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Don’t Go Baking My Heart

Valentines and Pancake day are fast approaching. Whether you plan to indulge alone or treat your special someone to breakfast in bed, I have a recipe that will have you salivating from the batter to the plate!

I’ve never been one for boring pancakes (yes, I class English pancakes as boring), so when I stumbled across the Red Velvet pancake on the iHop menu I knew it would become one of my favourite recipes. I admit, this recipe requires a little more patience than most pancakes but believe me when I say it is worth it.

Ingredients

Plain flour 120g
Baking powder 3 tsp

Pinch of salt
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Caster Sugar 3-4 tbsp (or to taste)
Egg x1 (beaten)
Red food colouring x4 tsp
Vanilla Extract x2 tsp
Buttermilk 6fl oz.
Unsalted Butter (melted) x2 tbsp
Bicarbonate of Soda x1 tsp (Optional)
White distilled vinegar x1 tsp (Optional)
Extra butter or Olive oil for greasing the frying pan.

N.B. The brand of cocoa powder and red food colouring are two of the most important ingredients as they will determine the richness of the red colour. If you opt for a cheap cocoa powder and food colouring the pancakes will come out brown. My favourite tried and tested products are Green & Black’s cocoa powder and Dr. Oetker food colouring, for any red velvet bakes. If using the Dr. Oetker food colouring purchase two tubes which measures out at 4 tsp.

Begin by sifting the flour and dry ingredients into a bowl one by one and set aside (i.e. Flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg for a few seconds until well mixed.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over the lowest heat, ensuring that it does not burn. When melted, add to the egg and butter mixture, along with the vanilla extract and whisk together.

Pour the buttermilk into a measuring jug and add the red food colouring to the jug itself. Mix together with a spoon until the buttermilk is red in colour. Next, add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to the buttermilk and stir in well. (N.B. Although all good red velvet recipes call for this step, I once forgot to add this part to the recipe and I didn’t taste a dramatic difference, so it can be optional)

Add half of the buttermilk to the wet mixture and use the whisk to mix well. Then sift half of the dry ingredients into the bowl and whisk; repeat this process until all ingredients are combined.

The trickiest part of the recipe is ensuring that the pancakes don’t burn. This will require your full attention:
Heat a frying pan on low-medium heat and drop in a small amount of butter or olive oil; tilt the frying pan so that the full surface is covered, and using a ladle pour a small amount of the batter into the centre of the pan.

Once you begin to see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake, flip it over using a spatula. Warning, if the pancakes are looking too dark they may be burning! Don’t panic, turn down the temperature and cook them on a lower heat. (That’s the most tedious part).

Serve with a drizzle (or dollop) of cream cheese frosting, sprinkle with icing sugar, drown in maple syrup or marry with a sweet berry compote.

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Flippin’ Frenzy!

Happy Pancake day!

It’s my third favourite day of the year, after Christmas and my birthday! Now, you must understand that the depth of love I have for pancakes is the type of love that most people have for pizza. (As you may have seen throughout my blog, pancakes are a regular part of my diet.) 

For the past couple of years I’ve promised myself that I would venture away from the traditional pancakes and attempt something a bit more adventurous. This year I’ve been willing to deny my sweet tooth its sickly pleasures and I attempted my first savoury pancake. I admit, the idea wasn’t wholly my own; on my first trip to NYC in 2008 the idea of a savoury pancake was thrust upon me when the waitress delivered my maple syrup pancakes, topped with sausages, bacon and eggs! Eggs! On my pancakes! I was mortified! It took me the entire trip to warm to the idea of mixing sweet & savoury, but once I caved in I became a slave to idea! Today’s pancake isn’t my own recipe, but adapted from a menu at one of my favourite London eateries, My Old Dutch. The recipe I adapted is also called My Old Dutch, but I’ve re-named this version, Firecracker!

Firecracker Pancakes!

