Sunday, February 15, 2015

Two Recipes for Pancake Day

Throughout high school, I had a friend who wasn't particularly religious except when it came to Lent. During this period, I would hear nothing but how lucky the rest of us were to have access to any food we want to eat and how utterly deprived she would be for the next 40 days.

While I wasn't envious of her position, the idea of Shrove Tuesday was quite appealing. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent, where those participating indulge in the food they will be sacrificing during the fast. Pancakes are traditionally eaten as a way to use up rich expensive foods such as eggs, milk and sugar that would have to be given up. 

This year, Pancake Day takes place on February 17th so I have two recipes for you to try out - one is a subtle Chai Tea Pancake and the other is a very easy and gluten free Banana Pancake.

Chai Tea Pancakes
The Chai Tea Pancake provides a subtle spice to the usual pancake recipe -it's my favourite tea in pancake form! You can use a store bought chai tea, syrup or even make your own with this recipe

Banana and Eggs
If you're short of time, the Two Ingredient Banana Pancake may suit you better. The only ingredients required are eggs and bananas. I like to fry these pancakes in salted butter as it contrasts with the sweetness from the banana. The eggs bind everything together so no flour is required -perfect for those who are gluten intolerant. I also find that the sweetness of the banana is enough so that sweet toppings are not required.

Two Ingredient Banana Pancake
Luckily, we are not limited to one day a year for eating pancakes. They can be had every single day -even for dinner if you are that way inclined! Pancakes are a treat in my house because it's Jason's job to fry them so I feel super spoilt!

Two Pancake Recipes

Chai Tea Pancakes (Serves 2)


1 cup strong chai tea, freshly brewed (use a store bought mix or make your own)
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1/4 cup milk


1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl
2. Add egg, mixing to combine
3. Add milk and gradually stir in the chai tea, mixing until you get a smooth batter. Chill for 1 hour
4. Add a enough chai tea to bring the batter up to a pour-able consistency.
5. Add a little butter to a heated pan and pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan
6. When bubbles start to form on the surface, flip the pancake and cook on the other side
7. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Stack the pancakes as you cook and enjoy with a topping of honey

Two Ingredient Banana Pancakes (Serves 2)


1 ripe banana
2 eggs
salted butter for frying


1. Break up the banana and add the eggs to a bowl
2. Mash the two ingredients together with a potato masher or a fork to remove all the lumps
3. Add a little butter to a heated pan and pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan
4. When bubbles start to form on the surface, flip the pancake and cook on the other side
5. Repeat with the rest of the batter and serve when done

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Maruten Ramen

If I had to choose just one meal to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose ramen. Not much beats chewy noodles in steaming hot broth. I don't mean the instant ramen that you get from the supermarket, I mean the good stuff. A proper bowl of ramen takes a long time to make -roasting and boiling the bones takes near a day to produce a broth containing ample umami. Amazing ramen is quite hard to come by, so I was very excited to find some so close to work. 

Mercury Plaza foodcourt is less than 5 minutes away from my work place so I was delighted to discover a stall that serves homemade ramen. You can even choose between thick, thin, firm or soft.

Maruten Ramen serves a variety of dishes from gyoza and tofu to some fusion-y looking dishes like basil chicken ramen and hamburger steak on rice. I have yet to work up the courage to try the latter.

As the name suggests, though, ramen is what they do best and I will share some of my favourite dishes with you.

Chicken Ramen - $12.80
The Chicken Ramen is served in a clear, chicken broth. This bowl came with thin ramen which was firm and chewy. The chicken katsu was flavoured the salty broth which had seeped into the crumb. One of my favourite things about this dish is that it comes with the perfect soy egg, or "shoyu tomago." The soy flavour had fully penetrated the egg white and the centre was amazingly gooey.

Tantanmen - $12.00
The Tantanmen is the Japanese version of the Chinese Dan Dan noodles. It comes in a spicy chili and sesame soup with a generous dollop of minced pork topping. The soup is so thick that is almost like a sauce which coats the noodles. The contrast of the hot soup and cold topping creates a nice mixture in each bite. This dish must be eaten fast or the ramen expands, though this is usually not a problem because it's so tasty.

Chicken Karaage - $10.80
The Chicken Karaage is not something I usually order and, in fact, I only had some because my friend ordered it. The batter is thin and light and is a great option for any of your non-ramen oriented friends.

Tonkotsu Ramen with Egg - $12.00
Lastly, the Tonkotsu Ramen has the most amazing broth I have ever tasted. The fatty broth is rich and creamy which can only come from long hours of preparation and comes with drops of black garlic oil. It is thick and has an intense porky flavour which coats your lips with every mouthfull. The pieces of char siu pork belly melts in the mouth. 

The Tonkotsu Ramen is usually $10.80 and a soy egg can be added for an extra $1.20. 

I could really go for some ramen right now.

If you love ramen as much as I do, Maruten Ramen is definitely worth a visit. It is located in Mercury Plaza, 23-32 Mercury Lane, Karangahape Road, Auckland

Monday, February 2, 2015

Prawn and Corn Nuggets

If you have stepped into the vegetable section of the supermarket lately, you will have noticed that sweet corn is cheap. Really cheap.

Like, really really cheap!

Because I am my mother's daughter, the lure of 4 for $5 corn was too enticing for me and we ended up with way too many. We had been quite busy last week so most of our dinners were paired with microwaved corn. This time, however, I decided that the corn should be the star, not just a quick and easy side dish.

These prawn and corn nuggets are quite easy to mix together and pack a real punch. They are crispy and chewy with little juicy pockets of corn. What more could you want?

This recipe yields about 25 nuggets and make a delicious snack or a light dinner.

Have you been making the most of the summer corn? What's your favourite way of preparing it?

Prawn and Corn Nuggets
A Lucyeats Original


3 ears of corn, kernels removed
300g precooked prawns, de-shelled and roughly diced
2 Tbs chopped parsley
2 Tbs chopped spring onion
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for deep frying

To serve:
1/2 cup aioli
Smoked paprika


1. Mix corn kernels, prawns, parsley, spring onion and flour in a bowl
2. Beat the eggs and the milk. Add to the corn mixture and stir until just combined
3. Season with salt and pepper
4. Halfway fill a deep saucepan with oil and place over medium high heat
5. When the oil is hot, drop heaped tablespoons of corn mixture carefully into the oil
6. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the nuggets are golden
7. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels while you fry the remaining nuggets
8. Serve nuggets with aioli