Special Breakfast Pancakes

Ok, so its not dinner. I would, of course, eat this for dinner though.

For some people, this a special breakfast would not make. For some people like morning people, supermums, domestic gods and goddesses alike, pancakes on a weekday morning must be a breeze, a mere flick of the whisk. In this household however, breakfast is a sonambulist’s territory. Toast is made rubbing sleep out of eyes, coffee is perculated as we stumble around and the radio provides the only conversation of any meaning. Greedy boy, the only one even half awake, is not in the mood for much – and toast is not much of a culinary challenge. Besides, before long  it will be one he will take on for himself.

Back to the pancakes. They are a simple enough recipe. And they are not special in themselves (Although throw in a couple of blueberries to the batter and they might be, if blueberries float your boat). What makes them special in my view are: The best quality bacon, streaky and good quality canadian maple syrup. And in this house, the percieved effort for a special person’s birthday, makes them special.

pancakes

First consume your caffeine beverage of choice, and turn on the radio.

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scant tsp caster sugar
  • 300ml buttermilk (or just go ahead with ordinary milk)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • butter and vegetable oil for frying

Now, I just put all the ingredients except the melted butter in my blender goblet and whizzed to a batter, but if you don’t have a blender (or it isn’t 6am) you can simply put the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre of it. Mix the egg and the milk in a jug and slowly, slowly pour into the well, stirring the flour in gradually. Mix in your melted butter. If adding fruit (and I would only really add berries, cut to garden pea size) do it now.

Put your bacon on.

Heat a dot of butter and a teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick pan. Drop a heaped tablespoon of batter into the pan, wait until it settles into a pancake and then put another tablespoon in, and then another, until you are cooking up to three pancakes in a batch. Cook on a low to medium heat for about 3 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble on top. At this point you can check to see whether the pancake has browned underneath by lifting up the side a bit. If browned, flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the otherside. Slooooowwwwwly. Or you will get a burnt outside and an uncooked middle. And that doesn’t exactly say ‘Happy Birthday!’

I would keep the cooked ones under a clean tea towel on a warmed plate while you cook as many pancakes as you like. Serve with the bacon and a generous side of maple syrup.

Honey Roasted Indian Lamb with Coconut Rice

If you cook, then I’m sure you’ve used food to communicate. Maybe if you don’t cook really, I bet you have. I bet you’ve bought someone a box of chocolates, well meaningly bought a packet of sweets to reward a child’s good behavior. Maybe you’ve cooked a dinner to make up to your better half over a row or when you’re trying to tell someone you’re serious about them. Even if it is a M&S ready meal. This is normal and perfectly lovely. Maybe if its the ONLY way you communicate with your loved ones then its not very healthy, but every now and then, a few hours in the kitchen to demonstrate your love to the people you love, is nice.

finished dinner.

So this is the sort of thing I might cook when I have that sort of need. Its not difficult by any means, but it does require a few processes, and ideally, you need to start preparing 24 hours in advance. Loosely following recipes here by Anjum Anand.

Serves um.. 4-6. I recommend a vegetable side to go with this, try sweetcorn & red pepper curry.

Lamb:

  • 1 leg of lamb, 2.2 -2.5k                  100g blanched almonds
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil                       100ml thick greek style yogurt
  • 2 tbsp water                                1 & 1/2 tbsp Honey
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 15g fresh ginger, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder

24 hours ahead, put everything in the first column except the lamb in a blender. Whizz until smooth. Get a small, sharp knife and make deep, regular cuts in the lamb. Take the spice mix out of the blender and rub it into the lamb, ensuring the marinade gets into the cuts. At this point, I wrapped the coated lamb in a (clean!) carrier bag, put it on a big plate and put it in the fridge. Forget for 22 hours.

The next day, whizz up the almonds, yogurt and honey.[important] Do not allow your other half to mistake this for a smoothie. Rub this mixture into the lamb , you mnigtht well smear this into the marinade – if you do, don’t worry, won’t have that big a bearing on the final dish, and put back in the fridge for at least 30 mins – and up to two hours.  Bring it back up to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to Gas 7, cook the lamb for 15 mins and then reduce the heat to gas 4 . You need to cook your lamb for 20-25 mins per 500g and then up to an additional 15 minutes, depending on how pink you like your meat. Remember to baste the lamb fairly regularly with any juices that might have dripped off it in the oven. Its a bit more cooked than I would usually like, preferring pinker meat, but a mixture of attending to guests and not really looking about the clocks made for medium cooked lamb. No worse for that, as it turned out. Meanwhile…

Coconut Rice:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 small red chilli
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped or grated ginger
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 500g cooked basmati rice (as per packet instruction to make up to that amount when cooked)
  • 8 tbsp dessicated coconut, cover in water to soak before cooking.

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When the lamb is cooked, turn the heat off and open the oven door to give it a chance to rest.  Heat the oil for the rice in a large non stick frying pan and when its hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds & chilli. When the onion seeds start to pop, put in the onion and ginger and cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft, roughly 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and fry over a medium heat until the rice is hot through and everything is combined. Serve with the carved lamb. Scoff. And soak up the reflected lurve.