I was having a chat with my Mum and Dad the other day about our holidays to France when I was a kid (bear with me, things are about to get a little overbearingly Proustian…). I spent most of my childhood summers in the nineties on a Eurocamp Campsite in the woods and (nudie) beach near La Palmyre, where I probably ate the best food of my whole life. We had croissants, bread and jam for breakfast outside the caravan every morning, scoffed “chichi” and “mascot” (*shrugs* I dunno, they were a bit like churros and doughnut sandwiches) bought from the (clothed) vendors strolling up and down the beach, ate “poulet avec frites” (rotisserie chicken and chips) for dinner that my Dad used to pick up from the camp takeaway joint every night, and then – big treat! – we all walked down to the on site bar and crêperie for sugary crêpes and Orangina for a very late afters (how I didn’t have a mouth full of metal fillings by the time I was 15, I have no idea). Oh, and then there were a couple of really special trips into Royan to pick up a paper bag full of fresh macaroons (not macarons!) from the local outdoor market. None of it was anything particularly special or unique – it was all just simple, fresh food done really, really well. And there’s probably not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it… and drool about it.
Anyway, I was complaining about peaches other day – and how it’s really difficult to get a good one here in the UK. In France I remember picking up ones from the market that were practically the size of my head when I was a kid, and that were so juicy that most of it would be running down your arm and spilling in your lap as you ate it. It just seems impossible to find that kind of quality produce here in the UK, and it made me a little sad and nostalgic for those holidays – and the food – from my childhood. And so I made pancakes… which should probably be the solution to all of life’s problems.
These Crêpes are wafer thin with a perfectly crispy, frilly edge and would be absolutely delicious topped with just about anything, but as I said, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and so I whipped up a boozy peach syrup to go with mine. They’re a little bit like Crêpes Suzette, but not quite. 🙂
French Crepes with Boozy Peach Syrup
For the Crêpes:
150g plain flour
2 eggs, whisked
30g melted butter
For the Boozy Peach Syrup:
150ml cold water
50g caster sugar
zest of one lemon
50ml alcohol of your choice (I used schnapps).
Top with a handful of flaked almonds
First, chop the peaches and then finely blitz in a food processor with the cold water. Sieve the peach juice through a muslin cloth to remove any lumps and bumps.
Grab a saucepan and then bring the peach juice to the boil with the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Turn down the heat and gently simmer for about 20 minutes until the everything is reduced to a syrup.
Whip up the Crêpes: whisk together the flour, milk, eggs and melted butter until you get a smooth batter without lumps. Fry each Crêpe in a little melted butter on a high heat for about a minute on both sides, and then serve up drizzled in peach syrup.
Last week I had one of those nights where you ping-pong back and forth between the sofa and the kitchen cupboard. You know, when you’re craving a lil’ something-something to scoff but have absolutely no idea what it is you fancy. Sunny and I were in the middle of a Ray Donovan marathon, and as well as rattling through a whole season in the space of a week, we’d also rattled through all the chocolate and sweet stuff in the kitchen cupboard too. And then I found the solution. We had a long-life carton of custard and a couple of bananas in the fruit bowl. Winner. “D’you fancy bananas and custard?” I called out from the kitchen. “What! YESSSSSSSS,” he roared back.
And so we scoffed a bowl each of bananas and custard whilst Ray Donovan buried another body. It was heaven, I tell you. HEAVEN.
It’s one of those stupidly simple yet completely satisfying desserts, innit? Easy. Awesome. And then I had the crazy idea of adding pancakes into the mix. Pancakes filled with custard, and topped with bananas. If you’ve never filled pancakes before it’s really easy, and once you’ve nailed it, there’s any number of ways you could go. Just make sure you go for fluffy, American style pancakes because it won’t work with crepes. 🙂
Bananas and Custard Filled Pancakes
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 large egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
100ml fresh custard
1 tsp vanilla essence
sliced fresh bananas
a little butter for greasing the frying pan
To make the filling, mix the vanilla essence into the custard. Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place on a tray or plate. Spoon small rounds of the custard onto the sheet, then pop the whole thing into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Whisk together your pancake batter, then leave it to sit for five minutes. Next, heat up your frying pan on a medium high heat, then grease with a little butter.
