Over the years, the culinary world has seen many cooking gadgets. And one handy one that came on the scene in the early 70s is the slow cooker which is also commonly known as the crock pot. Let’s face it, consumers often get very excited when a particular gadget hits the market, and the slow cooker falls into that bracket. The fact is that this kitchen apparatus is sometimes placed in storage, maybe because of its somewhat bulky body.
Nowadays, families have extremely busy lives. Both parents and children alike spend several hours commuting to work and school which leaves a small window of time to return home and prepare nutritious meals. As such, it’s time to pull out and dust off this handy cooker and reclaim its glory. Or if you don’t own one, perhaps it’s the opportune time to secure one. Some of the benefits of using a slow cooker are:
A slow cooker allows the flexibility of a cook’s time in the kitchen. There is no need to stand and sweat over a traditional stove for hours preparing a meal. Wholesome ingredients can be washed, chopped and placed in the slow cooker early in the morning. On returning home from work or school a hearty and delicious meal is there ready for consumption. Or, if you are at home on a week-end, you can use the opportunity to execute other tasks around the home or run errands around town. Without a doubt, there is the utmost assurance that your time is managed properly because the slow cooker enables the multi-tasking of activities.
Another great advantage of using a slow cooker is that tough cuts of meat can be slowly cooked and simmered into a mouthwatering and succulent dish. For example great pieces of beef chunks can be seasoned and placed in the cooker along with root veggies and spices. The result is a delicious and finger licking stew that will appeal to the palate.
Locks in flavors
In cooking a meal in a slow cooker, there is no need to constantly open the lid and observe the cooking process of a meal. As a result, the flavors are locked in and thus produce aromatic tastes that will have everyone returning for seconds.
The beautiful thing about cooking in a slow cooker is that it possess the versatility of cooking a variety of dishes. A slow cooker can soften beans or any dried grains and transform them into appealing and tasty side dishes. Season and spread over a fluffy bed of rice with your choice of protein.
When the temperatures are taking a nose-dive on the outskirts during the winter months, the slow cooker is a godsend in preparing a hearty pot of vegetable, beef or chicken soup. All that is necessary is to place a choice of ingredients in the pot along with seasoning and spices and allow this handy gadget to do its thing.
Treat your palate to a delectable dessert by utilizing the slow cooker in this arena. And the sweet and aromatic rice pudding is a perfect choice for the cooker. Toss in rice, milk, sugar, spices and let the cooker do its magic. The result will be a creamy and sweet treat. Sprinkle a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.
Whether you call it the crock pot or the slow cooker, there’s no denying, this handy cooking gadget is an important apparatus to have in the kitchen.
Elaborate, sweet, and often decadent, cupcakes are delightful desserts that spark the inner child within us. The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in “American Cookery” by Amelia Simms. The earliest documentation of the term “cupcake” was in “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” in 1828.
Classical bakery recipes used weight as a means for measuring ingredients, but eventually evolved to dry measurements. The traditional pound cake recipe was easy to remember for its pound of butter, pound of sugar, pound of flour, pound of eggs. Likewise, an easy 1,2,3,4 recipe, the name “cupcake” can be derived for how the recipe was measured: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs.
While today we use muffin tins to bake cupcakes, these pans used to be called gem pans. However, cupcakes were originally baked in teacups and ramekins before the invention of the multi-cup pans. Popularized in the 19th century for their ease of mixing and quick cooking time, here are a few strange facts about these little creations:
– Cupcakes (and other baked goodies) are banned in New York City’s schools as a way of curtailing rising obesity rates.
– Cupcake liners do more than make it easy to remove them from the pan. Traditionally, sides of tins are greased for easy removal, but also floured because the batter needs to have something to cling to. A cupcake liner takes care of both.
– Suzanne Rutland claims to have eaten over 50,000 Hostess cupcakes and even founded a Hostess Cup Cake Club. This iconic cupcake has been around since 1919, but became hugely popular with the addition of a creamy filling in 1950.
– Several attempts have been made to create the World’s Largest Cupcake. However, by definition, these would indeed just be large cakes iced together mimicking the classic fluted shape of the true small stature of a cupcake. The current holder of the record: GourmetGiftBaskets.com for their 1224-lb., 2 million calorie creation baked on August 15, 2009.
