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Brunch on Saturday: Almond pancakes and vegan comfort eating

In the next of our Brunch on Saturday series, we visit a vegan-friendly café and make gluten-free pancakes

Saturday 20 August 2016 10:59 BST

Blueberry Almond Pancakes with Cinnamon Sauce

Makes about 20 pancakes

for the cinnamon sauce

175g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour (corn starch)
240ml boiling water
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

for the pancakes

3 eggs
60ml buttermilk, plus extra if necessary
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g ground almonds
pinch of salt

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 g blueberries
butter for frying

These delicious gluten-free fluffy pancakes are made with ground almonds and are bursting with warm berries. Cinnamon is not to everyone’s taste, so you could replace it with a vanilla pod, which you add to the sauce at the same time as the butter (before simmering) instead. This is also delicious as a dessert served with ice cream.

To make the sauce, put the sugar and cornflour in a saucepan over a medium heat and slowly add the water, stirring until thickened. Add the butter and simmer for 6–8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside while you make the pancakes.

For the pancakes, heat a heavy-based frying pan to a medium heat. Meanwhile, put all the ingredients except the blueberries and butter into a food processor and blend. The batter should come out relatively thick, like whipped double cream. Pour the batter into a mixing bowl and fold in the blueberries. If you find that it doesn’t pour as it is very thick, just add a little bit more buttermilk to loosen the mixture.

Add a small knob of butter to the hot frying pan and, using a serving spoon, put a dollop of the batter into the pan. Cook for 3–4 minutes until the edges dry out and the underneath turns a golden brown. Flip and cook for a further 2 minutes until cooked through. Fry the pancakes in batches, keeping the cooked ones warm in a low oven, or serve as and when they are done, drizzled warm in a low oven, or with cinnamon sauce.

Breakfast, Noon and Night: by Fern Green, Published by Hardie Grant, £18.99.

Where to go for brunch: The Old Hardware Shop, Liverpool

Vegan cuisine has increased its presence in Liverpool with the opening of four new eateries. And one of them is the family run Old Hardware Shop, located in sleepy Woolton village, just 15 minutes out of the city centre and home to Strawberry Field, the old children's home immortalised by the Beatles.

The café has a familiar homely feel, which isn’t surprising considering the venture is a family affair – all staff are relatives who have been drafted in by the two young vegan sisters, Amy and Rosanna, who established the restaurant after feeling that there weren’t enough places they could eat in the city.

Set up by two vegan sisters, the café is family run and perfects animal-free comfort food

Unlike many clean-eating vegan hotspots, the café is all about comfort eating. The Old Hardware shop has placed fake meat and cheese firmly on the menu. The full English includes vegan takes on sausages, bacon and black pudding. Even the cheese toasties are vegan. The highlight of the menu is without a doubt the generous slabs of cake baked by the siblings. The price is comforting also, two meals, with dessert and drinks came to under £25.

The idea for the faux-meat menu comes from the sisters' reasons for being vegan. “Many of us aren't vegan for health reasons; we are vegan because we love animals which means we miss our old favourite foods and being able to walk in to a 'normal' café and order 'normal' food,” say the sisters.

“We set out to be a vegan café that you can bring your nan to, somewhere that vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters and all come and where no one has to feel awkward.” True to its ethos, it is definitely a place you could bring your grandmother to, or for that matter shuffle in for a hangover brunch without feeling out of place or unsatisfied.

Old Hardware Shop, 8 Woolton Street, Woolton Village, Liverpool L25 5JA;

Words by Kirsty Major

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