Whole-Wheat Raw Orange Blossom Honey and Ricotta Pancakes

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Spontaneity. It used to be a part of my vocabulary. Somehow the years have started to chip away at it, giving way to control, structure and routine. I've never packed my bags, hustled over to the airport and picked out a random destination from the departure board - making the last minute booking to someplace I've never been. I've always had a reverence at such impulsiveness.

It seems rather disorienting to me and the lack of structure gives me cold feet. I wonder when that started to happen. Is it part of growing up? When did that happen? I wonder. Structure has always been important to me but I was able to be make spontaneous decisions and change a perfectly planned procedure on the spur of the moment if required. The comfort of knowing that a good plan would hold together if my impromptu ideas fell through was what kept those cold feet at bay. Structured spontaneity. I know an oxymoron - right!

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Several years ago I did make an impulsive decision that changed the course of my life and it remains - to date - one of the best decisions I have ever made. After the 6 month period at the hotel I was training at, in south Germany, I went back to New York got my degree and as I stood in the cool and spacious library looking at travel guides deciding where to take the much deserved break I pulled out a magazine with a feature on south of Germany. I took the cue, packed up my bags and headed to back to Germany.

Germany invaded my senses, it challenged me and had me making instinctive and unplanned decisions. One such decision was to take up an offer of working at a big design and architecture company managing their international division. A few months later I was put on a team where a young engineer was heading the design work the company was carrying out for a cigarette factory being built in Kazakhstan. I met the engineer for the first time on the project on location and sixteen years later ... we're still together. Structured spontaneity. Worked for me.

As our son entered the world things took a change and the structured spontaneity evolved. When we hit parenthood all things spontaneous seems to vanish, responsibility replacing it. All of a sudden there is a helpless and needy bundle that needs hundred percent of our attention, protection and love. Being spontaneous seems like an irresponsible luxury at times. Responsible spontaneity - is there such a thing?

We are still finding out. Truth be told we are trying to fit spontaneous back into the routine.

We spent a few impromptu days in Berlin with a couple of planned highlights that once we arrived, were thrown overboard, playing it by the ear. It was fun as we just lazed into the days, slept late without any care of routine, no deadlines to meet. Long brunches were enjoyed, sipping chai lattes and hot chocolate, savoring Turkish eggs, tropical fruit on Greek yoghurt, Swiss cheese and baskets full of fresh crusty rolls warm from the oven, flaky pain au chocolat and fluffy pancakes.
Berlin - where you can casually savor the world on a plate. It was stress-free and no frantic dashing from museum to attractions, that a planned schedule often brings along with it.

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We got very used to those long relaxed breakfasts and brunches, bringing it back home to last just a little longer. Pancake cravings! The perfect recipe came from the latest book by Donna Hay Fresh and Light, which was delivered to me a few weeks ago by the publisher to test and review. I am enjoying not only recipe testing but the photography has inspired me on many levels. The wonderful William Meppem has photographed the recipes in the book keeping everything in clean and crisp whites - fresh and light just like the recipes are. The book is packed with over 180 recipes that offer balanced and lighter dishes using fresh ingredients. For me, this book is the way we eat at home and I have many of the ingredients in our pantry and fridge. There are great ideas using quinoa, several inspirational ideas on smoothies, pasta sauces and hummus, seasonal recipes from from asparagus salad to glazed beetroots and also those guilty pleasures with a lighter makeover like the chocolate fudge brownie and chocolate chip cookies are included. The book has a variety of ways on how to vary banana bread and some sensational breakfast ideas like the quinoa granola I am making next.

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What I liked about these pancakes was the usage of only egg whites. I often use whole eggs in my pancakes but after adapting to this recipe and using beaten egg whites the pancakes had a lovely fluffy and lighter consistency. In my recipe I used raw orange blossom honey and normal full fat ricotta, which I hung overnight. In the original recipe Donna Hay uses low-fat variety of the cheese and a neutral flavored honey.  

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I am very thrilled to announce that HarperCollins 360 will be sponsoring the upcoming workshops in VENICE & BERLIN with a copy of donna hay's gorgeous cookbook "Fresh and Light" for each of the participants AND we will be holding a special competition with a fantastic prize. Stay tuned for more details.
In the meantime do not miss my Instagram video showing more of this gorgeous book!