– If giant cupcakes are imposters, then the World’s Smallest Cupcake is a sure winner. Baked in Great Britain in celebration of National Cupcake Week, this mini-mini measured 1.5 centimeters high and 3 centimeters wide.
– While not edible, the $25,000 cupcake car featured by Neiman-Marcus in 2009 is perhaps the oddest cupcake. Cupcakes will be custom made to match your favorite flavors and toppings.
– 29 cupcakes in 30 seconds is the record for eating the little treats
While relative newcomers in the world of food, the cupcake has earned its place in culinary history. From cupcake kabobs to bacon-chocolate flavored treats, these confections will continue to delight us into the future.
Tea is a natural beverage brewed from the leaves of an evergreen plant called, camellia sinensis. That of which is related to the camellia japonica. The later a familiar tree or shrub. It has become common to refer to any hot beverage that is brewed from naturally occurring plants or plant extracts as “tea”. Technically, they should be called “teassanes”, as the word “tea” is reserved for beverages brewed from leaves of camellia sinensis.
The plant is very versatile and can grow under almost any conditions. However, it grows best in tropical and subtropical climates with abundant rainfall and rich soil. The plant flourishes at altitudes between 2000 and 6500 feet. The finest quality teas grow at higher elevations where the cool climate slows growth, allowing more concentrated flavors to develop in the leaves. However, like wine, the quality of tea varies dramatically from region to region. Most of the variations are due to climatic conditions of the regions where the tea is grown and not from the differences in the tea bush itself.
Tea is grown around the world and originates from one of two important subspecies. Either the Assam type (assamica) or China type (sinensis). The Assam type produces large strong tasting leaves while China type, yields a more delicate tea with smaller leaves.
How tea is grown
Tea was essentially grown from seeds all over the world, until the late 1800’s. Subsequent development of a simple, cheap and rapid method of vegetative propagation, made it possible to multiply and release elite plants as clones for economy and ease of planting. The industry has been using generations of vegetative propagation and leaf cuttings from the best plants to clone productive bushes which yield superior tasting tea.
However, tea is a long duration crop and absolute dependence on clones for commercial cultivation of tea is a risky proposition as all bushes of a clone are equally susceptible to attack from pest or a disease. On the other hand, bushes from a seed population can fit into a wide range of environmental conditions without much change in their overall performance. Therefore, along with plant clones, clonal seed stocks are used for replacement or extension of tea areas.
Planting tea is a very delicate operation and needs adequate planning and proper supervision. It can be done either by seed or by vegetative propagation. Correctly planted tea plants from the nursery quickly establish in the field, grow vigorously and come into full bearing early.
Various field management practices are followed in post-planting care to encourage early establishment and vigorous growth of tea plants and also to increase their radial spread and longevity. These are shade, weed, pest and disease control, drainage, irrigation, manuring and bush frame formation.
Tea plants or bushes are usually maintained or pruned back to three to five feet height which allows for convenient plucking of tender tea leaves. Otherwise, the tea plant will grow to nearly thirty feet, that is why periodic pruning is necessary. Pruning also stimulates the growth of new young leaves or flush. Properly cultivated tea bushes can have a productive life span of more than hundred years.
How it is harvested
Plucking tea is synonymous to harvesting in other crops. The tender apical portions of shoots consisting of 2 to 3 leaves and the terminal buds are nipped off by hand by pickers and put in cane or bamboo baskets tied to the back. Removal of this portion of a tea shoot stimulates growth of the dormant leaf and buds below the apex. The stimulated buds become active and start laying down initials of cataphylls, of normal leaves and of another appendage intermediate between it and the leaf, which is known as fish leaf.
While laying new initials, the bud swells up and after reaching a critical stage, unfolding of cataphylls begin, fish leaf and normal leaves also come up in succession. These appendages carry axil buds,which are capable of producing normal shoots of equal vigor. This unique property is advantageous in designing plucking system.
