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provided by Diane Vaubell,  a work-from-home-mom to 2 small picky, vegetarians. She is an amateur blogger with obsessive addictions to food, photography and online social networking. Visit her  blog or catch her on @dirott

This is a dish that I watched my mother make when I was a child. It wasn’t made from a recipe because my mom liked to make things up as she went along. In honour of Mother’s Day I’d like to share with you her true adventurous kitchen spirit, in what is a FIRM family favourite.

This dish does take a while to make but I can promise you that it is totally divine and well worth every minute spent on it. You can keep things simple by buying pancakes and even the Béchamel sauce. Simply sauté up the filling, assemble and bake.

The pancake element had my picky son intrigued and he became an instant spinach fan. So I can guarantee that it is 100%  kid-tested and kid-approved.

Makes ± 12 crepes. (about 4-6 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

1 large onion (chopped)
Olive (or sunflower) oil for sautéing
250g mushrooms (roughly chopped)
2 tomatoes (diced)
200g fresh spinach (roughly chopped)
Salt and pepper

Béchamel (white sauce):

6 tablespoons plain floor
6 tablespoons margarine
3 cups of milk
Salt and pepper

Crepes (plain pancakes):

You can use store-bought pancakes (Woolworths sells them in the freezer section) or you can make your own. I usually cheat and buy the Woolworths pancakes…it saves a lot of time.

240g plain flour (not self-raising  flour, which will make the pancakes too thick)
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
410  ml milk
180ml water
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1-2 tsp margarine

To Finish:

240g Cheddar cheese (grated)

METHOD:

Filling:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C
  2. Sauté the onion in oil until they turn translucent
  3. Add chopped mushrooms and keep stirring. You don’t want the mushrooms and onions to brown too much.
  4. When the mushrooms have cooked down a bit, add the tomatoes.
  5. When the tomatoes are soft, add the spinach. It may look like a lot but it wilts down significantly. Sauté until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Season to taste and set aside.




Now onto the Béchamel sauce:

Béchamel Sauce:

You’re more the welcome to make it on the stove but I’m going to tell you how to make it in the microwave – it’s a lot quicker!

  1. Melt the margarine in a microwave-safe bowl (usually 30-40 seconds)
  2. Add the flour to the margarine and stir till you have doughy ball.
  3. Slowly dribble some milk over the doughy ball, all the while whisking vigorously. Take your time with this step. As the mixture becomes more runny you can add the milk faster.
  4. Return bowl to the microwave for 2 minutes – on full power.
  5. Whisk vigorously. Don’t worry about lumps, they’ll whisk out as you go.
  6. Return bowl to microwave for further 2 minutes. Whisk and repeat until you have a thickened sauce. Don’t let it get too thick as it tends to thicken further on standing.
  7. Season to taste and set aside.


Pancakes:

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack in your  eggs.
  3. With a whisk, start to whisk the eggs, gradually drawing  in all the flour.
  4. In a jug, mix your water and milk together.
  5. Gradually pour the water and milk mixture to the flour,  salt and egg mixture. Whisk as you go along. You are aiming for a pouring  cream-like consistency.
  6. Add the sunflower oil to the mixture.
  7. Melt your margarine in a pre-heated non-stick crepe or  frying pan.
  8. Using a ladle, ladle your mixture into the pan, swirling  the pan as you go to coat the base evenly.
  9. Flip the pancake to cook both sides
  10. Set Aside

FINAL ASSEMBLY:

Now the fun really starts.

  • Gather all three elements: filling, sauce and pancakes.
  • With your pancakes in a pile, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of filling in straight line down the middle of the top pancake.

  • Roll the pancake and place it in a baking dish. You use a large dish or smaller individual serving dishes – as I have done)


  • Continue until all pancakes are rolled and in the dish.
  • Pour over the bechemal sauce.
  • Sprinkle cheese over the sauce and place in the oven.


  • Bake at 200C for 20 –25 minutes (until sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden)

(insert pic 5 here)

  • Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving. This “sets” the dish.

You can serve with a salad or a meat dish – if you want to stretch it further.

Enjoy!

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