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October 2014 Archives

cooking spiced pumpkin pancakes

October 13, 2014

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Halloween is so very deeply American, that I feel any recipe surrounding it I feel has to be. American pancakes are my guilty pleasure. These ones, made with pureed squash or pumpkin are hellish moist and fluffy. Make sure you have these with strong filter coffee and pile ‘em high.

The fundamental rule for perfect pancakes is that your pan MUST be non-stick. Use a small one too for a good shape. Batter can always be tweaked and adjusted, but a bad pan = bad pan(cakes).

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Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes with Bacon, Maple Syrup and Pecans (make about 6 big fat ones)

250g cooked butternut squash or pumpkin. The flesh scooped out and mashed with a fork or pulsed

150g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon / a grating of nutmeg / 1 tsp of ground ginger (or use mixed spice)

1 egg

280ml whole milk

1 tbsp melted butter

To serve:

grilled streaky bacon

toasted pecans

maple syrup

Make them:

  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spice

  • Separately whisk together the pureed squash, egg, milk and melted butter

  • Beat the wet goods into the dry to form a smooth batter

  • The batter wants to be fairly thick but still a droppable consistency

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  • Heat your pan until good and hot. Spoon a ladle full into the pan and turn the heat down. The trick with these pancakes is to cook them low so they cook inside properly

  • Wait until bubbles start to appear (about 3/4 minutes)…

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… then flip and cook on the other side

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Grill your bacon and toast your pecans, then stack high and douse with maple syrup

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cooking salted cucumbers

October 04, 2014

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Lord knows I love a pickle. I used to secretly swig white wine vinegar from the bottle when I was younger, like some kind of vine-holic.

So it’s with a great level of restraint, that I’m presenting gherkins, that aren’t vinegar. These aren’t pickled, they’re salted.

Why salt a cucumber?

Salting your cuc means that you extract some of the water that can ruin a sandwich, salad or relish or with over-wateriness.

A salted cucumber will have crunch, and can be kept in a jar for about a week, ready for tzatziki and cured salmon on soda bread or indeed just a simple cucumber salad. These are perfumed with garlic and dill, which makes them feel aromatic and Scandi. I’m becoming obsessed with dill. It’s just the best herb — it just is.

Try and find about 6 of those nice small cucumbers you can get at markets, or just chop a couple of big ones up.

Get a plastic bag, and cut your small cucumbers in half, lengthways. Sling the cucumber halves in the bag with a large handful of salt, a large bunch of roughly chopped dill and a handful of crushed garlic. Leave them in there for about 6 hours. The cucumber will have leaked out their water, but still remain crunchy, and they’ll have taken on the garlic and dill flavours lovely.

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