Care is taken to ensure that the plucked leaves are not coarse, as such leaves affect the quality of the product. Secondly, shoots below the plucking surface are left alone. The time interval between two successive plucking is called plucking round. Normally 6 to 8 days plucking round is practiced to keep a balance between crop and quality but may be extended from 4 to 14 days, depending on the growth rate and quality of tea desired.
The time required for unfolding of successive leaves from a growing bud vary from 3 to 6 days depending on climatic variation. This is called leaf period. The type of shoots left out during previous plucking round determines the size of shoots in the next round of harvest.
Once the leaf basket is full, the picker brings it to the central station where the basket is weighed and passed on to the factory floor. On the factory floor, the manufacturing process of tea begins by preparing it for oxidation and drying.
There’s nothing like a homemade treat to spell love and comfort to a brood of growing kids.
Mothers might also be concerned for their children’s health. Luckily, there are a few simple substitutions one can make to baked goods to ensure they provide nutrition as well as taste.
The key word here is simple. Often there isn’t the time – or, face it, the cash – to source or buy unusual ingredients for the pantry.
Here’s what you can do, simply, easily and effectively.
Substitute whole wheat for all purpose (plain) flour. If your family is used to the taste of white flour, start small. Substitute ¼ cup of wholewheat in a recipe, gradually building up to half and half. Whole wheat not only adds fibre to baked goods but gives them a nuttier flavour, and by using it in combination with all purpose flour, you avoid the heaviness associated with ‘health food’.
Cut down the sugar. Many recipes call for one or two cups of sugar. This is rarely necessary. Depending on the recipe and how sweet other ingredients may be, you can easily cut the amount of sugar by ¼ -1/2 cup without affecting the flavour. Try it!
Add fruits and vegetables. Yes, vegetables. We’ve all baked a carrot cake. What about a zucchini cake, or a chocolate and beetroot cake ? Pumpkin muffins are delicious. Fruits like bananas can be mashed and added to a pancake batter; other fruits like pears and apples can be added to cake or biscuit mixtures either stewed or grated. Use freshly squeezed orange juice in place of milk.
Vegetables and fruits add taste, fibre and nutrition to your baked goods. They are also excellent for keeping cakes moist. Another plus is that this is a great way to use up leftover, excess or over-ripe fruits and vegetables, meaning less waste in the kitchen. Feel free, though, to keep this particular tip a secret from your kids if you think they might object to vegetables in their afternoon snack!
Lose the butter. Substitute the equivalent amount of a light, cold pressed olive oil or rice bran oil, both of which are better for heart health. Olive oil seems to particularly suit baked goods containing fruits. Greek yogurt or stewed apple can also work well in place of butter.
Follow these simple tips, using free-range eggs of course, and you’ll have great tasting, economical treats for the family that are practically guilt free.
Camping is a great, relatively inexpensive way to go on a family vacation. There are many memorable things about camping trips and creating family traditions. One of the best things about camping is eating! You get to make a mess because you are cooking outdoors and make things you can’t typically make in the house. Here are a few tried and true ideas, gathered from many years in Girl Scouts. They are all easy and of course delicious!
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Wraps (serves 4)
Heavy duty aluminum foil
4-8” flour tortillas
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup miniature marshmallows
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions: Spread 2 TBS. of peanut butter on each tortilla. Next put ¼ C of marshmallows and 2 TBS of chocolate chips on half of each tortilla. Roll up, starting on the side with the goodies. Then wrap each tortilla in heavy-duty foil; seal ends tightly. Place on campfire coals for 2 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Unwrap and enjoy.
Mountain Fruit Pies (serves 2-?)
Mountain Pie Maker
2 slices of bread for each pie
1 can of pie filling (any flavor)
Directions: Butter one side of bread, place it butter side down on a mountain pie maker. Spoon in the pie filling. Next butter another slice of bread, place this on top of the pie filling butter side up. Close mountain pie maker and place on hot coals. Cook 2-3 minutes, flip, and cook 2-3 minutes. They are ready to eat when the bread is golden brown and doesn’t stick to the pie maker.