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Raw Orange Blossom Honey and Ricotta Pancakes
adapted from Donna Hay's recipe whole-wheat honey and ricotta pancakes from "Fresh and Light" 

Printable version of recipe here

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 150g whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 90g raw orange blossom honey
  • 160ml milk
  • 150g + 50g ricotta, hung overnight
  • 3 egg whites
  • a few tablespoons of sunflower oil


  1. In a clean mixing bowl mix together the flour and baking powder. Make a well in the middle, then add the honey and milk. Mix together until the batter is smooth.
  2. Gently fold in the ricotta with a spatula, leaving some cheese lumps in the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold in through the pancake batter.
  4. Heat a large non-stick pan over low heat. Brush the pan with some sunflower oil and add about 2 tablespoons of the pancake batter to the pan. Swirl gently and cook in batches for 3 to 4 minutes on each side - until they are golden and puffed.
  5. Serve with extra dollops of ricotta and drizzles of honey.

You can use any kind of honey flavored or neutral for the pancakes.
Add some lemon or orange zest to the batter for an tangy citrus taste.


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Our breakfasts are usually of crusty mult-grain rolls fresh from the baker, fruit, jams and preserves, soft-boiled eggs and cheeses, but every so often we crave a pancake or French toast breakfast. Often topped with fresh fruit, nuts and of course a good drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Adding ricotta to the pancakes as here added a sensational tangy texture. I often pair my pancakes or French toast with homemade quark flavored or scented with zest, spices or edible flowers but the ricotta was new and a great alternative.

How do you enjoy you long breakfasts or brunches? What are your favorite dishes?


Venice is booked and taking place next weekend. Really looking forward to the first workshop this year. Both Helsinki and Berlin are filling up nicely and registrations for both are open. So if you want to join me on a 2-day packed workshop focusing on food photography and styling take a moment to browse through the specifics and programme.

2-day workshop in the trendy capital
Berlin, Germany
4th - 5th July 2014
Workshop programme
Register for the Berlin here!


2-day workshop in Finland's dynamic capital
Helsinki, Finland
7th - 8th June 2014
Workshop programme
Register for Helsinki here!

You might like these brunch inspirations from What's For Lunch, Honey?:

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French Toast - Chocolate and Pistachio with Warm Maple Syrup Mango Nutella Whole Wheat Pancakes Granola Goji Muffins

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. I need structure too (it makes me feel secure), but I'm learning to be less rigid and more spontaneous. Not easy...

    These pancakes look and sound wonderful!



    1. Thank you Rosa! I thought you would be the kind of person who needed the security of structure. :o) It becomes harder to leave that comfort zone as one grows older so best you spread those wings and fly!

  2. Reading this post makes me want to hop a plane and come to the Berlin workshop. I've never been to Germany. Not this year, I'm afraid ~ too much going on, including college touring with our 17-year-old(!). But one day, I hope. William Meppem photographed my first book, The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy. I'll have to check out his work in the new Donna Hay book. I, however, am always inspired by YOUR photos, Meeta. They are stunning. As for our favorite brunches? My kids love pumpkin pancakes, french toast, and Dutch Babies (or German pancakes) ~ those big puffy baked things that look like giant popovers. Cheers xx

    1. I am doing my best to tempt you to come here! I adore William Meppem's stuff pushes me to new levels and would love to meet him in person. Thank you Domenica for the kind words and oh my I have not had Dutch Babies in years! I need to introduce this to my son!

  3. Hmm, I am not a really structured person. I'd say I am a bit too spontaneous sometimes. Act first, think later kind of thing and that is something that is not always good either. Although I have gotten better in thinking a bit more first as time passes.. ;) As for brunch; anything goes really but I could sure have these darling pancakes!

    1. But that is why I love you so much and I think we complement each other so well. I learn from your spontaneity and you push me to spread my wings more. Thank you for that!

  4. Meeta, your story resembles mine. The structured spontaneity part. I met him at a coffee shop. While our parents were catching up over old common acquaintances we were catching up about sports, movies and places to visit. He asked me 'are you married' 'no and you' I shot the question right back at him with all the intent hidden in my eyes. Having known him, I am sure , His heart must have screamed at him 'dumbie, you should have asked ' will you marry me' ;) here we are 10 yrs later, with the same spark for life. I love the kick you get being instant but not being impulsive at the same time. That's exactly I read your blog just. Before hitting the bed :)

    1. What a lovely story Smita! Thank you fro sharing it. Great memories here.

  5. I just found your blog on twitter - such wonderful recipes and photos Meeta! Glad you had a nice time in Berlin - i love it here :) x

    1. Hi Trisha! So good you found this space. Hope you enjoy the rollercoaster ride :o) Thank you for your kind words - I love Berlin too. Maybe you would like to join us at our workshop in July!

  6. I have to make these. They look incredible!


Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.