Friday, 31 August 2012

Meals on the Cheap: Vegan Banana Pancakes (with Homemade Almond Milk)

I didn't post on Wednesday because it was my little tiny Naomie's 2nd (!) birthday. I don't feel like I've had her long enough for her to be two, but at the same time it feels like I've always had her. Since we are still in Turkey, we had a little party with our family here and I made her a little birthday sundae. I made one for the other kids aswell and one for me (since I did all the hard work :P) and put two candles on Naomie's. She loved it!

I want to share a vegan recipe today that I came up with the other day. I never thought that I would want to become vegan, but we seem to have accidentally fallen into it. I decided to cut out meat and eggs and I think the kids are intolerant to dairy so we are pretty much vegan!

We do still have honey so we are not truly vegan, but that doesn't stop me from making as many vegan meals as possible. Incidentally, the cake in Naomie's birthday sundae was vegan, made using this recipe and it turned out really nice! I did use cream made out of cow's milk because there is so little choice in Turkey for vegans. According to my Mam, they have just started selling soya products in the supermarkets here but I don't like eating soya because it is largely genetically modified.

Before making the pancakes, I looked around a bit since I had never cooked vegan so I didn't really know where to start. There is a LOT of choice for substituting eggs and milk but in the end I went with mashed banana to substitute the egg and homemade almond milk (which I will put a recipe for at the end of the post) to substitute the milk. (I have since made this recipe using only water and it was still scrummy!) I also added baking powder and a little bit of sugar since most of the recipes I found had some in.

Vegan Banana Pancakes (serves 4):

2 unpacked cups plain flour
2.5tsps baking powder
1tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 x ripe bananas, mashed (makes just over 1/2 cup mashed banana)
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup water

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar. In another smaller bowl, mix together the vanilla extract, mashed banana, almond milk and water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry bowl and mix to combine. Don't be too worried about getting all the lumps out. I mixed mine until just combined with a fork and they came out lovely. The mixture will be thicker than a 'normal' pancake batter but so long as it is still pourable then just go with it. For bigger pancakes you could add more water or milk but you need the batter to be a bit thick for the mini ones so they hold their shape whilst cooking.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and drop the batter into the pan (I made each pancake with two tbsps of batter spread around a little into a rough circle just to help them cook a little quicker). Fry on one side until bubbles appear then flip. Cook for a few mins on the other side and serve hot or cold. I managed to get 16 mini pancakes out of my batter, which was plenty for me and the kids with some spare!

I served ours with fresh fruit which made them taste sooo sweet but they would be lovely served with honey and lemon or even more sugar sprinkled on top. My brother had some with chocolate sauce and they are so nice plain aswell. Bear in mind though that some toppings may not be vegan if that is how you prefer to eat them.

Homemade Almond Milk:

1 cup raw almonds
water for soaking
2 cups water
3 dates, pitted

Soak the nuts in plenty of cold water for about 24 hours. After soaking, discard the dirty water and rinse well. In a blender, mix together the almonds, 2 cups fresh water and the dates. Blend until smooth then strain through a muslin. Store in the fridge for about 3 days. Shake well before using.


Find more Meals on the Cheap posts here.

I don't know about you but we are really struggling at the minute with our money situation and I am in need of some cheap but nutritious meals to keep us going and keep our food bills down.

I have been scouring the internet for recipe ideas to help me plan the next months meals and I will be sharing a new one every Wednesday.

I have decided to cut down our meat by half and bulk meals out with beans and chickpeas. I find that we spend quite a lot on meat as I don't like buying the value range at our supermarket, but this obviously ends up being pretty expensive.

I hope by the end of this, we'll have saved quite a lot of money on our food bills! 

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