These Bumbleberry Pancakes are absolutely delicious! Fluffy, lightly sweetened, bursting with juicy berries. Buckwheat flour adds a little bit extra nutrition and flavour to this breakfast. Jump to Recipe
I have received a copy of the book for this review free of charge. This post also may contain affiliate links, they do not cost any extra to the readers but help me maintain this site.
I have never reviewed a cookbook before. To be honest, it’s not something that usually peaks my interest but I was approached with this offer and I could not resist. I mean, it’s Gail Simmons!! I used to watch Top Chef religiously back when I had cable. Week after week I tuned in, I observed, I listened to Padma, Tom, and, of course, Gail.
So, here I was, reading an email asking me (really, me?) to review Gail’s new cookbook Bringing it Home. And so I did. I decided to try a few various recipes from different chapters in the book and see for myself what the food in the book was really about. And there’s also a giveaway! Scroll to the recipe to find out more!
The cookbook starts with a good and lengthy introduction section, as well as chapters on Gail’s favourite ingredients and techniques. She talks in great details about various chef tips for cooking, choosing ingredients, making substitutions. She describes her favourite kitchen tools and writes about her life. The chapters are complete with many adorable photos of small Gail and her family. I never knew that she is actually from Toronto (my hometown) and she mentions her Canadian roots in quite a few recipes all throughout the book. Go, Canada! The book is filled with emotions and warmth and the desire to share her knowledge.
The photographs are gorgeous and the recipes sound amazing. There are layers of textures and flavours on each page. The recipes aren’t complicated, yet they are complex. It’s not just Shaved Zucchini Salad, it’s a Shaved Zucchini Salad with Harissa-Citrus Dressing and Mint. You don’t get a recipe for a delicious and perfectly charred Hanger Steak, you get a recipe for the Hanger Steak with Arugula- Mint Chimichurri. A plate of Spiced-Rubbed Salmon isn’t complete without a Citrus Yogurt & Fennel Salad.
When I started learning to cook many years ago, I was all about complex recipes like that. Over the past many moons I changed my cooking philosophy and I cook simpler food now. Not because I don’t like complex but because I don’t have time for it. Fully Loaded Matzo Ball Soup caught my eye in the Bringing it Home cookbook. It looked amazing and sounded even better. It required many hours of poaching chicken, separating it from the bones, cooling it, making stock, returning the chicken to the soup, making matzo balls. I wish I had a day of uninterrupted lazy time when I could try and make the soup but unfortunately, I don’t.
The three recipes I cooked from Bringing it Home were amazing. The instructions were easy to follow and very precise. Even if you are just a beginner in the kitchen, you won’t be having any problems reading through the steps. Recipes have little notes and comments to help you make good decisions and substitutions if needed. I chose a breakfast recipe (because, breakfast!), a hearty and delicious vegetable soup, and a dessert. Surprisingly, although it was still yummy, the Banana-Cardamon Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel (you see, not just an upside down cake) was my least favourite of the three, yet still delicious. I wish it had less butter and the salted caramel tasted a bit too salty. My family who tried the cake liked it a lot so it all depends on your personal taste preferences. I will most likely try to adapt this recipe a little bit to my taste, I’ll omit the salt in the caramel and use less butter in the cake.
Rainy Day Ribollita was a delicious, hearty, and easy to make soup. I tried cooking with vegetables (swiss chard and kale) that I haven’t used before and the soup was surprisingly filling. I made a few really small changes to the recipe but I felt ok making them. The snippet at the bottom of the page says that the bread is added to the soup on the second day but I chose to serve bread on the side. I don’t think the recipe changed much by my variation. The soup also calls for a little bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano but omitting it would turn the soup from vegetarian to vegan. My husband I both loved this Ribollita.
And finally, breakfast. Bumbleberry Pancakes! When I was still in high school, my best friend and I used to hang out at a local coffee shop for hours. We drank cappuccinos, lattes, and ate pies and cakes. One of my favourite pies on the menu was Bumbleberry pie. I remember asking my friend about this funny sounding berry, bumbleberry. And she explained that it wasn’t an actual berry but a mixture of a few different types of berries. Gail Simmons explains this whole bumbleberry business in her recipe for the Bumbleberry Pancakes in the Bringing it Home cookbook. “Bumbleberries, for those not familiar, are not actually a type of berry,” she says, “but a combination of those you love most. I’ve always loved this goofy offbeat term, which is common in Canada, where I’m from and where bumbleberry pie is summertime must.”
These Bumbleberry Pancakes were absolutely delicious! Fluffy, lightly sweetened, bursting with juicy berries. The recipe called for a combination of all-purpose flour and buckwheat flour. I have been meaning to try using buckwheat flour in pancakes for a long time and this recipe was the perfect opportunity to finally do it. I loved the recipe so much that I made the Bumbleberry Pancakes two days in a row! I used the recipe almost precisely but halved it and reduced the amount of sugar and salt a tiny bit. I also omitted the Cinnamon Cream and served the Bumbleberry Pancakes just with some maple syrup but in all honesty, no extra syrup is actually needed. The pancakes are already sweetened and the berries provide delicious sweetness to the hotcakes.
I have an amazing giveaway for my readers! The PR company that sent me the book promised to send a copy of Bringing It Home cookbook to TWO of my readers residing in either Canada or USA. If chosen, you will have 2 days to respond to my email and you will have to answer a simple math question. Enter the giveaway right under the recipe and good luck!
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar (original recipe called for 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (original recipe called for 1 teaspoon salt)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2+1/4 cups chilled buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (and more for the pan)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 1 container blackberries (6 ounces, about 1.5 cups)
- 1 container raspberries (6 ounces, about 1+3/4 cups)
- 1 container blueberries (6 ounces, about 1+ 1/3 cups)
- In a large bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and mix well.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the chilled buttermilk, eggs, melted coconut oil, and lemon zest.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and mix together until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter should still be lumpy.
- Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes (I omitted this step), then mix into the batter about 1/3 of each type of berries. The rest of the berries will be for serving.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat, brush with some coconut oil.
- Drop about 1/3 cups of batter onto the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until the bubbles start appearing on top. Flip the pancakes, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat for the rest of the batter.
- Serve with the remaining berries and maple syrup.
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Amazing giveaway for TWO copies of Bringing It Home cookbook by Gail Simmons!