Happy Pancake Day!

Pancakes, pancakes, and MORE pancakes!!

March 8th, 2011: Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday.
The day to prepare for Lent and get rid of all those yummy ingredients that together are the building block of naughty treats that just aren’t allowed whilst fasting.
Call us weak, but going without eggs and dairy (especially cheese, it makes me mildly panicky to even fathom this idea), without the cookies, muffins, quiches, milkshakes, fritters et al that they help build, for 40 days (or 4) just won’t happen. Nope. Never.

We just like pancakes. And flipping things in our kitchen.

Kiwi and Chocolate Chips, Bramble Jelly, Plums and Fromage Frois, and Homemade Lemon Curd!

Did you know that “Pancakes” are different things in different countries?
We made British pancakes today, these are what Canadians would call ‘Crepes’.
What Canadians call ‘Pancakes’ are called ‘Drop Scones’ (because of the “dropping” of batter onto the griddle) or ‘Scotch Scones’ (for whatever reason…)
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What about flapjacks, aren’t (Canadian) ‘Pancakes’ sometimes called ‘Flapjacks’ in diners across the States? How can you ignore these?”.
We’re opening up a whole new can of worms with ‘Flapjacks’ in England. ‘Flapjacks’ are oat bars or museli bars — oats and other ingredients bound together with golden syrup — another way to think of them would be a dried, boring granola bar (no chocolate and caramel in these ones). Through my know-it-all friend, Google, I did discover that these would be known as ‘Hudson Bay Bars’ in Canada (I have never seen these, but I hope, if commercially produced, the packaging has the blue, yellow, red, and green stripes of the HBC on them).

Using a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & Fizz Carr’s book The River Cottage Family Cookbook (find below) we really had a pancake day: Sweet crepes with James’ homemade lemon curd, bramble jelly, plums with cinnamon in fromage frois, and kiwis with chocolate chips for breakfast; Savoury crepes filled with broccoli, spanish onion, parmesan, and cheddar cheese that we crisped up in a frying pan for lunch.


It was delicious.

The recipe does not call for sugar in the crepes, which is good if you want to make sweet and savoury crepes, but we found our breakfast crepes could do with a touch more sweetness.

I’m off to nibble a few more.
Happy Pancake Day!

Pancakes (adapted from The River Cottage Family Cookbook)
Yield: About 15 Pancakes

250g Plain Flour
A pinch of Salt
2 Free-range Eggs
~500ml Milk (may need a bit more)
Sunflower Oil for Frying
(optional: 2-3 tbsp sugar)

* Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl. Make a crater in centre, break eggs and add half the milk.
* Whisk flour from edges a little at a time. Add the rest of the milk (and a bit more, if necessary) and whisk until lumps of flour are gone and the consistency is similar to single cream (or a little thicker than Half & Half in Canada). Transfer to a liquid measuring cup (with spout) for easy pouring.
* On med-high, heat the frying pan. Swirl ~1 tsp of oil around the frying pan, pouring excess into a cup so only a film of oil remains.
* When the oil is good and hot, pour batter into pan (really depends how big the pan is you’re using. I found pouring a circle slightly larger than a softball made reasonably sized crepes. Just make sure you have enough room in your pan for your crepe to spread out at least an inch all the way around). Immediately tilt and rotate the pan to spread your batter around.
* Loosen edges with a palette or butter knife and shake the pan to make sure the edges aren’t stuck (skipping the palette knife and shaking with vigor is also acceptable). Once the bottom has browned up a bit, stand back, and let’er FLIP! Try to get some good height so the pancake can turn over in the air. It is scary, but with practice it is easy (and we won’t tell if you have to pick a few up off the floor).
*  If you’re making the full batch, keep a plate in a low temp oven to keep them warm while you finish up the batch. Dress up as you would like and gobble up!

(If for some reason you can’t eat all your crepes, put a piece of parchment or wax paper between each layer, put in a resealable plastic bag and freeze. They’ll be good for a few weeks, just defrost, and warm up in the microwave or in a frying pan to crisp up.)

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The Beginning

We left Canada to move to jolly old England and what a state for foodstuffs the country is in. The streets are full of Chicken, Kebab, and Fish and Chip shops (that do leave a nice aroma of vinegar wafting through the streets), a decent sized grocery store is hard to find and most of the products available are prepackaged. We have the luxury of living off of Gloucester Road in Bristol; green grocers, St. Werburgh’s city farm, Better Food, The Bread Store, Harvest, and many others provide local, fresh, sustainable, and bulk items and we have been inspired to utilize the opportunity.

Bridge, Bristol

In Canada, Little Al and I enjoyed baking bread. We decided that while living here, we would try to make our own bread products (except for some extra special breads or the occasional treat). With books, blogs, and our own imagination we have begun branching out; trying new and old recipes and constantly learning, changing, and adapting (with a crappy stove, little elbow room, and few tools at hand things don’t always play out smoothly). We scour the bulk food store and Green Grocer for fun ingredients, some of which we’ve never come across in Saskatchewan (celeriac and fresh figs, for one) and ways to utilize them. Attempting to make something is not only enjoyable, cheap, relaxing, but oh my does it cause havoc, fun, fun havoc. We’ve had success and failure, made messes, dropped breads, and broken dishes and would like to share our experience, tips, and recipes with you (and will gladly accept yours in return!


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