Posts Tagged ‘pancakes’

Considering the amount of people that had pre-made pancake mix or pancake making ingredients in their shopping trolleys and have been asking questions about ‘the best pancake pan’ on social media, I know that everyone is going to be piling them high on Shrove Tuesday.

So when it comes to pancakes what is your favourite filling?  Are you a lemon and sugar traditionalist or do you satisfy your sweet tooth with Nutella/Golden Syrup?  Or do you buck the trend and go for often overlooked savoury crêpes…controversial…?

Why not kick your evening off with this courgette, red pepper and feta cheese savoury pancake before moving onto your usual lemon and sugar crêpe for a night of batter-based feasting?

Courgette, red pepper and feta savoury pancake

1st: Grate a courgette and wrap in a dishcloth to extract the water.  Leave for approx 30mins.

2nd: Chop a large red bell pepper into small dice and sauté until soft.  Chop a couple of spring onions and soften in the same pan.  Remove from the heat and crumble in 100g of feta cheese.

3rd: Whisk together 3 eggs, 5 tablespoons of plain flour, the drained courgette shards, and a handful of chopped mint and chopped parsley.  Season with pepper.

4th: Pour oil into a hot pan and pour the batter mixture to create the best flat, round disk you can make using this thick batter.  Cook on both sides for a few minutes a side.

5th: Serve the red pepper and feta filling on top and roll in half.  Sprinkle over some fresh herbs and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

This recipe makes enough for two as a light lunch or dinner served with a rocket salad or some steamed vegetables on the side.

Dare you break with tradition and give this a go?  You can always have your lemon and sugar crêpe for dessert –

I know I am!

Click here for my Shrove Tuesday blog 2013.

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The pagans knew how to party!  They marked every festival with mirth and merriment but above all food.  Food playing a central part to their festivities.  So it isn’t really surprising that the Christians adopted this ethos before embarking upon a period of abstinence and denial.

Throughout the 40 days of Lent, people are called to fasting and prayer.  However, the week preceding Lent has become a time of merrymaking, culminating on Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

One way to use up the eggs, milk and fats in the house is to add flour to make pancakes.

How to make the perfect pancakescrepes

  • 120g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 210ml milk
  • 90ml water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • butter/oil for frying

1st: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and create a well in the centre.  In a jug mix the milk and water.

2nd: Crack the eggs into the centre and beat into the flour.  Gradually pour the milk and water mixture until you get a smooth liquid.

3rd: Stir in the oil and allow to stand for approx 30mins.

4th: Heat a non-stick frying pan until very hot and then add the butter or oil until the pan is slicked in the butter/oil.  I tend to drain the excess and then wipe nearly clean with a paper towel.  Lower the heat.  Keep checking the heat as you go as you need the batter to cook before you toss/flip it.

Through experience I normally have to sacrifice my first one to the pancake gods before my batch is to prove bountiful

By the time bubbles are forming and popping on top, and the edges look slightly dry the underside should be golden brown.  Only once golden will it be easy to slide the pancake around in the pan.

photoTo toss or not to toss?

All I can say at this stage is to give it a go.  Flipping a pancake is fun.  And that is what being in the kitchen should be about.  Don’t be afraid.  Tip the frying pan away from you and in one quick movement with a flick of the wrist, toss your pancake into the air towards you – always remembering that you need to try and catch it!!

If you are not going to toss it into the air – once the underside is golden brown you are going to need to flip the pancake over.  Slide a metal spatula quickly under the centre of the pancake and flip over quickly and purposefully.

 

 

Toppingscrepes1

  • Caster sugar and lemon juice
  • Nutella, bananas and hazelnuts
  • Jam (with an extra sprinkle of sugar!)
  • Golden syrup
  • Ice cream
  • Greek Yoghurt and honey

As these are more French crêpes than American hotcakes I wouldn’t go for maple syrup nor crispy bacon as it really does not work here.  Think sugary, chocolaty, rich, decadent and fattening, and you’re on the right track.

At the end of the day, if you’re going to give up sweets and/or chocolate for 40 days why not gorge on them until you’re ready to burst?!

Flipping marvellous!

Of all the places I have travelled to, New York aka New Yoik, is still one of my favourite destinations.  Having been there on three seperate occasions with three different groups of people, I can encouragingly recommend this place to everyone.  Other than the typical tourist attractions statue of liberty, times square, central park, etc which I will gladly visit again, it is the food that stays with me the most!

