It takes conviction to open a cafe, roastery and kitchen garden in the heart of an industrial landscape. But when The Grounds of Alexandria opened in 2011, it single- handedly changed the face of the suburb, introducing vegetable patches, chicken coops, a roastery and a kitchen garden.

It attracts hordes of weekend brunchers with dishes such as these gluten-free berry hotcakes. Fluffy and fat, the lightness of these hotcakes is due to the gentle folding in of sweetened meringue in the batter, followed by baking them in a hot pan. Cooking in a heavy-based skillet is best, and getting it really hot keeps the hotcakes from sticking. The vibrant berry salad they are served with, sprinkled with puffed quinoa and edible flowers, makes this one of the prettiest hotcake dishes in Sydney.

Makes 6 hotcakes

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500g gluten-free flour

150g coconut flour

40g baking powder
2 teaspoons salt flakes

1 litre milk
4 eggs, beaten
150g butter, melted and warm
4 egg whites, cold
150g caster sugar
canola spray
30g puffed quinoa
edible flowers, to serve
1 punnet of micro basil, to serve

Sweet mascarpone
50ml agave syrup
200g mascarpone

Berry salad
125g blueberries
125g raspberries
150ml agave syrup


You will need two, or more, 18cm cast-iron skillet pans for this recipe.

Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk and beaten eggs until combined. Whisk in the melted butter to form a smooth batter and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional).

Once the batter has cooled, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form. Place the skillet pans in the oven to preheat.

Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.

Take the hot pans out of the oven and spray with canola spray. Pour the batter in halfway up the sides of the pans, about 2 cups for each skillet, and place in the oven for 18–20 minutes until the hotcakes rise and are golden brown. Keep warm and repeat with the remaining batter.

Meanwhile, for the sweet mascarpone, mix the agave syrup through the mascarpone until combined.
To make the berry salad, put the berries and agave syrup in a bowl and toss gently.

To serve, spoon the sweet mascarpone into the middle of each hotcake, scatter the berry salad over the middle, sprinkle with puffed quinoa and garnish with the flowers and basil.

This is an extract from The Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook, which contains 80 recipes from the city’s best restaurants, cafes and bars.