May 23, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
Compared to all the other places that I have called home, London is certainly the closest I have lived to Italy. As relatively close as we are, I have had my share of disappointing Italian meals in my time here. I won’t name names, but overly sugared tomato sauces seem to be the norm. And let’s just say that Pizza Hut is still a sit down restaurant here in the UK, a popular one at that. Finding a great place to enjoy authentic ingredients paired with traditional preparations can prove to be challenging.
So we were thrilled when, just after we moved in to our London flat, a restaurant touting to be an Italian Wood-fired Pizzeria opened up right around the corner. Sweet Thursday, named for the John Steinbeck sequel to Cannery Row, has become our local go to for a casual fresh meal. Plus they have a little wine shop in the front with a great selection, including some excellent under £10 choices. They have a Nero d’Avola that has become our house favorite.
Sweet Thursday keeps their menu simple with some great pizza offerings and a few fresh salads and wood-fired entree specials. No matter what your topping pleasure, from classics like margherita and quattro fromaggio to more daring combinations including cauliflower, gorgonzola, & walnut or fennel sausage, broccoli, & cream, the dough is thin but chewy and crisp without being charred. We have consistently enjoyed the food and the non-pretentious, rustic ambiance.
A few weeks ago, when we stopped in to grab some take-away, I saw that they were starting a brunch menu and couldn’t wait to try it! Last Sunday, we found ourselves feasting on a breakfast pizza with mushrooms, sausage, and bacon, baked with a fresh cracked egg. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We started our meal with cappuccinos and amazing dough balls filled with Nutella. Does it get any better than that?!
Yes actually it does! The french toast stuffed with bananas was perfectly crisp on the outside and cakey inside with a gooey sweet pop of banana. Served in a pool of fresh cream and topped with maple bacon it was decadent and rich and perfect for a Sunday Brunch food coma. Lucky for us we only had to walk a few blocks home!!
I happen to love love love banana breakfast items (and dessert items too). So when I’m not shoveling the Sweet Thursday french toast into my belly, I make a pretty mean oatmeal banana pancake here at home. It may not be served in a bed of cream, but at least I can eat them while still in my PJs.
Rather than use sliced bananas as I would with a regular pancake, I mash a ripe banana into the batter so that the flavor is even throughout. You get the texture from the oatmeal instead.
The batter needs to sit for about an hour to soften the oatmeal. So be sure to get it started first thing when you wake up. Then enjoy some coffee and read the cartoons or the gossip section or clip some coupons, you know, whatever your Sunday morning usually entails. Then get back to breakfast business.
When making any pancakes, I butter a non-stick skillet or griddle pan heated to a medium-low heat, space the pancakes out so they have room to spread. Then wait until the surface begins to form bubbles. That’s the sign that they are ready to flip.
Serve with syrup and bacon for a salty, sweet, hearty breakfast.
Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs. sugar
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Butter for cooking
Maple syrup for serving
Whisk together the banana, egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Once mixed, allow the batter to sit for one hour.
Preheat oven to the warming setting (200˚F).
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a nonstick skillet. Cook pancakes by scooping about 1/3 cup batter into the skillet and cooking for about 2 minutes per side. Bubbles will form when they are ready to flip. Add more butter between batches and keep the finished pancakes warm in the oven until ready to serve.