Pancake dinner

My Firecracker pancake began with the classic Crêpe recipe, and stuffed with sweet peppers, onion, sweetcorn, bacon and Jerk chicken. I fried the vegetables for a few mins and added a little All Purpose Seasoning and White pepper before adding the bacon. (The chicken was pre-cooked in the oven beforehand). The Crêpes took little over 10mins to prepare and the chopping and cooking of the vegetables took around the same amount of time, the lengthiest part was cooking the chicken. When all was cooked, I tucked and wrapped that baby up like a hot Fajita and made a fresh fruit smoothie to wash it down… After two of these hearty pancakes I was only seconds away from a food coma, which is always a good sign that my gut is content. 

                       ….

I couldn’t keep my sweet tooth at bay for long enough, by law a dessert must follow the mains! A friend of mine recently introduced me to the sweet marriage of peanut butter and Nutella pancakes and my oh my did I fall in love! This is definitely in my top 10 favourite pancake combos. 

Sweet n Savoury pancakes

Who would have thought that a few basic ingredients could create something so tantalising? A basic recipe, yet with a few creative toppings and fillings, you can create a masterpiece. I hope you’ve all had a tasty Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday and eaten yourselves silly!

Love & Peanut butter,

Tracey xoxo

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Pancake Party

Happy Pancake day/Shrove Tuesday!

Once again one of my favourite baking-days has shown its face, and what a beautifully satisfying day it has been.

I just so happened to recall writing a Pancake day post last year, and promising myself that I would learn a completely new pancake, the Chinese pancake. I’m sad to say that I wasn’t even remotely close to finding or attempting this recipe. But rest assured it’s on my baking-to-do-list (some day).

Today I rustled up a stack of ye ol’ faithful American pancakes, but switched it up a little and added blueberries. Growing up I never used to like blueberries, but like many taste buds mine evolved over time. Whilst tucking into these rich, buttery, fruity pancakes I’m wondering why I didn’t consider blueberries sooner. The pancakes remained light in texture and the blueberries softened under the heat of the frying pan, forming a fruity jus.

As I took a bite of my first blueberry pancake I expected the blueberries to be completely soggy… but  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they remained firm on the outside, and burst like mini fireworks as I bit into them!

[Side note, I have to say, my presentation was a bit sloppy. I almost lost control of the free spirited little beauties as they rolled all about the pan! But alas, the taste was superb so I’ll allow the presentation to slip, just this once.]

Love, Pancakes & Maple syrup,

Tracey xoxo

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Leaning Tower of Pancakes!

It turns out that we had another exciting Tuesday in the month of February, last week V-Day and yesterday Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day. (If you ask me February is turning out to be a baker’s haven!) All day on Twitter and Facebook people were updating their status about what they were going to drown their pancakes in, what trimmings they would have, and how excited they were to leave work and re-ignite their love with that sacred frying pan.

Flip it. Fold it. Roll it.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely eggs, flour, sugar and butter are available to purchase all year round? There are a handful of nations that truly appreciate the beauty of a pancake: A well known delicacy from France, famously known as the Crepe is eaten often, dusted lightly with sugar and spread with a thin layer of chocolate spread. Another famous pancake is the wafer thin Chinese pancake, wrapped around a spoonful of Peking duck, a sprinkling of cucumber and spring onion, and a few droplets of Hoi Sin sauce. Both of these delicacies are regularly devoured in their respective cultures. In fact, even places such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea have their own sweet and savoury adaptations of the pancake. (Note to self, learn how to make at least two of these pancakes in time for next year!)

During my last two years of University pancakes were a regular ‘necessity’ in the staple diet for my housemates and I. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that we had freshly made pancakes for breakfast or as a snack at least once a week. Our pancakes were nearly always smothered in ‘Aunt Jemima’s Maple Syrup’, chocolate sauce and a side of strawberries for the healthy kick! Even in my fragile-detoxing-state I’m dreaming ahead to the end of the week when I can treat myself to a well deserved birthday-breakfast, full of treats that soothe and massage my sweet tooth.

Behold, the leaning tower of pancakes!

Despite my week of discipline I still managed to rustle up a stack of ‘leaning pancakes’ for my friends (and I’m proud to say that I didn’t eat a single one!) I delivered them to a friend’s house yesterday evening only to find even more temptation surrounding me, (B’s famous ginger and nut cookies, not pictured). Again, I resisted the urge (I think an applause can be inserted here) and happily watched my friends inhale the pancakes!

