Musing 001: Pancakes

Pancakes are one of my favourite things to make for brunch. You can have them thick and fluffy, thin and flexible, sweet or savoury – whatever suits you. Since I was young, I was mainly the one to make the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but as I got older, I realised I could have them any time I wanted.

I’ve never measured out the ingredients for pancakes, as they are so simple to make, and don’t require a lot of accuracy. So long as you have the consistency you want, you’re good to go.

The first time I made pancakes, I started out with the basics: eggs, plain flour, milk, and a pinch of salt. This was topped with a simple sprinkling of sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice. This is the kind of pancake common in the UK.

As time went on, the experimentation began. I played around with the type of flour, e.g. using self raising flour instead of plain to make slightly thicker pancakes. I’ve added different spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, or included sugar and cocoa powder into the pancake batter for a change in flavour (and colour). I’ve also incorporate buttermilk into the batter for the super thick and fluffy texture of American-style pancakes.

Here’s a question you: I’ve been struggling to find buttermilk recently, so what’s a good alternative?

Below you’ll find some of the pancakes I’ve created:

Pancakes
From top-left to bottom-right: Cocoa pancakes with a mixed berry compote and cream; Banana and chocolate chip pancakes; Cinnamon pancakes with a mixed berry compote; Thin pancakes with Nutella inside and topped with strawberries; Thin blueberry pancakes topped with blueberries.

Although I do love a good pancake for brunch, I’ve found myself really enjoying waffles – maybe I’ll invest in a good waffle iron in the future.

But for now, I’ll stick to making pancakes.

Honestly, it’s so hard to go wrong with them.

Give them a go!

 

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Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Give your leftover vegetables some love with this flavoursome oven dish that won’t break the bank. Carrots, bell peppers, and onions are items that I always have lying around, which form the bulk of this meal. I will be trying this recipe with other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms, courgettes… The list goes on!

DSC_0130[1165]

Serves 4

320 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 8 carrots, cut into chunks
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan)/ gas mark 7.
  2. In a large oven proof dish, place in the chicken quarters. Season with the season-all, garlic, paprika, ginger, soy sauce and chilli flakes.
  3. Add in the carrots and bell peppers. Spread evenly in the pan in between the chicken.
  4. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the chicken and vegetables, and add 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce as well.
  5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. After the 20 minutes, take out the oven dish and turn the chicken. Add the red onion into the dish.
  7. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lime over the chicken and vegetables, and add the rest of the hoisin sauce. Adjust seasoning where necessary, then cook for a further 20 minutes.
  8. The food should now be ready to cook. Eat the chicken and vegetables on its own, or have it with a bit of rice or cous cous for an extra filling meal.

Apple Crumble

This classic dessert brings back so many memories of lunchtime in primary school. Before the whole Jamie Oliver school dinners shake up, apple crumble was hands down my favourite. It was so good I remember one day I had seconds…and thirds!

The majority of kids had it with custard, but I hated custard (still do). However, it tasted great without. These days, I have mine with vanilla ice cream, while the rest of my family continue to wonder why I can’t stand custard.

My recipe uses Granny Smith apples, so no need to cook them before hand as you would with Bramley apples.

Apple Crumble (1)

Serves 6

Ingredients

For the Crumble

  • 160g cold unsalted butter
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar (optional)

For the filling

  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced ~ 1cm thick
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC (170ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Use a 26 cm oven proof dish at least 5cm deep.
  2. In a bowl, mix in the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in slices/cubes of butter gradually while using your fingertips to rub the butter with the flour mix.
  3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Pour the diced apples into the dish and add the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Mix together.
  5. Pour the crumble mix over the apples and even out. Sprinkle a thin layer of the demerara sugar on top.
  6. Put the dish into the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden.
  7. Leave to cool a little, and serve with custard, vanilla ice cream, or cream.

Turkey and Bacon Pasta

This meal has become quite the go-to. All made in one pan/pot, and is super easy – just be ready to chop up some meat and veg. I have tried this meal with various combinations of turkey, chicken, bacon, and pancetta – they all work great. If you want an extra punch in the cheese sauce, add some grated mature cheddar. The recipe below focuses on the natural sweet and nutty flavour of parmesan, which I love.