Banana Boats (serves 2)
Heavy duty aluminum foil
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup miniature marshmallows
Directions: Leave the banana in the peel, slit each banana lengthwise. Be careful not to cut through the other side. Pry open slightly to stuff in the chips and marshmallows in the slit. Wrap each separately in foil and cook over coals for approximately 5 minutes or until the chips are melted. Carefully open foil and eat with a spoon. This can also be made in a conventional oven, bake a 300° for 5 minutes.
S’mores (serves 2)
2 sheets graham crackers
2 Hershey’s bars
2 jumbo marshmallows
Directions: If using real sticks, make sure they are green. To see if a stick is green, try to break it. If it bends and/or splits it is green. If it snaps off, it is too dry to use for roasting marshmallows and could catch on fire. Using a pocket knife, carefully shave one end of the stick to a point. It’s best to have your graham crackers ready before cooking the marshmallows. Break the crackers in half, and break chocolate in half, the pieces should match in size. Put one cracker on a plate (table, napkin, etc.), and then put one piece of chocolate on top of it. Place marshmallow on stick and hold it close to coals, Turn occasionally, toasting to a golden brown and slightly gooey. Place the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and use the other piece of graham cracker as a lid. Push down on the cracker and slowly pull out the stick. Enjoy the ooey gooey goodness.
On Thanksgiving Day, through tears and sobbing, a young cook calls Mother for advice. What’s the problem? “The pie dough is sticking to the rolling pin!”
If the novice baker can’t correct it, this situation can create a severe setback to the perpetual motion of the holiday dinner. Don’t despair – there may be an easy fix.
Pick up all the scraps of dough, form it into a disk, wrap the sticky dough in cling-wrap; place this in the refrigerator for an hour. In the meantime, do a quick clean-up of the prep area, the rolling pin, and your hands.
-Scrape all the flour, dough, and tears off the work surface – scoop them right into the trash can.
-Wash the area with a cool dish cloth, rinse the cloth in cold water and wash the area again. Remove all signs of the first attempt.
-Use a dry cloth to clean the rolling pin, wiping off all residual leavings. These, too, will go to the garbage bowl. (Hey, even Rachael Ray has a garbage bowl!)
Now – go wash your hands, your face, and straighten you hair.
Make and drink a cup of tea while the dough is also regaining composure in the quiet depths of the refrigerator.
When you are ready – – Retrieve the pie dough from its hiding place and have a look at it. If it is still sticky, you will need to add more flour; if it’s not sticky and seems to be in good shape, all the better!
Let’s assume that the pie crust is still a bit too sticky. Here’s what to do:
Sprinkle ½ cup of flour on the work surface. Place the pie dough disk in the middle of that flour and press down slightly to pick up some of the flour. Flip the dough over and do that again.
Take some flour in your hands now and run it up and down that rolling pin; do this a couple of times to flour it well.
Now – working from the center of the dough, roll it firmly away from you; do this twice.
Turn the dough, sprinkle more flour on the work surface, and move the crust to that spot. Roll the dough from the middle out and away from you again; turn, and repeat the rolling.
Keep turning the dough and rolling away from you from the middle until it is the size you need.
See? This will work!
Now here is a terrific tip:
Lightly dust the top of the pie crust with flour. Fold the dough in half, and then in half again. Do this lightly, as if you are working with something fluffy. You now have a nice pie dough triangle.
Gingerly place the point of this dough triangle in the middle of your pie plate, then unfold it in the pan.
Your pie dough is now sitting prettily inside the pie plate, ready to be fitted and snuggled down. Just gently push it into position working from the middle out and then up the sides.
Trim off any excess dough, then fill that sucker with any pie filling.
Dump the idea of a top crust for today – enough is enough! Opt instead for this simple streusel topping.
¼ cup butter
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix all these together to form a loose, crumbly topping and sprinkle it over the entire pie. Bake it at 350oF. following the directions for your pie recipe. (35-40 minutes) And for Pete’s sake, don’t burn it!
Somewhere amid the screaming, nail-biting, and hair-pulling there are ways to regain composure in the midst of a pie- crust crisis. Hopefully, using these techniques and hints has pointed you in the direction of success. Keep this in mind – it’s just pie crust – it’ll be okay!