Some six years ago on my first visit to NYC I got hooked on the American style pancakes, and I’ve haven’t looked back since. So I guess this wouldn’t be a post worthy of uploading if I didn’t supply the recipe. Bon Appétit.

Love & Pancakes,

Tracey xoxo

 

American Style Pancakes

140g/5oz plain flour

2tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2tbsp caster sugar

3tbsp butter melted

225ml/8fl oz buttermilk/semi-skimmed milk

1 large egg

Optional: sunflower oil for oiling pan

Instructions: Pour the sugar and crack the egg into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Meanwhile, melt the butter on a low heat and add to the pancake batter once melted. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl and sieve half of it over the batter. Whisk the entire batter and gradually add the milk and remaining flour in parts. If the batter appears too runny, then sieve in a little extra flour until it is a thicker consistency.

Grease the frying pan with a small drop of sunflower oil or butter, and use a ladle to pour a small amount of batter into the centre of the frying pan. Flip over the pancake when it begins to brown, or to your liking.

Serve with crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for the All-American feel; with a side a ripe and juicy berries for a healthy twist, or you can opt for the sugar-holics menu and serve with chocolate chips and maple syrup.

The foundations of the 'leaning masterpiece'

My work is done!

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The Birthday Detox

I recently read an article somewhere that said something along the lines of ‘February is the most boring and dreary month…’ with face in palm and mouth wide open I quickly turned over that page! Come on, boring? Dreary? I can’t speak for the author of that article but February is one of the months when all my best baking happens; Valentine’s Day (see my previous post, ), Pancake day and at the end of this fine month I celebrate my birthday. What could possibly be boring about that? Before the month of January even ends I’m already thinking ahead to what I’m going to drown my pancakes in (obviously the top choice is maple syrup, but I like to dream about the trimmings too), as well as what type of birthday cake I’ll be treating myself to. It’s almost too much excitement to contain. But before I start reeling off various mouth-watering descriptions of my birthday-cake-buffet I feel like this is an opportune moment to grind to a halt and introduce a little something I call ‘The Birthday Detox’.

Some three or four years ago when I was at University I forced myself into a yearly ritual known as The Birthday Detox. If you look towards the top of my blog page you’ll see that my tagline reads ‘I love cake. I dream cake, I bake cake, I eat cake, and now I blog cake!’ excessive amounts of cake, and that excludes all the snacking I do between meals! Now cast your minds back a few weeks to Christmas time and all the unnecessary eating that happens within that season, well my birthday is like another Christmas! I seriously let myself run wild and it’s not a pretty sight. I digress… I came up with a temporary solution to my birthday gluttony, a 7-10day detox and abstinence from cake and other snacks. (If I had real will power I would detox for a month!) This sacred tradition entails purchasing an endless supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and other healthy produce. There’s no denying that trading in a slab of carrot cake for a bowl of strawberries or a raw carrot seems absolutely ludicrous, but it’s all in the name of clear skin and a birthday glow!

Stocking up on my antioxidants and the like.

A word to the wise, if attempting The Birthday Detox please recognise that you will come up against opposition and ridicule. Exhibit A, I bought a supply of candies for my piano teacher this week- he offered the bag to me but I kindly rejected saying I was starting a detox. He then told me to get out! Exhibit B, I went to the movies with a friend last night and she offered to buy the popcorn- I explained I was starting a detox and she laughed saying she didn’t believe me. It wasn’t until we were in the movie theatre and I reached into my bag and pulled out a box o’ grapes and a packet of salted peanuts that she took me seriously. Well, she laughed first then acknowledged my seriousness. It’s not going to be an easy week when Pancake day arrives in the UK, just days before my birthday, but I sure as heck will try.

 So fellow cake lovers, please show me your deepest empathies this week when I endeavour to continue blogging about my love of cake while shovelling down handfuls of raspberries, or glugging down endless cups of green tea. I can only muster up the courage to persevere through this challenge with the knowledge that they’ll be a sickly sweet birthday breakfast waiting for me on the other side! 

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

It's gonna be one heck of a fruity week ;) ...Spot the heart-shaped box of raspberries!