It’s worth giving a crêpe about
“Let’s face it, a ‘holiday’ as good as this can last all week. Why? Because, we said so”
As children, there was no culinary excitement greater than pancake day. There’s something about it’s rarity; G comes from a household that only ate pancakes on Shrove Tuesday with lemon and sugar while T was only treated to them smothered in Nutella on holiday in France. Pancakes are so popular now, and a go-to choice for a boozy brunch or a quick street snack. It wasn’t until adulthood that we were introduced into the world of fillings and toppings that fill hip café menus and infinite pages on Pinterest. Yeah, at first glance pancakes are about as simple as you can get, but they are the perfect canvas to get creative and make something delicious. After all, the point of Shrove Tuesday is to be as indulgent as possible one last time before we give up all worldly pleasures for lent…if Dry January didn’t destroy every ounce of will power you had left.
We will take ANY excuse to entertain, and Shrove Tuesday is a fun low-maintenance opportunity. Below are two recipes, one sweet and one savoury for a bit of variety. The two dishes would work well as courses to follow each other, but that might be pushing it a little. So, what we suggest is a casual Tuesday night supper with the savoury option with a few friends, and a relaxed breakfast in bed for your S.O on the weekend. Let’s face it, a ‘holiday’ as good as this can last all week. Why? Because, we said so.
The first recipe is perfect for a relaxed supper at home with your nearest and dearest. The dish is bright and colourful, and vegetarian which makes things simple for your guests. The crepes are flavoured and coloured with spinach, which is a nice twist on your standard beige. The filling is made up of sautéed mushrooms, onion and garlic and crumbled with fresh tangy chevre goats cheese. The dish works well for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and perfectly indulgent to get your fill before lent.
“You can even go ahead and make carb-free vegan pancakes if you want to get serious, but you should be totally prepared to accept the fact that you have no soul.”
Crack open a bottle of wine and have fun with your friends, perhaps battling to flip the perfect pancake. Don’t think too much about your presentation; just use your usual crockery and cutlery and a few candles burning for a little ambience. We picked up our cutlery in a mass batch on Ebay – try searching ‘Antique Cutlery’ or ‘Kitchenalia’ and it should come up with some stellar finds. We served our pancakes in white & blue enamelware, to give a rustic feel. You can pick up 4 plates from the official Falcon Enamelware for £26, but if you’re looking for the odd dish for a steal we recommend old faithful Ebay or Amazon.
A clean, fruity wine like Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc would be a classic pairing with the Chevre goats cheese in this dish, however Chablis and Pinot Grigio will work just as well if you can’t get hold of it. Accompany with some chilled out vibes; we’ve recently discovered the ‘Sexy As Folk’ playlist on Spotify. Not just a smirk-worthy title, the track listings includes the god-like company of Hozier, Bishop Briggs and Jeff Buckley. Enough to capture a room, or to be its melodic-crutch in the background.
If you believe a pancake without sugar is like Bonnie without Clyde, then this recipe might be for you. Or do both, its pancake day after all, and we certainly don’t judge. For the purposes of diversity (we didn’t want to seem samey, and we are always up for a challenge) we thought we would try American style fluffy pancakes. They are fantastic as an indulgent breakfast, or as a decadent dessert to satisfy your pancake fix.
“Best served in bed with pyjamas, juice and freshly brewed coffee”
However, those of you who have the patience to still be loyally dedicated to their health- kick cause will be pleased to know that the recipe we have provided really isn’t that unhealthy. It’s topped with slightly sweetened Greek yoghurt (T wanted to call it ‘Chantilly’ yoghurt, but G told her to stop being a ponce…) and stewed rhubarb. Of course, you are totally free to smother it in butter and syrup, but at least the thought is there. You can even go ahead and make carb-free vegan pancakes if you want to get serious, but you should be totally prepared to accept the fact that you have no soul.
Best served in bed with pyjamas, juice and freshly brewed coffee. We would recommend Kayon Mountain, Ethiopian beans from local gem Ancoats Coffee Company (£8.50 for 250g) just off Great Ancoats Street. We also picked up our rather modern looking wooden tray (with stand-up legs) from John Lewis, but these are so trendy at the moment you could just about pick one up from anywhere! Nothing left other than to snuggle down to some sexy tunes; another Spotify playlist we’re loving is “Early Grey Morning” (get it?) where you can float away to the likes of Damian Rice and Richard Hawley… what more could you want?
Recipes are below; indulge your inner child this pancake day.
Catch you on the flip side.
Spinach Crepes with Sautéed Mushrooms and Chevre Goats Cheese
30g unsalted butter, for frying
150g plain flour
1 large egg
Pinch of Salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 punnet of mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
Chevre goats cheese
Few fresh tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Salt, pepper, olive oil
To make the batter, first boil the spinach in water for 10 minutes. Drain it and pop it in a food processor to make a bright green puree. Combine the spinach, egg, flour, milk, nutmeg and salt. Mix until smooth. It should be a gorgeous bright green colour.
In a frying pan sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in plenty of butter and a dash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tarragon and the lemon juice, they are both a must with mushrooms as they really bring out the flavour. Once the mixture is nice and golden set aside while you cook the crepes.
Melt a teaspoon of butter in a medium frying pan on a high heat. Spread the butter around the pan and turn the heat down to medium to be sure that the butter doesn’t burn. Add a soup ladle full of the batter into the pan and tip the pan as to allow the mixture to spread. Ideally it should be as thin as…well, a pancake, but if you want to get technical it should be between 1mm and 2mm. As thin as our patience.
Cook the crepe for about two minutes before carefully flipping and cooking for a further 2 minutes or until its slightly golden brown. Fill one half of the pancake with the mushroom mixture, crumble the goats cheese and fold it in half. Serve with pine nuts, fried or poached eggs and a chilled glass of white wine.
American Fluffy Pancakes with Stewed Rhubarb and Sweetened Greek Yoghurt
For the rhubarb
Serves 2 (16 pancakes)
750g Rhubarb, cut into 6 inch batons
Zest of 1 lemon
100g Caster sugar
Thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1 vanilla pod, deseeded
For the yoghurt
250ml Greek yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod, deseeded
50g caster sugar
For the Batter
135g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
Start by stewing the rhubarb. This is so easy its almost fool proof. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir to combine the sugar. Bring it to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Take it off the heat and allow to cool completely in its liquor. The yoghurt is just as easy: you guessed it, just combine the ingredients in a small bowl and put back in the fridge until you are ready.
Combine the batter ingredients in an electric mixer or in a large bowl. Whisk until it is smooth. Heat up a teaspoon of butter in a pan and allow to melt. Ladle a small amount of mixture into the hot pan, ideally it should be thick and juice and about 8-10cm in diameter. Don’t worry if they seem a bit flat at first, they will rise with the baking powder and fluff up as they cook. When you start to see little bubbles appearing on the uncooked side, its ready to flip. Turn it over and cook for an equal amount of time on the other side. Pop it in the oven to keep warm while you make more. Repeat until you run out of mixture.
Stack the pancakes as tall as structurally possible like the leaning tower of Pisa. Top with the yoghurt, rhubarb, dust with a little icing sugar, and serve.