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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake Day!

It's one of my favourite days! I just love pancakes. What would it be like to miss out on eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? I don't know, because I never let this day pass without making this delicious dish. I've always made them so this year is no different. With perhaps one of the most famous Pancake Races on in Olney, which is only a short drive from here (a pity it's mid-week, otherwise Carol and I would go and watch this event.) even more excuse to indulge in these treats.

They're so easy to make. Nothing much to it, really.  I can't believe that you can get pancake mixture, which I've seen in Tesco's and Asda. Or even ready-made ones. Just lazy, really. My tip is to make well in advance and leave the batter to stand for as long as possible, preferably at least an hour. The same with batter which you make for Yorkshire Pudding. I start with a decent-sized mixing bowl. Mine is a Pyrex glass one, ideal for making batter or cakes. It's big enough to put in all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. First put in the flour.  If you have time, put through a sieve and  shake into the bowl. This puts air into the flour and will help make the batter lighter. I actually prefer plain, but self-raising will do. There's no set amount, you can generally judge for yourself the amount, depending, obviously, on how many people you are making the pancakes for. Make a well in the centre of the flour with a spoon, and crack two eggs into a seperate container, such as a cup. I do this just in case the eggs are off, and to avoid getting any shell in the mix. Then pour the egg contents into the well in the flour. Next, pour a little milk into the bowl and with a large spoon mix the ingredients together. Keep on mixing until you have combined all the ingredients and then gradually pour more milk into the mixture. Keep on blending the ingredients and adding more milk until it has the consistency of paint, so that the mixture will pour off your spoon. Add a pinch or two of salt and keep on mixing. If you have an electric mixer, use that, as this will save you time. If not, a fork will do. A balloon whisk is even better. Once fully blended, allow to stand for at least an hour. As I've already said, if you leave for longer, all well and good.

To cook, use an omelette pan if you have one. We got a decent frying pan, ideal for the purpose, in IKEA last year and it cost no more than £2. Use sunflower oil and place a small amount in the pan and allow to heat. Not too hot, otherwise it will burn. You will need to waste at least one pancake to get the consistency right. I put my batter into a jug which makes pouring into the pan much easier. Pour a little of the batter into the centre of the heated pan and then swirl the pan around, so as to coat the surface of the pan sufficiently. Return to the heat and leave to cook. Once the batter starts to blister, you know the pancake is almost done. If you move the pan around and the pancake moves, you know that it is done. At this point you must turn it over and cook the other side. If you are brave enough you can toss the pancake! I'm no good at this, but it's worth a try! I suppose it adds to the taste, but I'm not sure.  If you want to make a reasonable amount for your family or friends to eat immediately, serve straight onto plates, but I usually make mine in advance and keep warm by having a pan of boiling water on to which I put a plate. Keep the water on low heat so as not to boil over or even dry. I put kitchen towel on the plate and then between each pancake so as to make it easier to take off and to absorb any excess moisture.

Serve with sugar and lemon, which is the traditional method, or else some icecream, fruit or whatever you like, perhaps maple syrup.

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