American pancakes

The Best Fluffy American-style Pancakes

American pancakes
Fluffy American style Pancakes

Fluff American style pancakes or griddlecakes are often served for breakfast across the North American continent piled up in towers dripping with maple syrup. This is how I first encountered them sat at the counter in a diner on the West coast. They were served with a side of crispy grilled streaky bacon the size of a small hill and enough coffee to float a cruise liner. The waitress wore a red and white gingham apron and I felt as if I had walked on to a movie set.

Ok so it’s not the actual diner!

American pancakes are made from a light batter cooked on a flat top, griddle plate or in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. The batter is made with flour, eggs, a raising agent and milk, buttermilk or yoghurt and have a moist open texture. Scotch pancakes or drop scones are made with a similar but sweeter thicker batter so are similar in appearance but smaller with a heavier texture. Scotch pancakes are made to be slathered in salty butter.

Now at home, the girls all love crepes, so if I make griddlecakes or drop scones, I would have to eat the whole stack and it would have to be with bacon. If you prefer yours just sweet, as a dessert, you can serve them with nuts, fruits like bananas, blueberries and apples with cinnamon, honey, cream, ice cream, and chocolate sauce, just like pancakes. However you like your American pancakes, savoury or sweet, enjoy.

American style Pancakes
A stack of American Pancakes
Crepe

A Crepe for Candlemass

A crepe for Candlemass. I don’t really need an excuse to make pancakes at home, but this is one of those festivals with a food connection that I adore. So I am indebted to a foodie friend for posting about having crepes today in Paris and the Candlemass tradition. It is a pity I couldn’t quite get to Paris but the girls were happy with Daddies efforts.

Candlemass

Candlemass is a Christian Holy Day celebrating when Jesus was presented at the Temple. It is celebrated on the second of February and is the last feast of Christmas. In some countries the Christmas decorations are taken down on Twelfth Night in others they remain in place until Candlemass. Many Christians take candles to be blessed in a church which are then used for the rest of the year. The candles symbolise Jesus as the ‘ Light of the World ’.

A stack of Crepes
A plate of Crepes

The tradition of eating crepes is attributed to Pope Gelasius distributing pancakes to pilgrims arriving in Rome. The round golden pancakes are also said to be symbolic of the sun and celebrate the arrival of Spring. This tradition could date back to Roman times and offerings of made of cake. Today in France when making the pancakes they are flipped from the pan in the right hand while holding a gold coin in the left to ensure household prosperity for the rest of the year.

Crepes and Pancakes

A crepe griddle
An electric Crepe griddle

A crepe is a very thin pancake which can be made in a pan or on a cast iron griddle plate. These plates were placed over a fire but now are electrically heated. Crepes are cooked across France, Northern Europe, and North Africa. Crepes can be sweet and served with sugar and lemon juice, fruit, whipped cream, Nutella and Maple syrup. The classic recipe is Crepe Suzette with the pancakes skilfully made and served at the table. They are flambéed in a sticky caramelised sauce of sugar, butter, orange juice, and zest and orange liqueur.

Crepe Suzette
Classic Crepe Suzette

Savoury pancakes or galettes are often served for lunch and can be filled with ham, cheese, sautéed mushrooms, baby spinach, and ratatouille. Pancakes are commonly made from wheat flour, but you can make them with buckwheat which will make them suitable for coeliacs and people who are gluten intolerant.

Candlemass Crepes
Crepes for Candemass
For a sweet pancake add a dessert spoon of caster sugar to the beaten egg and milk.

My Rhubarb Fool – A perfect Seasonal Dessert

What is Rhubarb Fool?

Rhubarb fool is a great seasonal dessert when fresh fruit in the UK is in pretty short supply. Early in the New Year ( Happy 2019 everyone ) and many of us are thinking about trying to shift the extra weight we may have put on over Christmas. I’m not sure I can go as far as something really healthy, but what I do have is an idea to revitalise any jaded party palettes. As it is time for the earliest of the season’s rhubarb, what about this delicious sweet? Forced rhubarb will be available from good greengrocers but it can be pricey, you can wait for the season’s main crop. The best forced rhubarb comes from the rhubarb triangle in West Yorkshire.

We chefs can sometimes overlook simple classic dishes that have pleased people for a very long time. The fruit fool is a versatile and first-rate example of an underrated culinary star, tart fruits with sweetened cream. You can make them pretty much throughout the year starting with rhubarb, then strawberries, gooseberry and elderflower is delicious and finish with late season raspberries in Autumn.

Trimmed Rhubarb Stems

My Rhubarb Top Tip

I was bought up from an early age by three formidable ladies, my Mum and the aunties Elizabeth and Mary, all incredible cooks. Peeking over the kitchen table I watched them pickle, preserve, knead, ferment, blanch, pluck, peel and chop with carefree abandonment. My guess is a little must have rubbed off on my shoulders. They were all armed with Mrs. Beeton, Robert Carrier, the Bero book and all became particularly big favourites of the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.

