Cooking with dyspraxia: Oh crepe! I made pancakes

the dyspraxic chef egg and gluten freeham and mushroom crepe

Cooking with dyspraxia:  egg and gluten free crepes

 

Ingredients for ham and mushroom crepes.

Ingredients for ham and mushroom crepes.

 

Cooking with dyspraxia is starting to get easier for me. I have to admit, however, that cooking with dyspraxia may not be getting easy for my non- d glamorous assistant, A.K.A the frog. She is a big fan of all things creme and crepe. The frog, however, is a gluten intolerant and I am egg intolerant, so that means the crepes have to be egg free and gluten free.

This one was more frustrating for the frog than it was for me but I still had some fences to over come. There was a lot of stirring and, as an adult with dyspraxia, I have issues with grip due to a dyspraxic symptom being poor dexterity. I had to spend long periods with the fork held tightly in hand while pounding the contents of the pan into a creamy sauce.

the dyspraxic chef making bechamel sauce

the dyspraxic chef making bechamel sauce

I was  making this one up as I went along, and that is not how the frog rolls. She was getting increasingly irritated and I didn’t understand why. We had role reversed, I was relaxed and adding milk

and flour like a pro, and she was panicking that it didn’t look how it should.

Depending on the kind of crepe you want, add either a pinch of salt or sugar. We wanted to make salty crepes, stuffed with a bechamel, bacon, and mushrooms.

the dyspraxic chef bechamel sauce becomes thicker

the dyspraxic chef bechamel sauce becomes thicker

Two flours is company, three’s a crowd

I used three kinds of flour for these crepes like pancakes, due to the gluten intolerant, so it is important to get the amounts correct, as it is very easy to end up with chewy crepes. In total, I used 200g of flour, if making it gluten free you can mix any type of flour you want, but you have to pick the right ones to complement each other. In this case, I used rice flour, chickpea flour, and buckwheat flour. Rice flour is quite cheap for a gluten free flour and the texture is similar to wheat flour, BUT it tastes like an old shoe, so only use a little bit. I used corn starch to replace the eggs because it is cheap, effective and does not taste like an old shoe.

The flour and starch were added to a pan and then I began to add milk. Because I didn’t have the right type of measuring jug, I had to guess how much milk to use. I spent long periods of time mixing, this time would have been less if I would have added the milk sooner. In total, I used half a liter or so. The key is to add and mix until the texture is right, keeping in mind that gluten free crepes need to be thicker than normal crepes to hold together. Then I left the mixture to sit for about half an hour. It was tiring to make the mix, my hand cramped up and started to ache after just a few minutes. I suppose that is where my non-dyspraxic obsessive compulsive tendencies help along with the dyspraxic determination. I tried to loosen the grip on the fork, but I can’t do it otherwise.

Cooking with dyspraxia: rest brakes

After letting it settle and having a much-needed rest of the legs, I was back at the stove attempting to make a bechamel. To do this, I used corn starch, milk and a bit of salt. I then spent the next 20 minutes frantically stirring while trying to placate an increasingly irritated frog. The French are very passionate about food and things were not going to plan.

The bechamel was not taking the creamy form that it should and the crepe mix really did look like a combination of prison porridge and two days old pancake mix.

At this point, I had three pans on the go. I added a bit of coconut oil to grease the pan and began the process of creping myself.

Trying to spread the mix into the pan in the air and a frog in my ear was pretty tricky. I stayed calm for the most part but a spatula hit the wall at some point.

Hot, hot, heat

I quickly realized that the pan needed to be much hotter. The mix was taking longer to shape than I thought it should, so I turned the pan on full. Before long I had a plate full of pancake looking crepes and in the other pan I had added mushrooms and smoked bacon and it was beginning to smell tasty.

A plate of sliced mushroom and ripped smoked bacon: cooking with dyspraxia

Smokey and the mushroom

The kitchen had calmed down and there was even enough left for chocolate crepes for breakfast.

Give it a go, some hard work and determination and cooking with dyspraxic can be fun and tasty. It did not turn out as planned but it was still a tasty outcome.

wrapped egg and gluten free crepe

On a plate

the dyspraxic chef egg and gluten freeham and mushroom crepe

Mission crepe complete

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‘Why did the Mexican make his wife a lovely bake? Because later on, he was going “tequila”‘

mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.com

I once overheard a lady talking about her dyspraxic daughter and she was saying that one of her daughter’s dyspraxic symptoms was having issues with the texture of food. There I sat being overly nosey in my early 20’s thinking that I knew my dyspraxia inside out, but what the lady had said explained a lot about my relationship with food.

