Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras = PANCAKE TIME!

I could not let Shrove Tuesday go by without acknowledging it - I mean, come on, it's the one day of the year when it's justified to eat as many pancakes as you like! What is there not to love? I know, pancakes may not strictly speaking be classed as baking, but I feel these delicious snacks can be an exception because they're just so damned good! Today things are a little different in France though. For one, it's known as Mardi Gras and number two, it doesn't seem to be especially associated with pancakes. Eating is not the focal point for once and instead, it is celebrated by dressing up and carnivals. 

Just one of the crazy things we saw at the Carneval de Nice! The theme was supposed to be Roi de Sport, but I'm not too sure how this elephant fits in...
No, you're not seeing things! That really is the Queen with some of her beefeaters!! I guess as the Olympics is in London this year that's where the connection is...

Now I can cope with a different name, and I'll even willingly attend a carnival (in fact, I'd reccommend going to the one at Nice!), but no pancakes on Pancake Day? That was when I was starting to get a little worried. Worry not though, because I managed to have my pancake fix! The question is, what will you choose to have on it? Will it be a traditional lemon and sugar one that brings flooding back all those childhood memories? Perhaps banana and Maple syrup for some to adopt the American tradition? Or strawberries and Nutella, my personal favourite. Of course, for those of you who can't make up your mind (or like me, just want everything!) the best option is to sample a bit of each, which is what we did. And I'd definitely reccommend it!

Another dilemma is which type of pancakes to make. Normally I just go for the traditional ones, but we tried making some American pancakes too this time which were rather yummy! Again, we made both, because it was so hard to decide on one. Whatever you do, just make sure you have pancakes and put as much sweet topping on them as possible. After all, the French call it 'Fat Tuesday', which surely gives us all an excuse to have a fat day, right?

Traditional Pancakes makes about 12-14, depending on pan size

100g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 Large Eggs
200ml Milk mixed with 75ml Water
50g Butter
Plus whatever toppings of your choice!

  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the flour.
  4. Gradually add the milk and water mixture, whisking constantly, until it has formed a smooth batter, the consistency of thin cream.
  5. Melt the butter in the pan.
  6. Pour 2 tablespoons of it into the batter and put the rest into a bowl to use for greasing the pan when making the pancakes.
  7. Get the pan really hot and turn down to a medium heat and then you're ready to start cooking them!
  8. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and tip it so it's evenly coated in the batter. 
  9. It should take only about half a minute to cook and then, if you're brave, flip it over, or if not, use a palette knife.
  10. Once the other side's cooked, it's ready!
  11. Serve with the toppings of your choice and enjoy!  

American Pancakes

200g Self Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
300ml Milk
Knob of Butter
Whatever toppings of your choice!

  1. Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl.
  2. Beat the egg into the milk.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture.
  4. Whisk until a smooth batter is made.
  5. Melt the butter and beat into the batter.
  6. Grease the pan by heating butter or oil.
  7. Add a large tablespoon of the batter into the pan. You should be able to fit about 3-4 pancakes in the pan at a time.
  8. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake.
  9. Turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden.
  10. Remove from the heat, serve with the topping of your choice and enjoy! 

On a side note...I am going back to England tomorrow and do you know what I'm looking forward to the most (aside from seeing my lovely friends and family who are still at home)? Being able to use our fan oven. Yes, really. I shall never take it for granted again!

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