Rhubarb Leaves are Poisonous!

I do not remember if my tip for today was in the book, but I remember it was full of beautiful illustrations and lots of old country lore. I am pretty sure most people are aware that the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous, but they do have a use. If you have a badly burnt pan leave it to soak for a couple of hours with some torn up rhubarb leaves covered with water. The carbonised food should then be easy to shift with warm soapy water and a scourer, please make sure you rinse thoroughly.

My Rhubarb Fool

I’m not sure if the purists would serve a fool on a biscuit base but I like the butter ginger biscuit base which adds a nice little contrast to the softly whipped cream and poached fruit. The choice is up to you if you wish to leave it out. So while I am not going to win any points for calorie-free food I think this is winner on flavour. Enjoy

My Rhubarb and Ginger Fool
You can adapt through the changing fruit seasons with rhubarb, gooseberry, raspberry and loganberries. This recipe is adapted from one by one of my culinary hero’s, Simon Hopkinson. I like the flavour combination of rhubarb and orange with the buttery ginger biscuit base. You can make it with caster or golden sugar but again I like to use soft brown sugar for the added extra toffee / caramel flavour.

My Perfect Christmas dinner – sides

My perfect Christmas Dinner – sides

My perfect Christmas Dinner – Sides. A perfect Christmas roast turkey dinner isn’t a perfect Christmas dinner for me without the stuffing, gravy, roast potatoes, and the rest of the sides. Honey roast parsnips, buttered carrots and today’s recipes braised red cabbage, Brussel sprouts and of course cranberry sauce.

My perfect Christmas dinner -Braised Red Cabbage

Braised red cabbage is a beautifully versatile accompaniment to a host of winter dishes pies, casseroles and stews, seasonal roasts such as venison and game birds. You can adjust / experiment with the recipe and adapt it to suit whatever you are serving it with.

My perfect Christmas Dinner – Sides – Braised Red Cabbage
You can experiment and add a large grated cooking apple to your recipe and braise in cider, replace the redcurrent jelly for cranberry sauce or add a small handfully of raisins to the pan at the start of cooking.

Stir Fry Brussel Sprouts

We all love Brussel sprouts and I am sure you will too if you follow this simple recipe.
If you bought your sprouts are on the stalk, twist each one off. Remove any discoloured or damaged leaves. Next, trim the base and cut an larger ones in half. Wash and drain.

My perfect Christmas Dinner – Sides – Brussel Sprouts

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the Brussel sprouts. Remove after five minutes and plunge into cold, iced water. This stops the brussels over cooking. Drain thoroughly. To serve heat two heaped tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Toss the brussels in the pan over a medium-high heat for three to four minutes until thoroughly heated but still a little crunchy. Season well, top with a few toasted flaked almonds and serve.

My perfect Christmas dinner – cranberry sauce

My perfect Christmas Dinner – Sides – Cranberry Sauce

This is my go to recipe for a delicious homemade Cranberry sauce. It may seem quite a lot but it goes just as well a roast chicken or in a cold turkey sandwich.

I promise you will never go back to cranberry sauce from a shop again once you have tried this.

My Delicious Homemade Buttery Mince Pies

Sweet pastry Mince pies

I love mince pies, I love mince pies so much. Lilly and I set a challenge this December to try all of the mince pies we could possibly get our hands on in Jersey. Shall I let you into a secret none of them match up to today’s recipe. We hope you like them just as much.

A bit of Mince Pie history

Mince pies are a peculiarly British individual pie now eaten across the English speaking world. They are traditionally served over the Christmas period. Although in America they are more likely to be made in large tart cases and eaten at Thanksgiving. It is thought the name is derived from mince meat and preserved fruit pies first bought back during the crusades. These would have been quite heavily spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Today when we make mince pies we omit the meat but most recipes contain suet. You can use the tradition beef suet or a vegetarian option if you prefer.

My Last Minute Mincemeat Recipe

You can use a good quality mince meat but you might like to use my own quite luxurious recipe. As with a lot of my recipes you can always adopt to your own tastes. You can add Drambuie instead of brandy, some freshly grated orange zest,  and fresh cranberries for example.

Mincemeat is traditionally made in advance and stored in sterilised air-tight jars but I this recipe is just as good and read to use immeadiately.
Buttery sweet pastry mince pies ready for baking

The best Mince Pie Recipe

The basic recipe is for sweet buttery sable pastry and any left overs can be used to make Christmas biscuits. You can make the pastry ahead and freeze and defrost as you require. If you want to make a more traditional cover seal the edges with a little cold water, top with pastry and snip a small hole in the top.