But what actually is American food?  Historically, as Europeans gradually colonised the Americas they took with them ingredients and cooking styles from their native lands.  These influences continued expanding proportionally with the influx of immigrants from many foreign nations.  It is this influx that has developed a rich diversity in food preparation throughout the country.

As these immigrants passed through Ellis Island, many of them settled in New York City.  Creating a melting pot of cultures, race and food.

On my second visit to NYC we stayed at the Beekman Tower Hotel, near the United Nations building.  Opposite our hotel there was a cafe – I think it was called Union Cafe – which severed food all day from 6am to 11pm (I may be exaggerating).  My NY breakfast of choice was french toast with maple syrup fried bacon and eggs, sunny side up 🙂

What can I say?  If you don’t want to have to keep stopping for mid-morning snacks delaying your itinerary to your next tourist queue this is the sort of breakfast you are going to want, no, correction, need!

But this food obsession does not just stop at breakfast.  From a city that boasts ~23, 500 active restaurants (figure taken from nycgo.com) there is food for all pockets and tastes.

This figure also incorporates food stands selling the quintessential hot dog with relish, burger stands and the other New York City staple, the pretzel.

When you first buy a pretzel you welcome its warmth and bready smell.  Holding it in your hands you feel victorious that you have found the answer to keeping warm in New York in Winter – but when you take your first bite you realise you should have asked the guy for relish!  It is too dry therefore hard.  However, for me, it is the rock salt that covers it that makes it an unpleasant experience.  Each bite you take makes you wonder whether your fillings are being hacked out of your teeth!  Not content with this the first time (or wondering whether I was sold a dodgy pretzel), I have then bought pretzels on my other two visits to NYC and found the same unpleasant, salty experience.

Actually make a point of adding relish to anything you buy from a food stand/hot dog cart/burger stand/pretzel stand as generally the sweet relish masks the taste of what you are consuming!

NYC does sweet very well.  Not only is it a mecca for cupcakes and muffins which are amazing.  Stop in any deli and get a coffee (cu-o-ffy) and a slice of cheesecake that lifts you spiritually as well as providing much needed respite from walking the streets of Manhattan.  And it was with this uplifting memory of NYC and those indulgent if not calorific breakfasts that I made American Style Pancackes for my Saturday breakfast!

American Style Pancakes

1st: Mix plain flour, milk, melted butter, eggs, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt in an electric foodmixer until everything is mixed well.

2nd: Pour the mixture into a jug as they are easier to pour onto the pan than spooning them out.

3rd: Cook on both sides.

4th: Serve with maple syrup like a waterfall, cascading over its sides!!

YUMMERS!!

Pancakes…mmmmm! Which type should I make? American style, french crêpe, ricotta hotcakes, galette, gridle cake, pfannkuchen, pannenkoeken, poffertjes, palacinky, palacsinta, blini, drop scones, pikelets, crumpets, waffles the list goes on.  Or so the internet tells me!

“Ultimately, all of the above are a variation on a theme.” 

They all have flour, milk and eggs.  Some use yeast as a leavening agent others use baking powder some even use yoghurt or buttermilk. which as it hits the heat reacts creating a fluffy, light pancake.  On this occasion, and purely because I had a tub of it in the fridge when I planned this weekend’s cooking, I decided on Ricotta Hotcakes.

A surprisingly easy recipe to follow. 

Creating the batter for these hotcakes is simple.  You need to whisk the egg whites before mixing them into the batter mixture but to be honest, this is not strenuous work.  Even bleary-eyed and jauntily dressed in stripey Pj’s this is manageable.  I do have to say I was tempted to use the electric food mixer but I’m not quite sure my neighbours would have appreciated the racket it makes in the still of an 8 o’clock Sunday morning.  Top Tip: add salt to the egg whites before whisking as this helps them froth up a treat!!

Once you fold the egg whites into the batter you are ready for lift off.

The texture of these hotcakes was sublime.  They felt as if they had souffled in the pan.  The ricotta was so smooth yet tangy in the batter leaving a clean lemony taste in your mouth.  If I were to compare these hotcakes to anything, I would have to say that they reminded me of

a light lemon flavoured doughnut. 

It was due to this that I added the raspberries and blueberries.  Even though I am sure they would be just as delicious doused in maple syrup.  However, I wouldn’t recommend bacon with these! 

The only downside is that I’ve got to wait another 7 days before I’m going to be attempting them again!  Or perhaps next time I’ll dispense with the ricotta version and make american style gridle cakes.