Pancake day – The thin British kind

British pancakes

 

So this week Amber and I decided to celebrate Pancake Day in style and we rustled up a selection of pancakes.I used to hate the big fluffy American pancakes but then I lived in Canada for two months, try teaching a Canadian that pancakes can be thin and you’ll be met with opposition. A girl can change her pancake preferences.

However this does not mean that I don’t still love our English style pancakes. I still have fond memories of these thin golden delights, my cousin and I used to beg my Grandma to make us her signature pancakes for breakfast.  At home we used  gather all our favourite toppings onto the dining table and make piles of fresh crepes ready to indulge in a little bit of Pancake Day goodness.

In England we tend to eat the thinner crepe style pancakes and then pop on our favourite toppings.In comparison to American pancakes these aren’t as sweet and are definitely a lot thinner as Amber remarked the mixture looked a little like soup rather than her thick cream like batter.English pancakes tend to be kept simple and sweet with bitter lemon and sweet sugar. Use both, not one or the other as you need that sweet and sour contrast for a true taste sensation. Other toppings include fruit, golden syrup or my personal favourite banana and Nutella.

Although I love pancakes all year round, in England we tend to only have them on the designated Pancake Day which makes them an exciting tasty treat. Traditionally Pancake or Shrove Tuesday was the day before Ash Wednesday the start of Lent and it allowed people to use up their ingredients such as flour and eggs. They would then fast until the 40 days of Lent were over.

In a sleepy little village of Olney, Northamptonshire they hold an annual pancake race in which 25 ladies of the village race along the high street whilst flipping pancakes. So no in England we don’t have IHOP but Pancake Day is still a big deal.

Pancake Day is best celebrated with loved ones as you can cook together, flip the pancakes together and debate other which is best American or British and what the best topping is.

What you’ll need

  • 110g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk mixed with 75ml of water
  • 50g butter

and whatever toppings you fancy

Lets get cooking …

1) First pop the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Whisk.

2) Slowly add the milk mixture whilst mixing the batter. Make sure everything is incoperated. When the batters a cream like consistency add two tablespoons of melted butter and whisk.

3) Get a frying pan nice and hot and add a little spray oil or butter . Ladle in some mixture and tip it around the pan so it gets fully covered. It should only take about a minute and a half . Flip the pancake to give the other side a bit of love. When there done slide and fill with your chosen topping.

pancakes

 

Pancake Day – The American Fluffy Kind

American pancakesIt’s Pancake Day, or just another Tuesday for Americans. Pancakes are joked to be a staple food in American culture. I can’t completely disagree with this stereotype, but I guess being an American who loves pancakes any day of the week doesn’t really persuade people to get away from the ‘fat American’ stereotype. But listen here bloggers, even Ms Brigid Farrell came clean about loving this American guilty food pleasure. “Okay, you won this week” she said after taking a bite of these delicious American pancakes. That’s right, America won this round!

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First trick to creating your new best fluffy friend is to use self-rising flour rather than regular. You Brits won’t believe that a pancake should be fluffy, but the second you sink your teeth into the stacked goodness, you’ll understand why we don’t enjoy your thin little crepe things. Self-rising flour does all the work for you with half the batter.

Let’s talk about sugar. Now we know that pancakes aren’t something to be consumed every day as part of healthy diet. But when they are, don’t be afraid to add in the caster sugar. English pancakes don’t call for it, but you do all sprinkle some sugar on after the cakes are done, then suppress it with a bit of lemon. Either way you’re getting all the sugar, so add the two teaspoons of sugar into the batter and forget about sprinkling it on top.

And what’s the hype on all these insane American toppings? Check out the International House of Pancakes for all the favourites.

On my pancakes I just sliced a few fresh strawberries. But if you’re feeling daring and really American, throw in some chocolate chips to the batter and let the melted morsels surprise you, in a good way. Blueberry pancakes are also an American favourite. You can’t really add much into those crepe like pancakes because they’re too flat. In American style pancakes, a round blueberry fits perfectly.

And on a very serious note, if you want to feel American for a day, get one necessary ingredient. Maple syrup. Americans love it, and you will too.

Don’t say I never warned you when you find yourself addicted to fluffy pancakes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 135 grams of self-rising flour
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • Half a teaspoon salt
  • Two tablespoons caster sugar
  • 130ml milk
  • One large egg
  • Two tablespoons melted butter

Fluffy Pancake Cooking Time:

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In another bowl mix together the milk, melted butter and egg.
  2. Pour the milk mixture into the flour bowl and whisk together until the batter is smooth. Try to make it free of lumps. We were unsuccessful at this, so don’t fret if you have a few freestanding lumps as well.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add a few sprays of my best friend, the one calorie no stick pan spray.
  4. Pour in a desired amount of batter. Small pancakes are easier to flip. It will seem thicker batter than what you’re used to, but this is how it should be. The pancake will begin to bubble throughout. When it does, flip it! Golden brown is where you want them.
  5. Be overly happy about adding butter and maple syrup. Any toppings like strawberries or bananas are a good addition too.

Here’s the link to our pancake day video.

