We have a Sunday morning ritual in our house that it very hard to break. Last Sunday morning we awoke to driving rain meaning we were consigned to stay indoors, so today we were keener than ever to get out of the front door bright and early to visit our local boot sale. We usually separate when we arrive at the bustling expanse of stalls. Michael tends to be on the look out for anything remotely techy and is very good at spotting a good cookery book which is great. His downfall is his natural ability to chat to anyone he meets like a long lost friend, making moving along at a brisk pace impossible. A stop of fifteen minutes or so to swap old sailing stories with strangers gives my nine year old itchy feet.
So hand in hand my son and I walk up and down the busy rows, me keeping a beady eye out for unusual pots, pans and cookery bits and pieces, my son rummaging through boxes and table tops looking for whatever his choice of toy is at the moment. Today it was Pokemon which unfortunately didn’t prove fruitful, although he did find a couple of DVD’s for lazy Sunday afternoon movies.
To make use of the extra hour gained this morning because of the clocks going back, I rose at the usual time and feeling virtuous thought I would try to make a dent in my mountainous pile of ironing that has grown sky high week. Unfortunately the mountain turned out to be more Everest than Scafell Pike so we left the house later than normal which of course meant we were late getting back. All very hungry.
After ten minutes bickering like school children about what we wanted for breakfast, which was different for all three of us, Michael decided. He would make pancakes. Luckily we had some smoked streaky bacon from The Red Barn in Ringshall which is guaranteed to be delicious and crispy. Even though there were far too many rashers just for pancakes I was going to cook it all but Michael said the rest could be used in our dinner later on. I am guessing this will be something along Spanish lines as I have spied a heap of chicken thighs and pork belly in the fridge. He knows how to keep a girl happy this man!
Our precious pancake pan, bought from a boot sale years ago, is used solely for pancakes and omelettes. Absolutely nothing else. It is as non stick as water to oil and heaven help anyone who even shows it a bottle of Fairy liquid.
I will own up and say I’m not brave enough to toss a pancake, I pathetically flip them over with a spatula which annoys me for being such a wimp so I watch in awe as my husband nonchalantly throws them in the air with skillful abandon, the half cooked pancake turning like Olga Korbut in the air and landing back safely in the pan. 10/10.
The finished pancakes are thick, soft and fluffy, nothing like our flatter, thinner English Pancakes which I love with nothing more than the traditional sugar and lemon. These American babies scream for butter and maple syrup. Today we had the luxury of added bacon, sometime I sauté a couple of sliced eating apples in butter and cinnamon which makes a great, quick dessert too served with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.
- Smoked streaky bacon, allow 2-3 per person.
- 125gm self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 125gm milk
- 1 large egg
- butter for frying
- Butter and maple syrup to serve.
- Grill the bacon until cooked and crispy. Keep warm if necessary. If grilling while cooking the pancakes don't forget it as it overcooks quite quickly.
- Put flour and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk together (I do this to save sifting).
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the egg.
- Using a whisk, begin stirring in the egg starting in the centre so the flour folds in from the edges.
- Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time, until the batter is thick and free from lumps.
- Add a very small knob of butter to a non-stick frying pan .
- Place on a medium high heat. When the butter has melted carefully wipe the excess out with a piece of kitchen towel leaving the pan lightly greased. When the pan is hot add a spoonful of batter to the pan (depending on the size of the pan but I like to cook one at a time).
- The batter should hold its shape.
- Cook for about 1m 30sec until brown and firm on the bottom then flip or turn over and cook the other side until brown. The pancakes should be firm to the touch with no visible uncooked batter around the edges.
- Slide onto a plate, add a knob of butter, maple syrup and bacon rashers to the top.
- Eat immediately.
Pancakes scoffed and belly full I am now going to inspect my boot sale finds. Today I bought a bashed old copper jug, a copper bowl which looks like it has been used as a plant pot holder and a white wooden tray, all to add to my prop collection. And two cookery books: The Roux Brothers French Country Cooking and Le Gavroche Cookbook by Michel Roux Jr. My Sunday afternoon is going to be very lazy (after I wash and clean up from breakfast and take the dog out for a walk).