter). Place in the oven and bake until golden brown.

I served this with a small green salad. Although this recipe is labour intensive, it is delicious and absolutely worth the effort if you have time.  A perfect slow-food meal for the weekend if it is cold and rainy outside.

Cinnamony moussaka

I usually make this recipe if I want to impress someone. Although it takes some time to make, it’s not difficult and once prepared can be left to set until you are ready to bake it. Moussaka has rich cinnamon flavours which is complimented by the red wine in the mince sauce. The dish comprises of three parts- the cinnamon mince, layers of grilled aubergine (eggplant) and a think white sauce.

Traditionally aubergine is prepared by cutting it length-wise in thick slices, salting it and letting it stand, allowing the bitter taste, associated with the vegetable, to withdraw.  You then rinse the slices and grill or fry the aubergine. I skip this step, first of all to minimise the amount of salt that I use, and secondly, my aubergine has never tasted bitter to me. This might be personal choice, and as I mention on my home page- I firmly believe that recipes serve as guidelines and ideas, that can be changed and modified according to your taste and what you have available. Cooking is about having fun, being creative and sharing!

Back to the recipe:

3 medium sized, firm and fresh aubergines, thickly (0.5 cm-1 cm) cut

I grill them without any dressing in a sandwich press, but you can also rub them with olive oil and grill them in a oven at 180 degrees Celsius until they turn golden or are done (usually about 15 min)

Once grilled, keep aside

For the mince:

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped

2 tablespoon olive oil

400 gram lean mince

70 grams tomato paste (1 small tin)

2 tablespoons cinnamon

3/4 cup red wine

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh, chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a pan. Sauté the onions and garlic for 5-8 minutes, then add the mince. Brown the mince, and add the tomato paste. Mix well, and add the cinnamon. Again, mix well, add the wine and water, put a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.  The fluid should evaporate. Add the parsley, salt and pepper to taste and set aside

For the white sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 heaped normal dessert spoons cake flour

1 1/2 cup milk

salt to taste

handful of cheese to flavour the sauce if so desired

Cheese to top the dish for baking

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour.  Stir (or whisk) continuously whilst slowly adding the milk, and allow to thicken between each addition.   Add salt and cheese to taste once sauce has thickened and set aside. If the sauce is to thick, you can always add more milk if you wish to have a thinner sauce.

Assembly of the moussaka:

Grease a medium-sized oven casserole ( I used a 20 cm X 20 cm dish). First place a layer of grilled aubergine, followed by a layer of mince. End with a layer of aubergine at the top (I get 3 layers aubergine, and 2 mince layers). Cover the top layer of aubergine with white sauce and cheese and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the dish to stand for 10 minutes before serving with a green salad.