I have always been at the whim of the texture of what lay plated before me. In particular, bananas and kidney beans top the list, but as I am getting older I able to battle some of these textures on my taste buds by mixing them with tasty and colorful things. Which brings us to today’s menu and the first installment of the dyspraxic chef.

On the menu

On the menu today is Mexican bake. This one is for the veggies and the celiac, and those like me who are egg intolerant. This tasty dish is an easy one, to begin with. A bit of preparation and patience and you’ll be licking your lips with devastating hunger in no time. Well, approximately 40 minutes or so, and that’s with all the prep included.

I was tired and completely unmotivated to cook, so this was a good one because it didn’t require too much multi-tasking. I am sure that everyone can relate to that, you don’t have to be an adult living with dyspraxia.

Now, I don’t want this to be a blog dedicated to cooking tips. After some brief research, I think there are better people out there to be offering cooking advice. This is a log, if you will, of my journey into the kitchen.

Ingredients

Mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.com

For this dish you will need:

– Between 100g and 200g of long grain white rice, depending on the quantity you wish to cook
– 1 red and 1 green bell peppers
– 80g of kidney beans
– 100ml of creme fraiche
– 100g of salsa sauce (you can also buy tomato sauce and Mexican spices separately)
– Grated cheese
– Some fresh coriander for serving
– Optional: sweetcorn

You don’t have to stick to the list, there are variations of this dish that work perfectly well. I am a fan of the sweet corn for instance, but the girlfriend (let’s call her the frog) not so much and since she is still ‘technically’ in charge of the kitchen, it is in my interest to keep her happy. Not to mention, more often than not she’s the one doing the shopping.

Preparation

 

mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.comYou’re going to need an oven dish (the size is dependent on how many bellies you have to fill), a chopping board, a small pan, a dish and a drainer. Get your rice and bang it in a pan and let that come to the boil. Maybe add a little bit of salt but I don’t think you’d notice if you didn’t.

While those tiny grains are getting very hot, dice up some peppers. Now, I have a bit of strange technic when it comes to cutting peppers according to the frog. I cut them in half in a normal enough manner, and take all the seeds out, but then I slice them from the bottom up. I’ve kept all my fingers so far. If it works, it works.mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.com

Mid chopping, the frog was beginning to overload me information as to what we needed to do next.

I completely zoned out to concentrate on the peppers before I quite literally snapped back into the room with ‘ I haven’t listened to a word you’ve just said, you’re overloading me and I am trying to cut these f****ing peppers.”

That dish you need should be full of kidney beans. It’s common for adults living with dyspraxia to be sensitive to the texture of food. I do not like the texture of kidney beans, but with them tucked away in this tasty bake, they release a real flavor to it.

If you are as slow as I am at cutting, then the rice should be boiling by the time you’ve cut the peppers. Drain the rice, which is sometimes easier said than done for someone with dyspraxia symptoms, and then take a spoon or two (whichever is the easiest ) and spread a layer of rice across the base of the oven tray. Then do the same with the peppers and, just for a laugh, bring in those kidney beans.

Time to bring some spoons into action and spread the sauces and creme fraiche, only use a bit at first as this is a layering operation.

mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.com
Repeat the layering until you get to near the top and then spread big dollops of creme to top it off. Finish with grated cheese. By this point, you should have a healthy colorful dish ready to put in the oven to bake.mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.com

Whip it out the oven when ready and tuck in. You can add some fresh coriander on top before serving (that’s the frog’s touch).

I found this one fairly easy to make but only because I had all the ingredients at the ready and didn’t have to worry about doing more than one thing at one. As mentioned, I do not like the texture of the kidney beans but I think being more directly involved in cooking helps me get over that. I am learning what each ingredient brings to the dish. The texture of a
food can change anyway depending on what you cook it with and how you cook it, so don’t right off that food that freaks you out just yet.

mexican bake recipe thedyspraxicchef.com

Although, bananas are off the list for me as well as beetroot, a vast amount of things that come out of the sea, some meats and anything with a fizz.

During my brief foray into the kitchen, I have so far learned that is is hard and tiring but rewarding. I find myself stood in one spot behind a hot stove, aching to sit down but driven by my desire to create something whole from some many separate entities.

I bet there are plenty of dyspraxic adults out there and people with all manner of disabilities and difficulties that think that cooking is biting off more than they can chew. But under the right circumstances, anything is possible.

Yours and hungry,

The dyspraxic chef.

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