"Soooo what shall we do today?" I asked Mr NQN pacing the floor of our apartment.
"I dunno. Go for a bike ride?"
"No, I only do two challenges a year thanks" I replied not mentally ready to take up my third ability nemesis. For most, driving a car, swimming and riding a bike are normal everyday activities. For me, aka an uncoordinated version of Woody Allen, they're numbingly frightening challenges. And reserved for momentous occasions.
"How about we go for a walk?" he suggested.
"I'm not _that _desperate for something to do" I snorted and left the room.
In truth I was quite desperately bored on holidays. I'm used to having a huge list of things to do and I knew these holidays were meant for relaxing but relaxing was so....dull. The dishes were all washed, the floor was clean and I had even cleaned the dishwasher strainer thingy which goes to show how truly desperate I was for something to do away from the computer which was the key activity that I was supposed to avoid (and the one that would prove the most alluring).
So far the highlight of my day was a petty act of revenge on my mother. She likes to call on the phone and when she has finished talking she simply hangs up without saying goodbye. I call it "Jack Bauer'ing" (of the TV show "24") and time and time again she would cut me off while I was mid sentence with a "click" of the phone and I'd howl "She Jack Bauer'd me!" to Mr NQN. Today I had managed to do it to her - mid sentence no less!
Yes clearly I needed a hobby if this was the highlight of my day...
How to pitt a cherry with a chopstick. From Lisa's fab site Bake, Bike, Blog. Step 1: Hold the fat end of a chopstick against the hole in the cherry.
I wandered around, solicited ideas on twitter and then decided to bake. Of course. I would make an oven pancake which I had first seen in the Moomins cookbook. Mr NQN's aunt Sisko who cooks all sorts of delicious Finnish and otherwise foods told me that you could even drop fruit into the top and then cook it. Since I had bought 10 stalks of rhubarb and only needed a few of them and I still had a handful of cherries left over (but not quite enough to make a pie) I decided to make a cherry and rhubarb oven pancake.
Step 2: Holding tight onto the sides of the cherry push the chopstick out through the other end...
It was very quick to make and the advantage of this was that you don't have to stand by the cooktop flipping pancakes for ravenous folks. What this makes is one giant, thick pancake that you can cut a wedge off, much like a cake or a pie. The time saving was of course ironic given how untime-poor I was this week. I baked it for 30 minutes where it puffed up (although this puff effect is just temporary). The texture is almost custardy and quite unusual and different from regular fried pancakes. It's quite eggy and rich and rhubarb by itself is quite tart so maple syrup is most definitely needed here. Needless to say that a fruit like blueberry would also be ideal as would other berries or apple. It reminded me of Kaiserschmarrn, the Austrian pancakes bites last year during the holidays. And the strange bonus was that when I saw these pictures I realised that I needed a manicure-now that's another task!
So tell me Dear Readers, do you ever get a teensy leeetle beet bored while on holidays?
Step 3: Ta-da! Out pops the pit!
Cherry & Rhubarb Oven Pancake
Serves 4-6 depending on hunger level
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
125grams/4ozs plain flour
500ml/2 cups milk
butter for greasing
2 sticks of raw rhubarb chopped into smallish pieces and a handful of fresh, pitted cherries or 2/3 cup of other fruit that you like in small pieces
Icing sugar, cream or ice cream and maple syrup to serve
Step 1 - Place the sugar, salt and flour in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk lightly to combine. In a jug measure milk and add the two eggs beating the eggs until combined. Incorporate the milky egg mixture into the flour with a whisk adding it in 3-4 lots. Stand for 10 minutes.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Grease a baking dish and pour the pancake batter into the tray and sprinkle over with rhubarb pieces or other fruit. Bake for 30 minutes until puffy and golden. Sift over with icing sugar and serve with cream and maple syrup.