Some pancake recipes

February 8th, 2016

This week I’m revisiting some of my favourite pancake recipes, taken from my weekly Independent column.

How many people know Shrove Tuesday even exists I wonder? I suspect most people simply think of this coming Tuesday as Pancake Day.

In fact, Shrove Tuesday is one of the great feasts of the year, the last day before Lent and all that asceticism.

Which is why you should make the most of it; eschew the boring lemon and sugar crêpe toppings most of us rub along with, and get a little creative.

 

Basic pancake batter

Makes 8-10 pancakes

This batter can be transformed into all sorts of sweet and savoury delights.

Savoury pancakes can be extremely enjoyable – fillings can vary from simple chicken and ham in a cheese sauce, to things like creamed wild mushrooms and herbs. Alternatively, go for the classic sweet options, such as crêpe Suzette.

250ml milk
120g flour
1 small egg
1tsp caster sugar or salt
A pinch of salt
Vegetable oil for frying

Whisk all the ingredients together with one third of the milk until smooth. Then whisk in the remaining milk and strain, if necessary.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, rub with a little vegetable oil, then pour in a little pancake mix, and immediately tilt the pan so that the mixture spreads evenly. Turn after 1 minute with a spatula or palette knife.

If you need to make a large quantity of pancakes, make them in advance and stack them up between squares of greaseproof paper. When you’re ready to serve them, re-heat in the oven for a minute or so.

Batter keeps in the fridge for up to two days; just re-whisk it before using.

Temperley pancakes

Serves 4

In the restaurant, we make the ice-cream with Julian Temperley’s Kingston Black or cider brandy. That said, making ice-cream from scratch can be a bit of a faff, so you may wish to opt for good-quality stuff from the shops.

If you can’t find Julian’s morello cherries in apple eau de vie, you could use cherries in kirsch, or else buy tinned cherries and add the alcohol.

1 quantity of sweet pancake batter
4 large scoops of good-quality vanilla or cherry ice-cream
20 or so cherries in Somerset eau de vie with about 100ml of the liquor
1tbsp granulated sugar
1tsp arrowroot

Pancake 1

Make the pancakes as above and stack them on a plate.

Meanwhile, put the cherry eau de vie liquor in a saucepan with 100ml of water and the sugar, bring to a simmer, dilute the arrowroot with a little water and stir enough into the simmering liquid until it slightly thickens it, then continue to simmer for a minute; leave to cool a little and stir in the cherries.

To serve, warm the pancakes, then place a large scoop of ice-cream at one end, fold them in half, then half again to form a triangle. Serve with the sauce poured over the pancake.

 

Crespelle with chicken and tarragon

Serves 4

This is as great as a starter as it is a main course. Plus, the kids are guaranteed to love them.

1 quantity of the pancake mixture, without the sugar but using salt instead (or use half if serving only as a starter)
4-6 medium free-range chicken thighs, skinned, boned and quartered
500ml chicken stock
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g butter
25g plain flour
2tbsp double cream
1tbsp chopped tarragon

5793400.jpg
Crespelle with chicken and tarragon is great as a starter (Jason Lowe)

Put the chicken thighs in a saucepan with the stock and onion, season, bring to the boil; then simmer very gently for 1 hour, skimming every so often.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and stir on the heat for 30 seconds. Whisk the flour mixture into the stock and continue simmering gently for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens; then stir in the cream and tarragon and re-season if necessary.

To serve, spoon the chicken meat down the middle of the pancakes, then roll them up, place on warmed serving plates and spoon the remaining sauce over. Alternatively, you can spoon the sauce on to the plates and place the pancakes on top.

Pancake rolls

Serves 4

I’ve always wondered, from childhood, why some people call these spring rolls and others call them pancake rolls. A source tells me that apparently pancake rolls are a thicker pastry but, as I can’t seem to find the truth of the matter, I am going to call these creations pancake rolls.

Spring roll wrappers are pretty easy to find these days, especially in Asian supermarkets. I always keep a packet of them in the freezer for emergencies.

You can make them whatever size you wish – mini ones for cocktail parties and larger ones as a starter. Feel free to vary the filling, too. I am quite fond of using crab in them.

16 small spring roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying

For the filling

6 spring onions, shredded on the angle
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small piece of root ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely shredded
4 or 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalk removed and thinly sliced
1tbsp chopped coriander
A few leaves of pak choi, shredded
1 chicken thigh cooked and shredded, or 4-5 cooked prawns, chopped
½tbsp sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Mark is fond of using crab in his pancake rolls (Jason Lowe)

Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan and quickly fry all of the ingredients for a minute, stirring every so often, then season and transfer to a plate and leave to cool.

