Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Pancakes 2.0

One of the things that has made me think it's time to let this blog go is that I keep re-visiting old recipes. I have started to do the thing that has always panicked me in conversation with others and also in my professional writing life: I have started to repeat myself.

Good writers have a decent routine and get it out over and over again. They get out the same phrases, the same stories, the same hang-ups all the time and hope that no-one notices. Great writers, really brilliant ones, never repeat themselves. They're that fucking crazy that they have enough new things churning around in their melons to always have something new to say.

I fall somewhere between the two in that I occasionally repeat myself, but try not to. The overwhelming urge to repeat yourself comes from either having to hit a deadline and having not enough to say or from the frustration that you said this once before and it really felt like NO-ONE WAS LISTENING!! So maybe the thing to do is say it again!?

And now I find myself struggling more and more not to repeat myself - both in life, just generally, and also in the kitchen.

I started off writing this blog only really wanting to be able to make one or two kinds of dinner, a good chocolate cake and roast potatoes. But I took things waaaaay to far and now I know how to de-bone a duck and make profiteroles.

And American pancakes! Actually forget all the other stuff, it was pancakes that I wanted to be able to make. I am so unreconstructed. While the Hemsley sisters are busy torturing courgettes and Ella is being deliciously vegan or whatever she is, (too scared to find out), I just want to stuff my face with white carbs, butter and maple syrup.

Not every day, you understand! I eat fish and greens for dinner most other days (blork) but on Saturday morning we have PANCAKES. Ever since Sam has been able to amuse himself for five seconds in the mornings and I have had both hands free, we've had pancakes.

I used to fuss about with all manner of wizardry to make these fluffy pancakes - adding baking powder and bicarb of soda and sugar and god knows what to plain flour. And then I discovered that all you need to do is use bloody self-raising flour and you're away!

The benefit of this is that the kids can help. Or maybe that's really not a benefit.

So here we go, American pancakes 2.0

makes about 6

7 heaped tablespoons of self-raising flour (or as close as the kid can get to it)
1 egg
some milk, enough to make a thick batter, which is probably about 200ml
maple syrup

1 Put a frying pan or crepe pan on the hob over a low heat to warm up. Non-stick would be handy

2 Get kiddo to heave out the flour into the bowl, then you - or it - can swizzle it about with a whisk

3 make a space somewhere in the bowl and crack an egg into it. Let the kid do it if you're feeing patient

4 Pick bits of eggshell out of the bowl

5 Swizzle the egg into some of the flour until it's a sort of paste.


7 Swizzle this milk into your egg and flour, adding a bit more flour, then another sloop of milk, then more flour until you have a runny batter, not really runny, like milk, but quite runny. But not thick, thick, like cake batter. With me? Whisk briskly. You might notice some weeny lumps in the batter, don't worry about this.

8 Leave this to stand for a few minutes. Really only a few minutes, I know that children are impatient and want their PANCAKES PANCAKES PANCAKES. PANCAKES NOW MUMMY. PANCAKES PANCAKES NOW. PANCAKES NOW. PAAAAAAANCAAAAAAAAAKES. I LOVE PANCAKES. PANCAKES NOOOOOOOWWWWWW but the thing is that the batter will thicken slightly on standing and you might want to add some more milk to the mixture unless you want to get an actual CAKE in your pan.

9 Turn up the heat under the pan until it is really quite hot, but not smoking. Dollop in your mixture the best way you can see how and then wait for a few little bubbles to emerge on the top then flip them. This always goes wrong for me, so I can't see how it can go that right for you, but don't worry, the kids won't care.

10 Now butter the topside of the pancakes while they are still in the pan and cook the bottom for a bit. Not long, maybe 2 minutes if you want to put a timer on.

11 Put on a plate and drizzle with maple syrup. Do not let kiddo help with this part.

By the way I have just made the most amazing discovery which is that when you want to pinch a big green thing of snot out of your kid's nose and don't have a tissue what you do is wipe it on THEIR clothes, not yours! You're welcome.


  1. I too have recently made the same discovery re snot. I also find that if you are out and have the need to maintain a modicum of sartorial decency, the underside of your skirt, dress, tops of leggings etc also make great places to wipe the offending mucus.

  2. When my daughter presented me with a finger full of slimey snot in a busy supermarket queue and asked me what she should do with it, I just told her to put it back where she had found it.

  3. You describe us all. The Helmsleys and Deliciously Ella try their best, but ordinary humans will never crave raw vegan butternutti strange-and-probably-expensive-ingredient healthfood. What we WANT is fat, salt, sugar, carbs and booze. You only live once.

  4. Aaaagh! I was just about to gear up to make these on a lazy day off and read the last sentence. As a non-parent I am not immune (as all parents seem to be?!?). Will have to do something else for half an hour to try to get all snot related thoughts out of my head! Recipe looks nice and easy though so thanks for that part.

  5. I have two children roughly the same age as yours are and if you throw in a couple of

    'No stir the flour in the bowl. That's right in the bowl. No you need to keep the flour in the bowl. In the bowl. If you tip anymore flour out of the bowl you will not be helping mummy ever again'

    Then this perfectly describes my cooking experiences with my children. I am even reading it in a forced cheery tone.

    My intentions are always so good - the reality so humbling.

    I will miss your blog dreadfully if you go.

    1. Ugh the TIPPING THE FLOUR out of the BOWL thing!!! little bastards.

  6. Elizabeth Medovnik21 May 2015 at 18:21

    Good tip about wiping bogeys onto their clothes. I had to scrape one onto the kerb yesterday as I just couldn't flick it off my finger.

  7. We have pancakes a lot. So much so that I get sick of them. This morning the 3 year old woke me asking for them again. So instead of the recipe my husband uses, which makes you feel inferior if you don't grind the floor yourself (slight exaggeration) I did this one. Was a big hit with both boys.

    The 3 year said it was better than daddy's! If only daddy was in the room when he said it!

  8. Just made these as a weekend breakfast treat for my son. They went down very well as a change from regular pancakes. If I can separate him from the TV I might get him to help next time.

  9. I wipe my finger on the grass quite a lot if no-one is looking!
    I didn't know about the whole waiting for a few mins for it to go all claggy so you can add more milk thing. That'll be why our pancakes are so often heavy and thick and disgusting. Durrh! Thank you x

  10. I was just thinking, you know, that if you had another baby then you'd probably keep the blog going, no? HAVE ANOTHER BABY!
    (Yes I realise that in the list of reasons to have another baby it is a foolish one, but your readers are grasping at straws here)

  11. Dear E, since my other half is American I've had to learn how to make these, just as I had to acquire Thanksgiving classics via adoption. My personal recommendations are: putting in some Buttermilk instead of milk (or a bit of each) and don't overbeat the mixture. That makes a whole world of difference - as in superduper light and fluffy. Buttermilk keeps for ages and you can get a good one in a carton from Ocado. xx