So many toppings, so little time (and so few mealtimes!)
We never realised just how versatile the good ol’ pancake was, until we got together with our kitchen manager, culinary whizz, and pancake maverick Jo. Totally revolutionising the classic flat meal for us, we now have a whole delicious list of toppings and accompaniments to choose from. And while you can’t beat the classic lemon and sugar combination, it’s always good to mix things up (geddit?)
First, you need your batter mix…
This is, according to Jo…
“The easiest and frankly the best pancake recipe in the whole entire world”
Ooh promises Jo, promises. We can confirm she’s not lying though. It’s super simple, and completely delicious!
Use equal quantities of plain flour, whisked eggs and milk (so if you have a ramekin, mug or bowl filled with flour, fill it with the eggs, and then milk to get your measurements – easy!). Place the flour and the eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth. Once you have a smooth paste, add the milk and whisk some more. The smoother the egg and flour mix is before you add the milk the less chance there is of eating lumps of flour.
Slightly oil a frying pan – even when using Cook’s Essentials with its great non-stick, I still oil the pan slightly just to help it along, give a nice golden colour to the pancake, and because I like to make really thin pancakes. The small amount of oil will also help when it comes to flipping the pancake. Heat the pan on a low to medium heat, and using a ladle ¾ full, pour the batter in to the pan while tipping in a circular motion to make sure that the bottom is completely covered with an even layer of mixture.
When the batter starts to look dry on top and starts to pull away slightly from the sides, using a palette knife or fish slice gently ease under the pancake and turn it over. Leave for another minute or two and remove from the heat and serve. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter mix.
P.S. I like to season the pancake batter according to what I serve them with. If serving them with a savoury filling,, add a pinch of salt and pepper to the batter, alternatively, if serving with something sweet, plain or even just some lemon juice, add a little sugar to the mix to taste and a dash of vanilla extract or essence.
Now for toppings! These savoury dreams really turned our heads…
Hoisin chicken (fills 2 large pancakes)
Place 160g of chopped or shredded cooked chicken in a bowl, add 2 finely sliced spring onions, and about 100g of diced cucumber. Add hoisin sauce to taste.
To serve, place some of the chicken mix into the middle of the pancake and roll up like a cigar. Slice in half and serve with a little more cucumber and sauce if desired.
Prawn and avocado (fills 5 pancakes)
Place 150g of cooked peeled king prawns in to a bowl and add 1 diced avocado, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 de-seeded red chilli, finely sliced and a pinch of salt. Stir all the ingredients to combine trying not to crush the avocado too much.
To serve, fold a pancake in half then half again and open up in your hand, spoon the prawn and avocado mix in between the layers, making sure that there are 3 layers one side and a single layer on the other.
Ratatouille (serves 2)
Place one sliced courgette, 1 roughly chopped yellow and red pepper, 7 or 8 cherry tomatoes and a roughly chopped red onion on to a baking tray with 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil and 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs. Place into a preheated oven at 200C/gas mark 6 for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and have singed slightly around the edges. Remove from the oven and place into a saucepan with 300ml of your favourite pasta sauce and heat until the sauce comes to the boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for a 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
To serve, place a large spoonful on to one half of the pancake and fold over the half. Finish with a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top.
Chicken and mushroom (fills 4 pancakes)
Place 200g of sliced chestnut mushrooms in to a sauce pan with 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil, place on a medium heat and cook the mushrooms until tender. Add 200g of roughly chopped or shredded chicken to the mushrooms and add 1 294g tin of condensed mushroom soup to the pan.
Stir all the ingredients together until the soup bubbles and the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes
To serve, spoon some of the chicken and mushroom filling onto 1 corner of a pancake, fold in half, then fold over the unfilled corner and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley if desired.
Cheese and pickle (serves 1-2)
Place one pancake onto a baking tray and generously sprinkle with your favourite grated cheddar. Spread an unselfish layer of pickle on to a second pancake and place, pickle side down on top of the cheese.
Place in the oven or under the grill until the cheese has melted and remove from the heat.
To serve, slice into quarters and serve with a little extra pickle or chutney as desired.
And let’s not forget the sweet stuff…
Strawberry, mint and balsamic (serves 2-4)
Chop 200g of strawberries and place in a bowl with 1 dessert spoon of caster sugar. Shred the leaves from 2 stalks of mint, add to the strawberries with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Stir well, cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours to macerate.
To serve, spoon the strawberries over some sweetened pancakes and drizzles with a little of the juice.
Lemon meringue stack (serves 6)
Using 10 sweetened pancakes, on a board, place a pancake and spread with a thin layer of lemon curd, place another pancake on top and repeat until all the pancakes have been used and you have a layered pancake cake. Add a final layer of lemon curd to the top pancake and sprinkle with some crushed meringues (shop bought are perfectly fine).
To serve, slice into 6 portions and serve with some raspberries.
Blackcurrant and orange (serves 2-4)
Empty a tin of blackcurrants into a small sauce pan making sure you keep a little of the juice back in a small dish. Add 100g of caster sugar and the zest of 1 orange to the pan, place on a high heat and bring to the boil.
Add 2 teaspoons of cornflour to the held-back juice and mix until combined. Pour the juice and corn flour mix into the boiling blackcurrants and quickly stir to mix while it thickens. To serve, spoon a little of the blackcurrant sauce over a pancake with a few orange segments.
Chocolate and cherry (serves 2-4)
Empty a tin of cherries into a small sauce pan making sure you keep a little of the juice back in a small dish. Add 100g of caster sugar and place on a high heat and bring to the boil.
Add 2 teaspoons of cornflour to the held-back juice and mix until combined. Pour the juice and corn flour mix into the boiling cherries and quickly stir to mix while it thickens.
To serve, place some of the cherry mix in the middle of a pancake and roll up like a cigar. Slice in half and drizzle with some melted chocolate spread
We know our eyes are often bigger than our bellies, but we could really eat the whole lot – bring on the day of pancakes!