Separate the spring roll wrappers; lay on a flat surface.

Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the centre of the end that is closest to you. Fold the two ends towards > the centre, then brush with the beaten egg, roll up as tightly as possible and transfer to a tray.

They will keep in the fridge for a few hours but not much longer as they tend to go soggy.

Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer and fry the spring rolls for 2-3 minutes, turning them with a slotted spoon and draining on some kitchen paper.

Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce or similar.

Field mushroom pancakes

Serves 4

At this time of year, cultivated field mushrooms are the best bet for this. Or, when in season, you can use your favourite wild mushrooms.

1 measure of savoury pancake batter
6-8 medium-sized field mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3tbsp olive oil
60g butter
4tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
2tbsp grated Parmesan

For the base

1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
120g button mushrooms, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil

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Go wild: Mark’s field mushroom pancakes (Jason Lowe)

First make the base: heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms with a lid on for 4-5 minutes, seasoning and stirring as they are cooking. Remove from the heat, and put to one side.

Make the pancakes as above, or a bit thicker if you wish, and stack on a plate.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the field mushrooms for a couple of minutes.

Now season them, add two-thirds of the butter and cook for a couple more minutes, turning as they are cooking. Next, add half the parsley and remove from the heat.

Melt the rest of the butter in a pan and mix with the breadcrumbs, the rest of the parsley and the Parmesan.

To serve, reheat the pancakes, spoon and spread on the mushroom base, and then scatter over the mushrooms and finally the breadcrumb mix.

Taken from Mark Hix’s weekly independent column, Tuesday 17th Feb 2015

With rhubarb stocks low this year, it’s time to put away the crumble dish and start cherishing the pink shoots with these deliciously different recipes, says our chef.

Over the past few years I’ve written innumerable articles about rhubarb, focusing on everything from grower shortages to the menace of chefs like me writing about it and then it all selling out.

There always seems to be some problem hiding among those pink shoots.

Well, this year, guess what ? The mild weather has befuddled the indoor crops at the rhubarb triangle in Wakefield, Yorkshire, so they have been slow to grow. And now, the rest of the UK has been denied its rhubarb.

So, this year, let’s use the tender pink stems sparingly and not just throw them into a boring, old crumble.

Grilled ox liver with rhubarb

Serves 4

Grilled ox liver with rhubarb Jason Lowe
In my youth, ox liver would be braised unto death – or at least, until it started to turn a sickly shade of green.

Slice and grill it like calf’s liver (removing any sinew) – and then it tastes brilliant.

Ideally you want a small-ish liver from a younger animal.

  • 4 or 8 slices from an ox liver, cut about ½cm-thick
  • 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A little vegetable oil for brushing
  • 
1-2 sticks of rhubarb, trimmed
  • 120ml cider vinegar
  • 100ml caster sugar

For the sauce

  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • A good knob of butter
  • 1tsp plain flour
  • 
½tsp tomato purée
  • 100ml red wine
  • 250ml beef stock

First make the sauce: melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes, until lightly coloured.

Add the flour and tomato purée and stir well over a low heat for a minute. Gradually add the red wine, stirring to avoid lumps, and then gradually add the beef stock.

Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for about 20-25 minutes, giving the occasional whisk, until the sauce has reduced by about two-thirds and thickened. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid.

Cut the rhubarb into 4-5cm lengths, then cut them into ½cm-wide sticks and put them into a bowl.

Bring the vinegar to the boil, stir in the sugar until melted and bring back to the boil.

Pour over the rhubarb, cover with clingfilm and leave for about an hour or until required.

To serve, heat a ribbed griddle pan on the stove, season the slices of liver on both sides, brush the griddle pan with oil and cook the liver for 1-2 minutes on each side, keeping them nice and pink.

Finally, spoon a little of the hot sauce on to warmed serving plates, place the liver on top, then drain and scatter the rhubarb over.

Rhubarb and ginger fizz

Serves 2- 4

This is perfect for those on the wagon right now.

  • 200-250g rhubarb, roughly chopped
  • 
60g root ginger, scraped and coarsely grated
  • 
100g sugar
  • Good-quality lemonade to finish
  • 
Ice cubes

Rhubarb and ginger fizz is perfect for those on the wagon right now (Jason Lowe)

Put the rhubarb, ginger and sugar in a pan with about 250ml water, bring to a simmer on a low heat, stirring so the sugar dissolves, and continue cooking for 6-7 minutes.
Strain through a sieve into a bowl, squeezing all of the pulp through with the back of a spoon. Leave to cool and discard the pulp.
To serve, half fill some tall glasses with ice, add as much of the syrup as you wish and top up with lemonade or sparkling wine.