Double chins are not uncommon. You obviously know what they are as to a lot of other people who find them unsightly and ugly. Most people who have double chins want to have them removed. You can of course opt for a surgery to have it removed. It is called liposuction. But apart from this expensive cosmetic surgery, there is a fairly simple way on how to get rid of your double chin: exercise!
Let us first explore the causes that makes one develop a double chin. It is widely thought that double chins are the direct outcome of overall state of being. That includes your age, health, lifestyle and weight. If you are overweight you will have a double chin so naturally, the obvious way to get rid of your double chin is to lose weight. To counter the excess fat you would need to change your eating habit. A healthier diet would reduce your intake of excessive calories which would other wise be stored in embarrassing places, like your double chin. So getting rid of a double chin is no different from trying to remove a love handle. A double chin is nothing but fat stored around your neck and this fat can and should be removed a proper diet, and if possible, a workout plan. Cardiovascular exercises like running and brisk walking help you lose weight faster.
But recent studies have shown that double chins are not necessarily the outcome of obesity. There are other factors at work, factors that are genetic. So if you do have a double chin, blame it on your genes!
We recommend that you do this proven exercise that can tone down your double chin.
Begin by opening your mouth, stretch it as wide as you can till you feel comfortable. Don’t worry if you feel silly about this. Just do it! Hold your mouth open for about fifteen seconds. Keep time, see your watch or a wall clock. Close your mouth. Keep it closed, and rest for five seconds, and then repeat. See that you keep the mouth open the same amount of time for both the sets.
Do this exercise seven to ten times each day. You will most definitely see some changes. This exercise will get rid of your double chin you do this, your chin, neck, and mouth are in such a position that it strains the muscles under your chin. Thus those particular muscles are tightened. And even if you don’t fell any strain don’t take it lightly. Keep exercising.
You might find it hard to do the exercises as it makes you feel silly. Try doing it in places where you will not feel self-conscious. Try doing them in the privacy of your washroom, when you are alone at home or inside your car. The point is to keep doing until your chin starts firming up.
If you have a double chin don’t feel disheartened. Remember that you can get rid of them. It is not that hard. Especially because now you know the causes and the ways to get rid of your double chin .You won’t ever have to feel embarrassed about your double chin again. So don’t wait, start exercising. You will lose that unattractive piece of flesh.
Potato wine is quite simple to make and the flavor is fantastic, with a citrus punch-like taste. The wine can pack a wallop, though it isn’t nearly as strong as real vodka. Though sugar is required, much of the fermentation is because of the potato starches. There are several ways to make it. However the following is one of the simplest.
Basic equipment needed
Before beginning, the best advice is to make sure that at least the following basic wine-making equipment is ready to be used. The most basic items needed for properly making this wine include:
5 gallon glass or plastic wine carboy
1 single hole rubber cork and fermentation lock
1 large stainless steel pot
bottles and corks sufficient for bottling 4 gallons of wine
The equipment, except for the pot, needs to be sanitized before use. This is done by placing the various tools in hot water to which bleach has been added at the rate of 1/8 cup bleach to two gallons of hot water. The equipment should then be rinsed thoroughly and allowed to dry. One of the biggest mistakes made is to wash the equipment with soap and water, which leaves a residue that can taint the wine. There are other chemicals that can be used to sanitize the equipment, specifically designed for beer and wine making tools, however the bleach is a cheaper alternative.
15 pounds potatoes, cleaned but unpeeled
10 pounds sugar, granulated or brown
1 pound raisins
4 gallons water or a little less
1 packet Montrachet wine yeast
Cut the potatoes into wedges, place them in the pot and cover with water. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. This usually takes 15 minutes to a half hour.
If any foam forms on the top of the water, skim it off and discard it. Strain the potatoes, retaining the potato water.
Put the sugar and raisins into the carboy, pouring the potato water over the top. Juice the oranges and lemons, adding the juice to the carboy. Add enough hot water to bring the total amount in the carboy up to four gallons. Don’t over fill, because the first stage of fermentation, called furious fermentation, will usually cause an overflow of the carboy if it is too full.
Put the cork and fermentation lock on the carboy and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Uncork, add the yeast, and replace the cork, making sure that the lock is properly filled with water. The fermentation lock is designed to allow the carbon dioxide that is produced during fermentation to exit the carboy without allowing air to enter.
