How can it be Pancake Day again already? Where oh where has the last year gone? Perhaps it was my friend, who I admittedly haven’t seen for two years, exclaiming ‘Ooh, you’ve got some grey hairs’ at the weekend, or perhaps it’s the fact that my husband is rapidly approaching the big 40 (which we aren’t allowed to talk about) but I am feeling a tad spooked by the passing of time. Hey ho.
And so because it is Shrove Tuesday we will be making pancakes later, and I have been testing out some pancake-making kit, which was kindly sent to me by Oxo Good Grips, who have invented a rather ingenious device called a batter dispenser. This is a brilliant idea, but one I cannot endorse fully as it requires more washing up (something I am never fond of) but it is really clever, the idea being that you make your pancake mixture and then decant it into the dispenser, from which you can accurately dispense the right amount of batter into the pan – one-handed! Big tick. You can also store unused batter in it overnight in the fridge – handy.
The best new pancake gadget I have been sent, however is the Oxo Good Grips Flip & Fold Omelette Turner which is completely and utterly awesome. It is the perfect wide bendy spatula to ease around the edge of your pancake before you effortlessly flip it. It is amazing. I love it. And it’s yellow!
Every time I make elaborate pancake fillings I always come back to the old favourites of lemon and sugar, or cheese & ham, it must be said, but if you fancy something exotic, there are a million recipes on the Sainsbury’s website here. I did recently invent Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, which were rather good, and so here is the recipe. Almost guaranteed to cheer you up and make you feel less old 🙂
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
First make a classic pancake batter using:
100g plain flour
30g butter, melted
15g caster sugar
1. Melt the butter over a low heat or using the microwave.
2. Whisk the eggs with the milk and melted butter.
3. Put the flour and sugar in a bowl and slowly pour in the wet ingredients, whisking as you go until your batter is lovely and smooth. If in doubt, blend using a stick blender.
4. Heat your non-stick pancake pan (I have a Sainsburys 24-cm pancake pan which is is perfect) and add a tiny knob of butter. When it starts to bubble, pour in enough mixture to cover the base of the pan, tipping the pan to cover it evenly.
5. Leave to cook for a minute or so (don’t be hasty) then flip and cook the other side. Flip in the air if feeling carefree.
For the Cinnamon and Apple bit, simply peel, core and slice an eating apple, and gently cook in some butter in a small frying pan. Add a teaspoon of caster sugar and half a teaspoon of cinnamon and stir. Cook until the apple is soft and melty. Top your pancake with the apple mixture and some creme fraiche. Delish.
Disclaimer: I was sent the pancake-making kit by Oxo Good Grips to test for the blog. All opinions are my own.
So we had Harvest festival at Big One’s school last week. I confess, I am very fond of Harvest festival, I think primarily because it brings back such vivid memories of growing up in the countryside in Kent, and of the Harvest festival at my primary school which always entailed displays of gigantic plaited loaves, us singing ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ at the tops of our voices, and taking baskets of produce round the village to the OAPs.
I decided to ask my son what Harvest actually means, and I have to confess, he looked at me blankly. Despite the celebration, he hadn’t really grasped that it was about bringing in the crops and the produce from the fields. This little city dweller didn’t know his orange pippins from his coxes. Something had to be done! And so we trundled off to pick apples and get back to nature at Pippins Farm in Kent. Raymond Blanc, who has been in the media recently, talking about how important it is to teach children where food comes from, would be proud of me. I was so pleased we did it – the children both picked and ate apples fresh from the tree and their enthusiasm was evident. It was such a success!
One supermarket that has a great awareness of the seasons and of local food is Waitrose. This spring they launched the national ‘Grow & Sell’ campaign with schools across the land to encourage schools to grow fruit and veg at school and help kids understand the journey from field to plate. And now British apples are in season – and this is apparently the best harvest season in years, making the apples even more delicious than usual – they are keen to celebrate apples with me and my readers.
So in honour of National Apple Day next Monday 21 October, Waitrose asked me to share my love of apples with you. They are stocking 50 apple varieties this year, of which 70% will be British. Hooray!
I made their wonderful Deep Filled Bramley Apple Pie using Waitrose Bramley apples and their Best of British apples. The pie was a rip-roaring success, with my husband declaring ‘Amazing pastry’ – high praise indeed from a man renowned for his homemade quiche (no, I am not kidding), and the children devouring it – they especially liked the addition of raisins . I served it with double cream, and for the time of year, it was just perfect.
The Deep Filled Bramley Apple Pie recipe is here – it works an absolute treat, and using the food processor meant the pastry was made in moments. The only thing that is a faff – and definitely cannot be done one-handed, folks, is peeling the apples. If only I had the miraculous apple peeler which the wonderful Margot Darling from Margot Tries the Good Life recently featured! Now, that would make life easier for this busy mama.
Waitrose.com is a magnificent source of recipes for everything under the sun, including apples, in fact they recently teamed up with some top food bloggers who contributed their own apple recipes,– they include recipes from the marvellous Becky from English Mum (Apple & Caramel Pie), Helen from Fuss Free Flavours (Estivale Apple & Blackberry Steamed Pudding) and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy (Michelle’s Utterly Scrummy Estivale Apple Cake). Take your pick! http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/food_glossary/apple.html
Waitrose has even teamed up with online garden gurus Crocus, to sell apple trees online – they have a wonderful tree called ‘Scrumptious’ which is perfect for smaller gardens as it doesn’t need another apple to tree to pollinate it, and can even be grown in a pot! So, city dwellers with kids, there’s no excuse to not PYO apples next year J
What do you like making with apples? Pies? Cakes? Chutney? I’d love to hear!
Happy Apple Day everyone,