Mackerel on toast with rhubarb

Serves 4

I don’t normally buy mackerel at this time of year, but there have been some good catches already down in the West Country.

As with gooseberry, the tartness of rhubarb goes well with the oiliness of the mackerel.

  • 2-4 fillets from medium to large mackerel, boned
  • 150-200ml rapeseed oil
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 2tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 
2tsp sea salt
  • Rhubarb (follow the ox liver recipe)
  • 4 slices of baguette, cut on the angle

Trim the belly from the mackerel and cut them into 2cm slices straight down the fillet.

Meanwhile, put the rapeseed oil in a saucepan with the thyme, pepper and salt, bring to a simmer and continue simmering for a couple of minutes. Then remove from the heat, drop in the mackerel, cover and leave to cool in the oil.

To serve, put a ribbed griddle pan on the stove, brush the slices of baguette with some of the oil that the mackerel was cooked in, and cook for a minute or so on each side, until crisp. Arrange the mackerel on top and scatter the rhubarb over.

Rhubarb Blancmange

Serves 4

Old classics such as blancmange are back. In the 1970s, when they were last in vogue, they would be flavoured with artificial fruit – not today though, thank goodness. Now it is all about fresh flavours.

  • 400g rhubarb, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 large gelatine leaf (3g)

Put the rhubarb in a saucepan with the sugar over a low heat with 100ml water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking on a low heat for 7-8 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft, then strain into a sieve over a bowl, pressing the rhubarb with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Transfer the juice to a clean pan and simmer it until you have about 150ml.
Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water for a few minutes, until soft, then squeeze out the water and stir into the rhubarb syrup.
Pour the syrup into 4 individual jelly moulds or 1 large one.

Blend the remaining rhubarb in the sieve into a purée in a liquidiser and put to one side.

For the Blancmange

  • 3 leaves of gelatine (9g)
  • 
200ml full-fat milk
  • 150ml double cream
  • 
The rhubarb purée
  • 
90g caster sugar

Bring the milk, cream and sugar to the boil and at the same time soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves.

Remove the milk from the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Leave the mixture to cool (standing the pan in a bowl of ice will help). When cool, but not set, stir in the rhubarb purée and pour in to the moulds on top of the jelly.

Return to the fridge for 2-4 hours, or until set. To turn out, dip the moulds briefly in boiling water, then push the edges with your fingers to let the air escape. Turn out carefully.

*From the Independant.co.uk 

While most of us like traditional fare at Christmas, that doesn’t mean you can’t ring the changes by tweaking and improving cooking methods, or finding new ways of serving the regular ingredients.

Find the recipe on the Independent website

Serves 4

I love to eat good roast duck and served this way, with apples and flaming Somerset cider brandy, it will make a stunning and showy centrepiece to any festive meal. Somerset cider brandy is available from www.ciderbrandy.co.uk

2 good-quality oven-ready ducks weighing about 1.5kg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 apples, core removed and cut into 6 wedges each
100ml Somerset cider brandy

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.

Heat a roasting tray in the oven for about 10 minutes or so.

Season the ducks and place in the tray with the breasts down and roast for about 30 minutes, draining off any fat as they are cooking (you can keep this for your potatoes).

Turn the oven down to 200C/gas mark 6 and continue cooking the duck for another 30 minutes, adding the apples after 45 minutes and basting the duck and apples as they are cooking.

Insert a skewer or the point of a knife into the leg joint and if the juices run clear then the duck is cooked – if not, return it to the oven for another 15 minutes or so.

To serve, transfer the duck and apples to an ovenproof table dish, draining off any excess fat. Return to the oven for 10 minutes, or heat on the stove top.

Heat the cider brandy in a small saucepan, take it to the table with the duck, set light to the cider brandy with a match and pour over the duck. Leave the flames to settle then joint and carve the duck.

If you live in the countryside, you are unknowingly surrounded by lots of tasty wild foods. When I cook a dinner party at home, be it in London or Dorset, I try to balance the menu with some “can’t buy in the shops” ingredients. It’s always a good conversation point; people love talking food these days. We will be having a wild food week at Hix Mayfair at the end of next month, which will feature dishes similiar to the ones that follow.

Centuries ago it would have been the norm to live off the land: foraging, fishing and hunting would have taken the place of a supermarket shop. Imagine never knowing what, if anything, your next meal was going to be…