Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pancakes galore!

Happy Pancake day everyone!  I've been cooking a lot recently and so have a lot of things to post about, but I couldn't let pancake day pass me by without a related blog post.  This has to be one of my favourite days of the year, not only do you have the right to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner (don't judge!) but it's also a chance to get together with friends and enjoy this really simple food which offers literally endless possibilities.

I started off the day by making American M&M pancakes for breakfast.  I decided to take full advantage of my new measuring cups and delighted in not having to do any conversions when using this American recipe for pancakes.  They may not look fantastic, but they sure did taste good!

Finished M&Ms pancakes
M&Ms pancake
For 4-6 pancakes you will need:
1 cup plain flour
2tbsp sugar
2tsps baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1 cup milk
2tbsp unsalted butter (melted) or vegetable oil
1 large egg
some oil or butter for frying

Cooking an M&Ms pancake
  1. Mix the wet ingredients together (milk, butter/oil and egg).
  2. Add the dry ingredients and mix them in thoroughly but don't overmix.
  3. Heat a frying pan and add some oil or butter (use a sheet of kitchen roll to wipe away any excess)
  4. Add about 2-3 tbps batter to the pan and fry on each side for 1-2 mins (it was at this point that I added the M&Ms so that they cooked into the pancake!)
If you're making a lot then you can keep them warm in the oven while you make more.  Alternatively you can do what I do (since I don't have an oven) which is to eat them as I go along!

This evening I had a few friends round for, you guessed it, more pancakes.  This time, however, I made good old traditional English pancakes - so for this I'll switch back to my normal metric measurements.

Makes 6-8 pancakes:
110g flour (sifted)
2 eggs
200ml milk
75ml water
(butter for frying)
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl (which will hold all the mixture) then make a well in the centre of the flour and add the eggs, whisk into the flour.
  2. Then gradually add the milk while still whisking to make sure you get all the lumps out as you go (I used an electric mixer for this as it's so much easier).
  3. Melt some butter in a frying pan (not too large and preferably non-stick) - enough to coat the bottom.  Make sure the pan is nice and hot before adding some of the mixture (not too much or the pancake will be too thick and won't cook nicely - these aren't like American pancakes).
  4. Cook for a minute or too on one side before flipping - if you don't feel confident enough to toss the pancake then just use a spatula.
  5. Cook for another couple of minutes on the other side until browned and flip it over again if the first side needs to brown a bit more, before turning the pancake out onto a plate.
This is the best bit - toppings!  I normally go quite traditional, sugar and a squeeze of lemon, or, if I'm feeling in a more extravagant mood then sliced banana and nutella.  However, having had sweet pancakes for breakfast I decided to go for something more savory.

Russian maslenitsa (their religious/folk holiday in the last week before Lent celebrating both the end of winter and, like in England, the period just before fasting begins) finished a couple of days ago and in honour of this I decided to make a Russian-themed pancake.  So I diced up a beetroot, scattered it over the pancake and finished it off with a dollop of sour cream (this along with creme fraiche is the closest English equivalent to Russian smetana) and, naturally, a sprig of dill (Russians love this herb and use it with everything).

Beetroot, sour cream and dill pancake

For my second pancake I sliced a tomato and melted some mozzarella over the top while the pancake was still in the pan, finishing it off with a sprinkle of dried basil (fresh would have been better but I forgot to get any).

Tomato and mozzarella pancake

All in all I had another lovely pancake day and can go to bed shortly very full and content.

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