Said goodbye to Limpopo and hello to Mpumalanga. As soon as we reached our first town, Graskop, we were bombarded left right and centre with pancake shops, cafés and restaurants. Not knowing that Graskop was famous for pancakes, we were quite intrigued and beginning to get slightly hungry at the thought. It turns out that during the mining era, the miners would form queues right around the block to a local lady’s house where she would prepare fresh pancakes for them during shifts. She became so popular that other pancake houses began to open – the most famous of these being Harrie’s –still open today.
As you can imagine with the most popular pancake house in town, it was full to the brim of tourists and sadly we couldn’t get a table. Wandering a mere 20 metres down the road, we luckily found ‘Graskop Pancakes’, a sweet place that turned out to be quite the little gem. Owner Rod agreed to let me mosey into the kitchen and observe the pancakes being made. Unfortunately Gloria the chef had already prepared the morning’s batch, but nevertheless it was fun to learn what weird and wonderful fillings people choose and see her prepare them.
I selected the traditional mince filling while Rog was ever so slightly more adventurous, with ‘chicken a la king’ as his choice (for anyone that doesn’t know what that it –creamy chicken and mushrooms).
They were absolutely scrumptious, and forgetting the calories for a moment, I relished every second of my pancake eating experience. Half way through however, I was full to the brim and had to surrender, very reluctantly I may add. Rog being the trooper he is, stepped up to the plate (mind the pun) and managed to polish off his own as well as my neglected half. Job well done.
My mum used to make delicious savoury pancakes every time my little brother came home from university, mainly because they are his favourite but also because we felt too indulgent to eat them ourselves on a regular basis. She fills them with chicken, mushrooms and cheesy white sauce and they are quite miraculous. So for me, pancakes still remain a real treat. Pancake Day in my opinion is an ideal day; a day when you can guiltlessly devour as many pancakes as you see fit without feeling like too much of a heffa lump.
For a healthier alternative though, why not try gluten free buckwheat pancakes filled with chicken, feta and roasted veggies, or even Quorn mince and fresh tomatoes if you like the idea of the traditional filling. I also like the idea of hard boiled egg with chopped spring onions, flaked tuna and a touch of low fat mayo or crème fraîche. Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy your pancakes as much as I did in Graskop!