Friday, October 26, 2007


These are a bit lighter and fluffier than regular pancakes by using a much lower flour to liquid ratio and the added oil helps prevent them sticking reducing the need to grease the pan between pancakes.
  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 1tbsp oil
Beat everything together(incl the oil). Makes about 8 pancakes.

The classic failed first pancake problem can be solved by heating the pan properly prior to beginning to cook. Another common problem when cooking pancakes is having too much oil in the pan. The pancake is not supposed to fry in oil, it is supposed to cook with a mainly dry heat. I find it best to either brush the pan with oil when cooking or at the very least pour off any excess oil (though this can be messy). In general don't try to move the pancake until you are sure the side in contact with the pan has cooked as it will not stick when cooked, this is how pancakes get broken. If keeping pancakes warm for later put a bit of greaseproof paper between them to ensure they don't stick.

You can have pretty much anything you want on your pancakes. I particularly like nutella, toffee sauce, bananas, peaches and yoghurt. As regards savoury pancakes I'm not too keen but cheese and mushroom can be very good.

Oaty Apple Crumble

Serves ~6
  • 1.5kg eating apples
  • 4tbsp sugar or jam(give sweetness with flavour)
  • Juice of one orange or about half a glass of orange juice
  • zest of said orange if using
  • 280g oats
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 200g butter
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
Peel, core and slice up the apple and put them into a buttered oven dish (I like to use a large pyrex bowl so I can see the apples cooking)with the sweetener and juice, mix it all together. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the butter in pieces and rub in. Stir in the sugar. Sprinkle the mix over the apples and bake at 180 degrees for 35-40mins. Great with ice cream or loads of custard (if making Bird's custard add a bit of vanilla for extra flavour).

I love using different kinds of jam to vary the taste. You can also add berries of different kinds berries and fruit. Black currants in particular work well. Personally I like a thick layer of flapjack topping but to each their own.

Apple Pancakes

These are American style pancakes (though Scotch muffins are also a thick kind of pancake) with grated apple in them to make them more moist and tasty.

Serves about 4 though if you make extra they are fantastic cold.
  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 180ml buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 180ml milk
  • About 4 peeled and grated apples
  • 1tsp vanilla extract or cinnamon (whichever you prefer or according to the season)
Beat everything except the apples together until smooth then stir in the apples. Heat a large pan and brush with a bit of oil. I think this be a good time to say I love tefal and they are sooooo worth the money. I make ones about 15 cm in diameter or 2 spoonfuls but you can make bigger ones.
Great with toffee sauce and yoghurt.

Toffee Sauce

  • 50g butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 2tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
Put everything except the cream into a pan and bring to a gentle boil. Boil for a couple of mins until thick and then stir in the cream.

This is quite a flexible recipe. The cream can be replaced by creme fraiche, yoghurt or similar and the the golden syrup can be replace with any syrup or honey though this does effect the flavour. The vanilla essence is not essential but makes a huge difference though you could try replacing or supplementing it with orange essence. I would not condone replacing the butter with margarine but that's mainly because I hate margarine and find butter gives a much better flavour. Of course you could replace the vanilla with spices.

Soft fruits such as peaches (from a tin or fresh), apricots etc. can be added and softened in the toffee. If you do this I suggest you serve it with pancakes and yoghurt (to cut through the sweetness).

The sauces is great with pancakes, ice cream, waffles and similar. I originally saw it in BBC Good Food magazine but I don't know where the recipe cutting is gone and they don't have it on their site. The above is what I've been using (equal amounts of butter and sugar and the same volume of syrup and diary) I do not remember what it should be but this works really well for me.


