ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pancake Days and Mondays never get me down

It struck me this week, while cooking the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, that it’s the one day of the year when one's dessert usually takes up the greater portion of the meal as a whole.

This year, we only ate a very light supper of beans on toast, so as to leave plenty of room for a succession of freshly cooked pancakes. And things were much the better for that, I can tell you.

My blood sugar reading the following morn might have been higher than the doctor would have liked, but it was worth it.

I shan’t bother with a pancake recipe because it’s so easy. Eggs. Flour. Milk. Sugar. Sans lumps. In quantities such that the mixture takes about half a second to drip off a spoon.

And always fry them in good quality salted butter. And eat them immediately. Easy.

Insider Secrets from the world of Batter

I do have one little tip to share though: Add some maple syrup to the batter mix as well as putting it on your pancakes. You won’t regret it.

Oh, and take a risk-averse approach to the art of tossing. You might look cool if you manage too, err, pull it off, but it's better to use a spatula and ensure that the flipped fucker ends up back in the pan where it bastard well belongs.

It's also worth varying the quantity of batter and therefore the thickness of the pancake - thick Scotch style and wafer-thin French style are both good, as are all the varying degrees of girth 'that lie betwixt the twain'.

We had our pancakes with chocolate, banana, maple syrup (obviously), whipped cream and chopped nuts, which is possibly a tad on the hyper-indulgent side, and again not appealing to my GP, but they tasted awesome.

And given that I’ve joined my good lady wife in giving up chocolate for Lent this year, I feel my system deserved a fitting Mardi Gras blow-out.

I’ll give you one more seasonal tip: Savoury crepes are a doddle to make – just omit the sugar and syrup, and add some fresh Parmesan to the batter mix. Serve filled with chilli con carne. Or Boston Baked Beans. Or just some pancetta fried with onion, garlic and tomato. You can’t go wrong.

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