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Pancake Tuesday / March 4th 2014

Perfect Pancakes

Can be enjoyed on Pancake Tuesday (also know as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras) on at any time of the year. A foolproof batter recipe and plenty of tips on how to make pancakes with flair, whether sweet or savory.

NOTE: This recipe is for the thin, almost crepe-like pancakes and not those thick heavy pancakes you get in the US (sorry US, no offence intended).

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
  • pinch salt
  • variety of fillings of your choice
    • Lemon Juice & Sugar
    • Bananas and strawberry jam (jelly if you're in the US)
    • Nutella

  1. Blending in the flour: Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the middle, then pour in about 50ml milk and 1 tbsp oil. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
  2. Finishing the batter: Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. Traditionally, people would say to now leave the batter for 30 mins, to allow the starch in the flour to swell, but there’s no need.
  3. Getting the right thickness: Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Quickly pour any excess batter into a jug, return the pan to the heat, then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. Pour the excess batter from the jug back into the mixing bowl. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to turn.
  4. Flipping pancakes: Hold the pan handle, ease a fish slice under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 secs before turning out onto a warm plate. Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.
  5. Eating: Serve warm, rolled with a filling of your choice. Enjoy!

Power Bites

Get Running - Eat Right

Pumpkin Pie Power Bites
We're at the start of (another) new year and full of resolution that this is the year that will finally see those pounds roll off, the fitness increase and maybe, yes maybe, a marathon.

With all that exercise planned (not yet executed!) you need to think about the nutrition to drive this new found motivation. Here you go!

 Ingredients: Commentary here
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 8 large)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (can use almond or sunflower seed butter)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 cup ground oats (processed in food processor or in a coffee grinder)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax-seed
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (optional)

Place dates in the bowl of a food processor and process until the dates form a sticky ball. Add the pumpkin puree, honey, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and sea salt. Process again until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. When well combined, transfer mixture to a large bowl and add both ground and rolled oats, ground flax seed and chocolate. Stir until everything is combined. Cover and chill mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll mixture into bites using about 1 tablespoon of dough and place on parchment or waxed paper. Cover and refrigerate. Power bites will keep for a week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer if stored in an airtight container or food storage bag.