Serves 4

460 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 250g pasta of your choice (I use penne, or fusilli)
  • 300-350g turkey breast steaks, sliced or diced
  • 150g diced bacon
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pieces of turkey breast steaks, bacon, bell pepper, season-all, paprika, ground garlic, and black pepper to the pan, and fry for 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, remove the turkey and bacon, but keep the juices in the pan.
  4. n a low heat, melt the better in the pan and then add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a smooth consistency.
  5. Pour in a quarter of the milk at a time, and stir until the mixture blends smoothly.
  6. Add in the grated parmesan and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the diced tomato, spinach, bell pepper, turkey, and bacon back into the pan. Stir into the sauce until the spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. By now, the pasta should be cooked. Drain and add the pasta to the mixture.
  9. Serve your turkey and bacon pasta with a sprinkling of black pepper, and a few extra shaves of parmesan.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I’m back after a long revision, dissertation, and exam period! Although there were no posts, I’ve got plenty of meals in the bag so stay tuned. Head to my Instagram for a few teasers.

This meal includes one of my favourites: the sweet potato. I love sweet potato fries more than regular fries actually. I’ve paired roasted sweet potatoes with pan-fried lamb leg steak, red onions, and a little salad on the side.

Serves 2

440 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb leg steaks
  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into evenly sized chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp season-all
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan)/ gas mark 6.
  2. Place potatoes onto a baking tray and toss in 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp season-all, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp paprika.
  3. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes have reached the 30 minute mark, season the lamb with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp season-all.
  5. Heat a pan to a medium heat then place the lamb steaks in the pan.
  6. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, then take out of the pan to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the sliced red onions in the pan and fry until softened.
  8. By now, the sweet potatoes should be cooked. Finish them off in the pan with the red onions, and serve with the lamb leg steaks.
  9. Enjoy with a side salad or mixed vegetables.

Oreo Cupcakes

My take on the Oreo cupcake. Oreo cookie at the base, Oreo’s through the buttercream, and Oreo crumbs on top. It’s currently exam/study season which means I get cravings for something sweet. A great excuse for cupcakes! I used the Wilton 1M open star tip to pipe the icing onto the cupcake. I also used the vanilla buttercream from Betty Crocker as a little cheat.

Oreo Cupcake (1)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 100g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 30g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 140g unsalted butter, soft
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 20 Oreos (8 crushed, 12 whole)
  • 400g vanilla buttercream (I like the Betty Crocker brand)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases. Place one Oreo into each case.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar using a spoon until pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs, and fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the milk, and mix together until you have a smooth chocolate cupcake batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into each case until half or two-thirds full.
  6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted into one of the cupcakes. Leave to cool.
  7. Mix the crushed Oreos and buttercream together. Until well combined. Leave about 1 tbsp of crushed Oreos for sprinkling.
  8. When the cupcakes have cooled, spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle. Pipe the buttercream in a spiral motion.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Oreo crumbs on top of the cupcake, and enjoy.

Red Snapper with Pasta and Tomato Sauce

One of my favourite types of fish is the red snapper. It’s lean, moist, and has a distinctive sweet taste. This fish can stand up to many combinations of seasonings too. I made it pan-fried, and served it with some fusili and a quick tomato sauce. It was a very filling dinner, and takes 30 minutes to make (if you’re good at multi-tasking!). I tried this meal with rice instead of pasta, and it was just as tasty.

Serves 2

380 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 red snapper fillets
  • 180g pasta
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 4 vine tomatoes
  • 125g white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium heat.
  3. Blend 2 of the vine tomatoes, and dice the remaining 2.
  4. When the oil has heated, add the diced bell pepper, diced and blended tomatoes, and mushrooms into the pan. Add the tomato puree and mix together.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce to the pan. Lower the heat slightly, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. When the sauce is nearly finished cooking, lightly season the red snapper fillets with 1/2 tsp of all-purpose seasoning.
  7. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil on high heat.
  8. Lay the fillets gently into the pan, skin side down. Fry for 2 minutes.
  9. Turn the fillet to its other side and fry for a further minute. Leave to rest afterwards for 2 minutes.
  10. By now, everything should be ready to serve.