These crumbly, buttery mince pies are delicious made with my recipe for mincemeat.

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree – A Great British Classic Recipe for British Food Fortnight

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As a country we are lucky to have so many culinary influences, down I guess in no small part to having been a trading and seafaring nation with ships and merchants travelling across the globe and openly accepting many different peoples and cultures into our own. Today in any major town and city you can eat authentically cooked food from around the world in fine dining restaurants, family-owned corner cafes and from street vendors and pop-ups. Now one of the most influential of all these cuisines would be Indian and spices, curries, and chutneys now play a major part in our cooking and dining habits from the mildest Butter Chicken to the hottest Phall, an Anglo-India mix of tomatoes, ginger and Scotch Bonnet peppers. Supermarket shelves are full of pastes, sauces, pickles and poppadums and fridges full of every type of curry imaginable, and you are never far from an Indian* restaurant.

There is an Indian influence to kedgeree, but it is a particularly British interpretation. Kedgeree is thought to have originated with the British colonial servants returning to Britain after working in India. It was traditionally served at breakfast and is still popular in grand hotels and gentlemen’s clubs. The classic kedgeree is made from curried rice with flaked fish and perhaps some sultanas and quartered hard-boiled eggs. I like to serve my kedgeree with soft boiled eggs, a sprinkling of flaked almonds, maybe you could throw in a few prawns ( entirely my own corruption ) and a jug of fruity curry sauce and yes, I do eat it for breakfast and for lunch too as it makes for a wonderful brunch.

*Often of Bangladeshi origin

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree with soft boiled egg

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

For the kedgeree

400 gr naturally Smoked Haddock Fillet

300 gr easy-cook long grain Rice, rinsed under running water

600 ml quality Fish Stock

Approximately 300 ml full-fat Milk

4 large free-range Eggs, at room temperature

3 medium Onions, peeled

A small handful of frozen Garden Peas, defrosted

A small handful of flaked Almonds

A small handful of Parsley, washed and finely chopped

A small handful of Coriander, washed and finely chopped

4 tablespoons of Butter

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 tablespoon Medium Curry Powder

1 teaspoon ground Coriander

1 teaspoon ground Turmeric

1 Clove of Garlic, peeled and very finely crushed

2 Bay Leaves

2 Cloves

Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

For the Fruity curry sauce

1 small Onion, peeled and very finely chopped

1 small tin of Pineapple Rings, drained and roughly chopped

1 large Cooking Apple, peeled and diced

1 small handful of Sultanas

100 ml quality Chicken stock ( or vegetable stock )

100 ml Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons Mango Chutney

2 tablespoon medium Curry Powder

Zest and freshly squeezed juice of a Lime

A pinch of Chilli flakes

Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper

First to prepare the curried rice finely chop two of the onions and heat half of the oil and two tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions then over a moderate heat cook for twenty to thirty minutes until soft. Add the garlic and spices and half a teaspoon of salt and continue to cook, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stock and bring up to a gentle boil. Cover the pan and simmer for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and without removing the lid leave to finish cooking for a further fifteen minutes.

While the rice is steaming in the pan, place the smoked haddock into a small heavy-bottomed pan and cover with milk. Halve the remaining onion and stick the bay leaves to the onions halves with the cloves to make a cloute. Add these to the pan containing the smoked haddock. Place on a low heat and bring up to the lowest possible simmer and poach for ten minutes. Remove the fish from the milk and allow to cool. The milk can be reserved to make chowder. When the fish is cool flake into thumbnail sized pieces and put to one side.

Place a pan of water on to boil and once simmering add the eggs placing them in with a spoon. Start your timer and simmer for six minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately plunge the eggs into iced cold water. When cool you can peel the eggs and set to one side. To serve the kedgeree add the remaining oil and butter to a sauté pan and over a medium heat cook the peas for two minutes then add the fish, rice and flaked almonds. Stirring constantly fry the mix until it is thoroughly warmed through, then season and stir in the chopped parsley and coriander. Cut the boiled eggs in half and serve them on top of the plated rice with some crispy fried shallots and a jug of sweet curry sauce.

For the sweet curry sauce, melt half the butter in a medium-sized heavy-bottom saucepan and add the onion, pineapple, and apple. Sauté carefully for ten minutes to start to soften the onion. Add the curry powder, chilli flakes, sultanas, coconut milk, and stock and bring to the boil and gently simmer for twenty minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mango chutney and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then puree in a food processor and pass through a sieve to form a smooth glossy sauce. Return to a pan and add the lime zest and juice, season and gently reheat stirring frequently. Because of the high sugar content, the sauce will easily catch and burn so heat very gently.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour  Raw Fish Milk  Crab

Please see the Allergens Page