There is something about being in another country (or continent) that leads to my posting far more than when I am at home. Maybe it is because when I am away I am usually on holiday, so have more time to focus on food. Maybe because I tend to eat with others more than when I am in my New York apartment. It could also be that I have a tendency to go to a country when they are having summer, and this both puts me in a festive mood, and allows me to take better photographs because of the long days.
So that is where I am at the moment – having escaped the blizzards of the Northern Hemisphere, and landed in the height of Summer. Or, more specifically, I have returned to my parents’ house in Sydney for Christmas. As you may have gathered from previous posts, I come from a family of foodies, which makes a holiday based largely around food (at least, that is what Christmas is to us) a particularly rich time for the pages of a food blogger.
And so it might be that, for some, this particular recipe will be a bit of a disappointment. This is because these crêpes are actually rather healthy, or far more healthy than they sound like they should be. I subscribe to get posts on recipes from the New York Times, and so that is where this particular recipe comes from (it is by Martha Rose Shulman from a recent post in the ‘Recipes for Health’ section). However, despite the fact that the crêpes are whole-wheat and the filing is largely low-fat, it is actually extremely delicious and full of flavour, and if, like me, you just can’t get enough goats cheese, you can always double the amount you put in to avoid any low-fat side affects that such a meal might have.
One of the nice things about this is that most of it can be made in advance. To make the filling you place 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese and 150g of goats cheese in a food processor and then mix until smooth. Then you add three tablespoons of low-fat natural yoghurt and some freshly ground black pepper, and blend that in. With this the filling is complete! You can put it in the fridge a couple of hours in advance and use it when you are finishing dinner later. I used chevre with dill from the Australian Meredith Dairy, which was so good it took all my strength not to devour it before I had even placed it in the food processor. The yoghurt is from another local company, Country Valley, which is apparently very difficult to get hold of, but seriously good. In fact, everything that went into this dinner, down to the salad, was Australian produce.
The crêpe mixture can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a couple of hours. Just blend together two eggs with a table-spoon of grapeseed oil, half a cup of water, three quarters of a cup of milk and a dash of salt. When it is blended together, keep blending and slowly add half a cup of whole-wheat flour and a bit under half a cup of plain flour, until it is all mixed together. (The whole-wheat flour makes it healthier, but also makes the crêpes a bit thicker, so it would be fine to just use a whole cup of plain flour instead). Just before you are going to cook them, add a big handful of chopped chives (I got mine from my brother’s vegetable garden). In fact, no need to skimp on the chives – next time I will be adding two big handfuls at least.
When you are almost ready to eat, heat a small dash of oil and a tiny bit of butter in a non-stick pan, and swirl it around until it covers the base of the pan and is very hot (not quite smoking). Then add a bit over a ladle of the crêpe mix to the pan and swirl it around until it covers the base of the pan. These aren’t meant to be particularly thin, but my first one was way too thick and ended up sticking to the base of the pan (at this point my mother reminded me of the saying: “Pancakes are like children – you should always throw the first one out.” We ate it anyway.). The point is that you will have to judge how thick your mixture is, how hot you need the pan to be (though it is good for it to be quite hot), and how long it takes before you should turn it over. It is nice for both sides to get a little browned. I got about 6 out of this mixture, which was less than I thought.
Once they are cooked, cut the crêpes in half and spread each half with a dollop of the cheese mixture. Fold the cheese-covered halves once and then over again. I served mine with some sherry-garlic mushrooms and a roquette (arugula) salad. The bitterness of the roquette and balsamic vinegar dressing really compliments the strong, salty flavour of the crêpes, and the mushrooms would have worked as well as part of the stuffing as they did as a side.