Within a few hours, the potato mixture, called ‘must’, should be foamed up and working. Allow the wine must to work for a couple of months, then pour it through cheesecloth into a clean and sanitized container, taking care to leave the sediments behind. This is called ‘racking’ the wine.
Rinse out the carboy and sanitize it again, then put the wine must back into the carboy, attaching the fermentation lock once again. Allow the wine to work for an addition two months or so. It is finished working when there is no apparent gas escaping through the fermentation lock. At this point, the siphon hose can be used to fill the bottles with the wine, leaving any sediment that is in the bottom of the carboy, and the bottles can then be corked. The bottles should be stored in a cool, dark place, on their sides.
Potato wine is actually far easier to make than it may sound. The finished wine has a fruity taste of citrus that many people enjoy. As a tip, this wine is more appropriate as an after-dinner sipping wine than it is as a drinking wine, because it is usually sweet and has a high alcohol content. It is good for use in cooking sauces however.
Vietnam is home to one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. In this country cooking is far more than just serving up something to eat. Vietnamese cookery is based upon balance and each dish should bring pleasure to the five senses. This principle arises from the five main tastes of spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet. Each flavor will pertain to one of the elements, and pay particular attention to the health of certain areas within the body.
A sour taste relates to wood, it is thought to act upon the gallbladder, and the food will be green in color and will mostly delight the sense of sight. That which is sour should provide the body with carbohydrates. A bitter tang relates to fire. It acts upon the small intestine. The color is red and it will bring the most joy to the sense of taste. The bitter aspects will provide the body with the necessary fats. A sweet flavor relates to the earth. It benefits the stomach, and is yellow in color. Its purpose is to give pleasure via the sense of touch, and to deliver protein to the body. Spicy tastes pertain to metal, and are thought to be good for the large intestine. The color is black and brings the most pleasure to the sense of smell. Sweetness affords the body with the essential minerals. The salty taste relates to water. It acts upon the bladder, is white in color, and is good for the sense of hearing. It is believed to rehydrate in that it will ultimately ensure that the body receives water.
Spices play a crucial role in the five taste senses and in the maintenance of balance. For example a duck dish is considered to be of a cool temperature and is therefore served with ginger to give heat to the body. It is for this reason that ginger is frequently served with seafood which are considered to be cool or cold. Ginger has enormous beneficial impact upon the body. It is thought to stimulate the liver and help to rid the bloodstream of toxins. It eases diarrhoea, helps to clear a blocked nose, relieves headache, and aids in the treatment of colic.
Ginger, along with hot chili peppers, is one of the main spices found within Vietnamese cuisine. Garlic is found in almost every dish, and cinnamon is widely used in soups, stews, and desserts. Cinnamon has high phenol content and is therefore conducive to the health of the circulatory system. In the United States it has recently been proven that cinnamon aids in glucose metabolism and therefore helps to normalize blood sugar levels. As with most oriental countries, the Vietnamese have known the health benefits of cinnamon since ancient times and for this reason it has been used in the cuisine for centuries.
Coriander is one of the oldest known spices, and as with lemongrass and mint, which includes spearmint and hot mint, it is found in a variety of Vietnamese dishes. Perilla, also known as Tia To, is a popular complement to seafood dishes, particularly those that contain crab.
As with any country, the dishes vary according to locality. In the northern regions black pepper is used instead of chili. The dishes tend to be more subtle in flavor than those of the other areas although they do tend to use much more salt. In northern Vietnam fish dishes are almost always garnished with dill. A number of Vietnamese signature dishes originate from the north such as Bun Rieu and Banh Canh.
The central region of Vietnam produces the spiciest dishes. Recipes tend to contain an abundance of color. Chili peppers are included in most of the central Vietnamese recipes. Central Vietnam uses a wealth of lemongrass and chili, especially in beef dishes.
Southern Vietnam produces a wide range of tasty dishes which tend to include copious amounts of garlic. Sweet flavors are preferred within this region and for this reason sugar, along with coconut milk, is likely to be included in the meals.