Sausage rolls the perfect party piece

sausage rolls   For this week’s cooking battle we decided to look into ‘the perfect party piece’. I spent a good while thinking about something that was quintessentially British and something that was easily recognised as a party piece, the first thing that popped into my mind was sausage rolls. These juicy parcels of sausage meat wrapped in crisp flaky pastry are simply perfect for popping on a plate and sharing round a group of friends; they hold themselves at a buffet and are also the perfect complement to a summer’s picnic. Most importantly they are very much a British dish (Amber can very much vouch for the fact she’d never heard of this pastry goodness). So the humble sausage roll is as the name suggests a roll of sausage meat which is encased in puff pastry. I always think it’s best to make your own sausage rolls because let’s be honest those found in chain bakeries and garage forecourts just lack a certain something. This is definitely meant to be a treat and they definitely aren’t the healthiest food in the world so maybe just enjoy in moderation. However I say this but Amber and I scoffed the lot all in the name of this culinary journey. Homemade doesn’t have to mean difficult, these sausage rolls can be whipped up in less than an hour and they don’t cost much either which also makes this a perfect party piece. You can make your own pastry but it’s much easier to buy some ready rolled puff pastry from the supermarket and if it’s good enough for Mary Berry then its good enough for us. As for the sausage rolls it’s easiest to use a pack of sausage meat and add ingredients to make them juicy and tasty. I added chopped garlic and fresh parsley to give flavour to my sausage rolls but a whole range of ingredients can be used. Great flavour combinations include apple, leek or sage and onion or you could be more creative and invent something a little bit whacky the choice is yours. Let’s get cooking!   Ingredients –

  • 375g ready roll puff pastry
  • ½ chopped garlic clove
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 400g sausage meat
  • 1 beaten egg to glaze

IMG_4144   1.) Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan / gas mark 6 .Pop the sausage meat into a large bowl and break up into a smoother mixture. Add in the garlic, parsley and a tablespoon of cold water. Mix everything together to create a smooth paste like mixture. 2. Lay out the pastry on a flat surface and cut in half. Divide the sausage mixture in two and spread along the length of each pastry strip (leave a 1cm edge). Tightly roll the pastry and the meat and brush with the egg glaze. Using a sharp knife cut each roll into ten pieces and place on a baking tray. 3. Pop in the oven for 25-35 minutes. The pastry should have risen with a golden crust. Remove and enjoy! IMG_4149

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Jalapeño Poppers – The perfect partner for American Football Fun

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There’s one thing that every sports fan can agree on – chowing down on a few fattening foods is a big part of the game experience.

B and I can definitely agree to that, so I introduced her to the American football favourite, jalapeño poppers. Breaded peppers stuffed with multiple types of cheese, it’s the perfect finger food to pop in with one hand and cheer for the team with the other.

If you’re in the UK, it may be difficult to find fresh jalapeño peppers. I know it was for me. Pick up some red and green chillies, they’ll do the trick. Green chillies are the spicier of the two colours. The red have a milder almost sweet flavour.

B and I are advocates to keep our girlish figures, and since these peppers are stuffed with double cheese, they aren’t on our every day snack list. I picked up ‘Lightest Philadelphia’ cream cheese. Didn’t make our guilty pleasures any less fattening, but we did trick ourselves to believe it for a bit of food indulgence.

The original recipe called for frying oil. Now I have no idea what that is, but I used extra virgin olive oil. I bit of ‘E-V-O-O’ as chef Rachel Ray would say is a staple in any kitchen. It gives a lighter flavour but browns the breadcrumb covered peppers to perfection.

Now when it comes to cheese, you have to have the cream cheese to make the solid sticky consistency. For the shredded cheese that mixes with the cream cheese, take your pick. I used extra mature cheddar. This was a bit too sharp for my taste, so perhaps a pepper jack or simple cheddar cheese would be a nicer choice. Any cheese you choose, it’s all gong to get mixed together into a beautiful cheese heaven consistency.

Final tip before your game treats, don’t worry about measurements. Add as you go. I bought half a tub of cream cheese for 10 small peppers. This was a mistake. I could only put so much cheese mixture in the peppers and had a large bowl of leftover cheese mixture. But on the upside, it is a delicious dip for crackers or crisps!

Enjoy fried food lovers.

Ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Bacon (raw cubed pieces)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Jalapeño peppers or large chillies
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Breadcrumbs
All the ingredients for delicious stuffed peppers

All the ingredients for delicious stuffed peppers

Get Cookin’

  1. Cook the bacon. Fry it up nice and crispy. You can also use bacon bits, but I like fresh cooked bacon rather than pre-packaged and dried.
  2. Grab a bowl and mix together just enough cream cheese, shredded cheese and small bacon pieces. Mush it together. This is your pepper stuffing.

    Cheeze and bacon mixture

    Cheese and bacon mixture

  3. Wash and slice the peppers in half. Remove the seeds if you don’t want a spicy surprise. Use a small spoon to fill peppers with the bacon and cheese mixture.raw pepper

    Cheese and Bacon Stuffed

    Cheese and Bacon Stuffed

  4. Separate the milk, flour and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Pour a bit of oil into a round bottom pan. Start heating the oil on the stove top. Make sure the pan is filled with enough oil to cover each pepper.
  5. Dip the stuffed pepper into the milk, then roll in flour. Let the powdered peppers dry for a few minutes, then dip in the milk again and roll in breadcrumbs. Again, let them dry for a few minutes. A third dip in the milk and coat a final layer with breadcrumbs.grossy
  6. Put coated pepper into the oil. Use a fork or tongs to flip quite constantly to ensure they do not burn on one side. Remove and enjoy once the peppers and golden brown on all sides.
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