Currently (sadly) alternating between periods of intense revision and:
- wondering what Leonardo da Vinci’s Snapchats would be like
- researching the nutrition of scallops and uni, in other words my two current favourite types of seafood
- embarking on The Kitchn’s baking school program, which is definitely one of the most interesting and exciting things I’ve started in a long time.
Busyness aside, there will always be time for a good settle-down in the kitchen. Like a good breakfast. Something like this:
thin, tender, lacey (English) pancakes (here topped with fresh ripe banana, drizzled with almond butter and salted caramel walnuts+melted matcha chocolate I saved all the way from Japan)
For creativity and mood’s sake, I gave in to the whole almond-matcha theme the first time round. It’s one of those things I’ve done before, loved, and you can check it out right here. Admittedly, the day after, I reheated a couple of extra pancakes and went for the classic, ever-loved combo of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and sugar. Deliciousness= lemon and sugar soaking into thin pancake flesh, into every crevice of the crumpled carpet. That being said, there’s also something magical about the combination of a fresh, warm pancake with a creamy slather of almond butter. The melted matcha chocolate hits everything with a sweet and slightly bitter kick.
Sorry– trypophobics beware.
Having made plenty of American pancakes, the sort which fluff up and bounce and you top with butter and maple syrup, I thought it fitting to try something else. That’s when I came across Nigella Lawson’s recipe for classic crepes. And so another question popped up:
- what’s the difference between a crepe and a pancake?
After trying out the recipe and doing the research, I had a hard time deliberating whether the final result was more akin to one or the other. The nuances of the recipe made this more a pancake than crepe, so pancakes it was. The main difference lies in waiting time, so calling it a crepe wouldn’t be sacrilege.
These pancakes are a real treat any morning. Very thin, lacey, and have a light brown, crispy underside. The great bit? You can put them together in a pinch and any leftovers can be chucked in the fridge and reheated the next morning/ whenever you want.
Took a while for me to get these pancakes as thin and lacey as possible, but a few good tricks to have up your sleeve are:
- when putting melted butter into the pan before ladling of the pancake batter, do not use a paper towel to remove excess butter– add a generous amount of butter, let melt and swirl around. This will promote excellent browning and crispiness at the edges.
- I repeat– generous amount of butter.
- use medium-high heat– should hear a mild sizzle when batter hits the pan and a heavier-bodies sizzle when batter is ladled into pan.
- After ladling, lift the pan off the heat to swirl it around evenly. This prevents any batter that’s already been ladled from cooking too fast and lets you swirl everything nicely and thinly.
Classic pancakes (makes 8–10 medium pancakes; adapted from Nigella’s crepes recipe)
150g plain, all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
28g (2 tbsp) melted, unsalted butter, plus more for the pan during cooking
1 large egg
340ml milk of choice (I used both whole and almond milk on 2 occasions and both worked perfectly)
Preheat your pan or crepe pan on medium-high heat and ready some butter for cooking. In a large bowl, tip in the flour, salt, sugar, milk, egg and butter, in that order, and whisk everything together. Continue whisking until no lumps remain, and the batter is pale and silky. Use a small ladle to ladle in a little batter and immediately swirl in a circle formation to spread the batter evenly in the pan. As mentioned earlier in the post, you should hear a heavy-bodied sizzle upon the application of melted butter to the pan, and a mild batter when the batter actually hits the pan and starts cooking.
Your first and second pancakes might be a little dodgy, but it gets better as you go along (promise). Once the edges of the pancakes crisp up and brown, slide your spatula underneath and flip. Cook for up to 45 seconds on this side, then remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. When cooking the pancakes/crepes, layer paper towels between each to absorb the condensation.
Serve warm with more butter and honey/maple syrup, or lemon juice and sugar. Try out the combination in the picture above too– does wonders for your tastebuds, friends.