Makes ridiculously large amounts.
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onions
  • 5 sticks of celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 potatoes, finely diced
  • 2-3 litres of vegetable stock(enough to cover the veg)
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Can of cannellini/butter beans
  • 150g spaghetti broken into short lengths or just some small shapes
  • A couple of handful of shredded Savoy cabbage
Process the carrot, celery, and onion into small pieces (so much easier than chopping them yourself though this is of course perfectly fine). Fry gently in a huge saucepan with the garlic and potatoes for about 5 mins until softened. Stir in the  stock, tomatoes, and some herbs, I like parsley and oregano. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for about 10 mins. Add the beans and pasta and cook for another 10mins. Finally add the cabbage for the final 2 or so. Season and serve.

This is one of those recipes that can be modified virtually endlessly depending on what you have lying around.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse

Makes 4 regular glasses worth.
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 142ml cream, softly whipped
  • A bit of vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g frozen raspberries, thawed(or indeed fresh but I'm being realistic)
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over, but not touching some simmering water. Cool slightly then mix in the whipped cream, egg yolks(beware of curdling) and vanilla. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks. Stir a couple of spoonfuls into the mix to lighten it then fold in the rest. Fold in the raspberries. Put into containers and chill for at least 2 hrs.

Of course any berries can be used but raspberries go particularly well with white chocolate. Milk chocolate and crushed strawberries work wonderfully too.

Sweet Potato and Pepper Soup

Serves 4 but as I said before I have a problem with soup quantities.
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • About 750ml vegetable stock
  • 175g frozen corn(or indeed tinned)
  • Good handful of frozen mixed peppers(or whatever colours you have)
  • Chilli oil(or other source of chilli flavour)
  • 2 spring onions sliced
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche
Sweat the onion and potato for about 5 mins. Add flour and cook for a min or so. Add stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20-25mins until tender. Blend until smooth. Return to the pan and add the sweetcorn, peppers, spring onions and chilli oil (according to taste). Simmer for 5-10mins until everything is cooked to your liking. Season and serve.

I like very mild foods so I tend to serve this with the chilli oil on the table for people to add more if they want a bigger kick.

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash soup

Serves about 4-5 depending. I seem to have strange luck with soup whereby no matter how little I put in ridiculously large amounts come out.
When blending soup put a spoon in the blender when you're pouring it in so it takes some of the heat. Take it out before blending obviously(though I often forget and it hasn't broken the blender yet!)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • about 300g of peeled and diced sweet potatoes
  • A butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 heaped tsp of paprika
  • Chilli oil (or a red chilli finely chopper or dried chilli flakes)
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • a few big spoonfuls of creme fraiche
Fry the garlic, butternut, and potato with the lod on for about 10mins in a large saucepan. Add the paprika and some chilli oil(you can always add more to taste later)cook for another minute. Add stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 20-30mins until tender. Cool a bit, add parmesan and mustard and blend until smooth. Add the creme fraiche and reheat. Season and serve.

This, like most soups freezer well but remember to freeze before adding the dairy.

Really good mashed potatoes

This make enough potato for 4-5 people
  • half kilo potaoes(my favourite are roosters)
  • 600ml stock, preferably one that goes with whatever it is you're having with this)
  • Huge lump of butter
Peel and slice the potatoes quite thinly. Put them in a deepish(i.e. one that will fit them) frying pan and add the butter and stock. Simmer until reduced and crumbling apart. If you need to top up part way through with some more water. Mash any potatoes that haven't already fallen apart, season and serve.

Vanilla Waffles

My favourite waffle recipe so far (I tend to google something, read about 10 recipes and then make it up). With them I recommend any of the following:fruit, icecream, yoghurt, maple syrup, golden syrup, honey or nutella. Or indeed whatever the hell you want.
This recipe makes ~8 on my waffle iron. I personally struggle to eat 2.
  • 300g plain flour (I tend to use cream flour for everything)
  • 150g ground almonds (can be made fresh in a food mill)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • A good squeeze of honey
  • 100g butter melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 450ml milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence
Basically put everything in a bowl and beat until smooth. Cooking takes about 3-5 mins depeding on heat of iron and how cooked you like them but that's a rough estimate. Don't open too soon to check coz it'll ruin the waffle.