Bring the slightly frozen custard out of the freezer and keep it nearby. Carefully ladle some batter onto your frying pan, then place one of the custard rounds in the middle as it begins to cook. Cover it with a little bit of fresh batter, then flip the pancake over. Each side of the pancake will cook, leaving the custard nice and gooey in the middle. 🙂
Serve up with fresh bananas, walnuts and maple syrup. Yum!
I had to work so quickly taking these pictures; Bungle loves bananas and wouldn’t leave me alone. Just check out that drool! Happy Pancake Day (for tomorrow) everyone! 🙂
If there’s one thing I love about weekends (…there are many things, obviously, but here’s one for free) it’s brunch. Bungle’s waking up before 6am most mornings at the moment, so during the week I get up and walk him, while Sunny gets ready for work. We always eat breakfast together but it’s rushed and we’re both far too dog-tired (I’m starting to understand the origin of that phrase…) to care what we quickly swallow down before the day gets going.
But on the weekend? Oh the weekend! We take it in turns to have a lie in and then once we’re both up, we eat a fancy brunch. No half burnt toast or lukewarm porridge… nope, we celebrate the weekend with something a bit special – whether that’s pancakes, a full English, or pink poached eggs… or, a new fave of mine: Dutch Babies.
Not babies wearing clogs, let’s call these what they really are, and what they are is basically a massive, sweet Yorkshire Pudding. It’s what happens when you pour pancake batter into a hot skillet, and instead of frying, you bake it in the oven for thirty minutes. It goes golden brown, the edges puff up and and go crispy and create a bowl for whatever filling you fancy! And, they’re really easy to make; you can whip up the batter the night before and there’s nothing technical to worry about. Perfect for lazy weekends 🙂
Dutch Baby (makes two mini babies, or one big baby 😉)
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
70g Plain Flour
A little butter for greasing
Filling of choice: I used grilled nectarines, strawberries, shaved coconut and a bit of cream
A little icing sugar for dusting
In a measuring jug, whisk together the milk, eggs and sugar. Gradually add the flour, ensuring the mixture is smooth and without any lumps or bumps.
Leave the mixture in the fridge overnight or for an hour. Then, when you’re ready to cook, stir and allow it to warm to room temperature.
Set the oven to 220°, putting your skillet or heatproof dish inside to heat up with it. Once both have heated up, remove the skillet/dish from the oven and grease with butter. Pour in the batter, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
After twenty minutes, the sides should have puffed up and turned golden brown. Turn down the temperature to 160°, and bake for a further 10 minutes whilst you prepare your filling of choice!
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. Yum!
Have a great weekend everyone! (Hopefully we’ve finally seen the back of Spring-ter…) 🙂
It’s Pancake Day tomorrow (or Shrove Tuesday if you’re old school), but I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you that! I know some people take it really seriously and use it as a day to binge on whatever they’re giving up for lent, but Sunny and I just use it as an excuse for great big Pancake Par-tay. But come on, as if we needed an excuse! Sometimes it just needs to be a Saturday morning. 🙂
We usually make the fluffy American/Scotch pancakes (nice and easy to flip in the pan!) and then plonk a load of different toppings and sauces on the table.
Fluffy American-Style Pancakes
130g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 large egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a bit of butter to grease the pan
Put all the ingredients in a jug and whisk until nice and smooth.
Heat up a frying pan (medium heat) and grease with butter.
Pour a little batter into the pan and let it settle. When the top of the pancake starts to bubble – flip it!
What you serve them with is down to you. Throw some blueberries into the batter, a lump of peanut butter, sugar strands, walnuts… the possibilities are endless!