A multitude of Vietnamese recipes can be found online. Most of the ingredients, including the spices are widely available and can be bought in Vietnamese grocery stores and supermarkets. Vietnamese cookery marries art and science and for this reason, accomplished cooks relish the challenge in mastering the cuisine of this awe inspiring country.
Sweet pancakes are one of the easiest desserts to make. Use different fillings to impress family and friends with your cooking skills. Bring the dish alive by serving hot with ice-cream, crème fraiche, thick Greek yoghurt or double cream and for that extra ‘yummy’ factor sprinkle with honey, syrup, mixed nuts, mixed spice, cinnamon or chocolate chips.
Use a basic pancake batter recipe using 110g all purpose flour; pinch of salt; 2 eggs; 200ml fresh milk. Prepare a non-stick frying or griddle pan by greasing with melted butter or vegetable oil. This should make 8 pancakes. This may vary depending on size of pancake.
Classic lemon pancakes with a difference
Add the zest of a lemon to the batter mixture before cooking. Sprinkle the lemon juice and a little sugar over the cooked pancake then fold in half, sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar over the half pancake and fold again. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and sugar a final time and serve with lemon wedges and a sprig of fresh mint to the side.
Banana pancakes with maple syrup
Pour 2 tablespoons of pancake batter into the hot frying pan, add 3 or 4 slices of banana to each and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip over when the mixture begins to bubble between the slices and cook for a further minute. Serve by drizzling warmed maple syrup over them and for an extra treat, add either vanilla or pistachio ice-cream.
Pancake stacks with apple, walnut and maple syrup
Take 3 eating apples and peel and core them; cut into quarters and quarter each quarter to produce 16 slices. Heat 25g butter in a frying pan and cook apples until golden brown yet firm. Stir in 85gms walnuts, chop or halve them and 17ml maple syrup and gently heat for 2 minutes. Cook pancake batter as normal by spooning 3-4 tablespoons of pancake batter into a hot frying pan. When the mixture starts to bubble, flip over for a further minute. To serve place one cooked pancake on a plate, add mixture then top with another pancake, add another layer of apple mixture and top with another pancake. Then repeat process making 3 or 4 pancake ‘stacks’. Serve with double cream or thick Greek yoghurt.
Apple and Calvados filling
As above but replace walnuts and maple syrup with 3 tablespoons calvados. Spoon the mixture onto one half of the pancake then fold over. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.
Honey, nuts, apple and cinnamon filling
Peel, core and then dice apples and cook as above apple filling recipes. When golden brown add 3 tablespoons mixed nuts, 3 tablespoons pouring honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon with the apples. To serve, place one pancake on a plate and cover half of it with the mixture, fold over the other half of the pancake, drizzle a little more honey over the pancake and serve with thick Greek yoghurt.
Fresh Strawberry pancakes
Hull and wash strawberries and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Spread the fruit over half the pancake and then fold over. Serve with extra strawberries and fresh double cream.
Berry pancakes can be made at any time of the year either by using frozen, canned or fresh fruit. Defrost frozen berries, drain canned berries and wash fresh berries and sprinkle with a small amount of castor sugar. Use any sort of red or black berry fruits or for extra taste use a selection and spread on one half of the cooked pancake, fold over the other half, add a few berries to the side and serve with fresh cream, crème fraiche, yoghurt or ice-cream.
Peach and Grand Marnier pancakes
Fresh or drained, canned peaches can be used. Slice the peaches and add 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier liqueur to the peaches. Spoon onto half of the pancake and fold over the other half of the pancake or alternatively layer the pancakes and peaches to make a stack. Serve with double cream, crème fraiche, yoghurt or ice-cream.
Hazelnut praline and ice-cream pancakes
Spread the pancake with the hazelnut praline (Nutella or similar), roll the pancake up and again serve with ice-cream, double cream, crème fraiche or thick Greek yoghurt. This is a firm favorite with children.
Black cherry pancakes with ice-cream
Drain a can of black cherries and gently warm them through. Spread on half of the pancake and fold over. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.
Create your own sweet pancake fillings by encouraging the family to make up their own favorite fillings for your next pancake day.