Pancakes

Why do we traditionally eat these only once a year, when they’re so fabulously delicious and easy to make? Here, totally out of season, is a nice easy pancake recipe.

Pancakes

makes around 6

100g / 4oz plain flour
2 eggs
300ml / half a pint of milk
butter for frying.

Toppings:

lemon
sugar

Him Indoors’s additional topping suggestion: hot golden syrup

Beat the eggs and the flour together, making sure there are no lumps. Then add the milk very gradually until you have a lovely smooth batter.

Heat a little butter in a heavy based frying pan until it starts to foam gently. Pour in some of the batter and coat the bottom of the frying pan. When the batter begins to come away from the edges of the pan, jiggle it! Jiggle it, jiggle it until you can move the pancake around in the pan easily. Assemble a small crowd of onlookers, then flip it into the air with all the aplomb you can muster.

Fetch the step ladder from the loft. Climb up the steps carefully, brandishing a plastic spatula. Carefully scrape the pancake off the ceiling, and start again. Repeat until you get bored / full.

Peace on Earth biscuits

Named I guess because if everybody had some, there would be.

Peace on Earth biscuits

Makes 12

125g / 4oz margarine
125g / 4oz caster sugar
1 dessert spoon golden syrup
half tsp bicarbonate of soda in 1tsp of milk
170g / 6oz self-raising flour
75g / 3oz raisins and glace cherries, or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 375°F / Gas 5. Cream the margarine and sugar in a bowl. Pour in the syrup and the bicarb and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and the raisins and cherries / chocolate chips. Add a drizzle of milk if the mixture looks a little dry. Roll out into 12 balls, place on some greaseproof paper on a baking tray and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on how keen your oven is.

Brownies

The ultimate brownie recipe.  For a recipe which is easy rather than ultimate, have a look at this one instead.

Brownies

Makes 12

125g / 4oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
375g / 12oz caster sugar
75g / 3oz cooking chocolate, roughly chopped
125g / 4oz butter
3 eggs
2 tsp espresso or strong coffee
100g / 3.5oz chopped mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 3. Grease and flour an 11 by 7 inch(ish) cake tin. The flouring is very important, make sure it is even and the brownies will escape from the tin intact! Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and beat for about 30 seconds. Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan, make sure you do not overheat the mixture. Allow the chocolate mix to cool slightly and then beat in the eggs, coffee and chopped nuts. Mix in the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into the tin and bake for 45 mins or until the top is firm. Allow to cool in the tin, then turn out and cut into 12 yummy squares.

Ice cream

Just thought I’d share a really easy way to make ice cream I discovered the other day. I had some left over cream from something or other and was wondering what to do with it. I vaguely remembered reading somewhere that you can blitz it up with frozen fruit in a food processor, which I happened to have some of, and voila! Really creamy, gorgeous ice cream in seconds. Which is a very good reason to keep frozen fruit in the freezer for months on end I think. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. It’s not quite the consistency of normal ice cream, being less solid, but all the better for it I reckon. Especially with gratuitous chocolate shavings on top.

Post update: Him Indoors has just reminded me there’s an actual recipe for this!

Ice cream

serves 2

100g / 4oz frozen raspberries (or similar)
10g / half an ounce icing sugar
80g / 3oz cream (more evil the better)

Blend in food processor and serve immediately.

Plus if you want to make a sort of cheese-cakey base, you can mix up

4 gingernuts
1 knob molten butter

and then spoon this into the base before adding the ice cream.

Greek yoghurt

This is not going to save you enough money to take the family to Paris for the week-end or anything, or not quickly at any rate, but it is quite fun.  There’s something nice about knowing that once you’ve made the first batch of yoghurt, with luck, a following wind and an endless supply of milk you can keep making new from old, which is quite satisfying.

Anyway, the point of buying the above yoghurt maker is that it keeps the starting culture and the milk at a nice constant temperature.   It’s like a propagator I guess.  You just put a couple of teaspoons of super fresh , natural, unflavoured yoghurt (shop bought the first time, then you can just use the last of the previous batch) and a load of milk (UHT works best) into the central container, put the lid on, switch on the power, and watch like a hawk for 8 hours.  Or go to bed, up to you.

So far I’ve had very consistent results.  Then comes the creative part.  You hang the whole lot up in some muslin or something from the nearest door handle for a few hours, and Bob’s your Mother’s Brother, Greek yoghurt!  Genius.

If you don’t want to spend money on a yoghurt maker, the alternative is to control the heat manually.  You could put your yoghurt and milk mixture into a very very low oven, 40°C or so; or into an airing cupboard, on top of a radiator, under a chicken?  Or you could even put the mixture into jars in a pan of water on very low heat for half the day.  All of these will work fine, so long as the temperature remains more or less constant.