Archive for the 'Fritters and pancakes' Category

Feta hotcakes with honey and crispy bacon

March 1, 2010

I really like breakfast. So much so that I don’t like to miss an opportunity to eat it, even when it’s not breakfast time. Yesterday I effectively ate three breakfasts: porridge for actual breakfast-breakfast, these thick spongy pancakes for a breakfast-lunch, and banana bread for a breakfast-snack.

Both the hotcakes and the banana bread were taken from the brunch section of ‘Fabulous Food’, but here’s the thing: while I really like breakfast, I do not especially like brunch. I discovered this last year, which a group of friends and I over-enthusiastically branded the ‘year of brunch’. We imagined lazy weekend mornings with stacks of American-diner style pancakes with maple syrup, decadent hours devoted to nothing but reading the paper and eating french toast, hell, there was even talk of investing in a shared waffle iron. Ultimately we only had a few brunches before it all fell apart through our own laziness, but I was secretly not that upset. The problem is, if I have brunch, I can’t have breakfast. That’s one whole meal carelessly obliterated, and I don’t take well to missing meals. I am a carefully calibrated breakfast-eating machine, and it proved extremely difficult for me to wake up late enough for brunch rather than springing hungrily out of bed at my usual hour, putting the kettle on and making a huge bowl of porridge.

The demise of brunch was for the best, I think: this way I get to eat breakfast for breakfast and lunch, and I like that a lot.

Feta hotcakes with honey and crispy bacon  Makes 9 hotcakes

125g buckwheat flour
25g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g feta (the recipe says reduced-fat, but I couldn’t bring myself to)
4 rashers bacon (or more, if you want)
200ml milk
1 egg
sunflower oil, for frying
2 tbsp honey

Mix the flours and bicarbonate of soda in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the centre. Beat the egg in the milk and pour the whole lot into the well, drawing the flour from the edges in and beating until you have a thick batter. Crumble in the feta. The consistency should be about that of thick yoghurt, so add more flour if necessary. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Put the bacon under a medium-high grill to crisp.

Heat a little sunflower oil in a non-stick pan and ladle in rounds of batter. You should get 2-3 cakes from a ladleful. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, until bubbles start to form on the surface, then flip and cook for a further minute on the other side. Keep warm while you finish cooking all of the batter.

Serve 3 or more hotcakes per person with a couple of rashers of bacon and honey drizzled over the top.

Adapted from Sophie Michell’s ‘Fabulous Food: Sexy Recipes for Healthy Living’.

Tofu feast

January 13, 2010

A week of eating like Nigella at her purest and I found myself at a local gastropub-type joint eating steak smothered in butter, with chips and greens smothered in butter, with dessert. If you’re anywhere in the Oxford area, you should check out the Magdalen Arms, under new management: they’ll serve you a rare roast hare saddle on a giant floral platter, excellent salty bread, and drinks in cute little French farmhousey glasses. And, what I particularly liked, it was as if they’d somehow been inside my head when they compiled their drinks list: Americanos, negronis, whisky macs, dark n’ stormies, bloody marys, a sherry list – all of my very favourites!

After all that, it was time to eat some tofu. Our next book is ‘Spooning with Rosie’, the first book by a young lady by the name of Rosie who owns a cafe/deli in Brixton, and it was to her I turned for this, one of her ‘feasting fiestas’: a stir fry of tofu and vegetables with lime and honey, little cubes of rice with an intense, tangy dipping sauce, and carrot and sweetcorn fritters. I had to adapt it slightly to more conveniently use up our leftovers, but it worked well: I wouldn’t before have eaten vegetable fritters with an Asian meal, but I now realise the shortcomings in my imagination – it’s like an extra vegetable portion, but more fun! The rice cubes are cute, too, although mine weren’t quite as cube-y as they should have been. It’s really not as much work as it looks, either: apart from a bit of grating and chopping for the fritters, there’s almost no preparation required.

Tofu feast  Serves 4-5

There was a mango, cucumber and mint salad in the original fiesta, as well, but I had none of those things, lovely though it sounded.

For the rice cubes & dipping sauce:
1 1/2 cups of Thai rice (I used cup for 4 servings, and short-grain brown rice)
1 red chilli (use a hot variety if you like things spicy)
8 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar (plain granulated is fine)
1 sprig of mint (optional – I left it out as I didn’t have any)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce

This bit requires advance planning for the rice to cool properly (hence my irregular cubes). Overcook the rice by simmering it for 5 minutes longer than the instructions on the packet ask – 55 minutes for my rice, in one and a half times the amount of water to rice. It should be sticky and mushy. Break it up further with a fork or potato masher, then press it shallowly into a small tin lined with cling film. Cool it to room temperature before putting it in the fridge for 8 hours if you have time. I put mine in the freezer for a little bit. It should be served at room temperature, so take it out again a while before you want to eat. Slice it into cubes the size of your choice with a wet knife. Unmould the cubes onto a plate.

For the dipping sauce, finely slice the chilli (seeds removed or not, as you like) and place it in a pan with the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about 15 minutes on a low heat – it should reduce quite a bit, so you have enough to half fill a ramekin. It is potent, so you don’t need a huge amount. Serve the sauce alongside the rice cubes for dipping.

For the tofu stir-fry:
400g fried tofu (you may be able to get ready-fried tofu from your local Chinese supermarket. I used regular tofu).
2 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
2 tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
200g mangetout (I used shelled edamame beans)
120g enoki mushrooms (I used common or garden veg box mushrooms)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 dsp honey
juice of 1 lime (2 tbsp)

Slice the tofu into smallish pieces. Heat the oil until very hot and add the tofu, turning down the heat. Fry for a few minutes and then sprinkle in the ginger, beans and mushrooms. Stir and add the honey, soy sauce and lime juice. Cook for just a few minutes more and then serve.

For the sweetcorn and carrot fritters:
2 eggs
3 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 spring onion
1 clove garlic
a small handful fresh coriander
1 x 285g tin of sweetcorn, or about the same weight frozen and defrosted
1 carrot
1-3 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil

Crack the eggs into a decent sized bowl and whisk thoroughly. Whisk in the cornflour and baking powder. Finely chop the spring onion, garlic and coriander. Peel and grate the carrot. Add all of this to the bowl along with the sweetcorn and mix well (I added a sprinkle of salt, too).

Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, about a heaped tablespoon at a time. I got 8 fritters in 2 batches, although the recipe notes say 10. They should only take a minute or so per side and should become golden and crisp, flipping easily. If oily, drain on kitchen paper. They are best served while still warm but I found a quick blast in the microwave to reheat the leftovers the next day didn’t do much harm.

Adapted from Rosie Lovell’s ‘Spooning With Rosie: Food, Friendship and Kitchen Loving’.

Sweetcorn fritters with spinach, bacon and roasted tomatoes

September 24, 2009

All that talk of autumn and something pretty summery, albeit the tail end of summer. Well, corn cobs were reduced in Waitrose (the sweetcorn on the allotment is looking pretty hopeless). This is actually taken from a Bill Granger breakfast dish but works well scaled up for supper – you create a substantial batter with chunky sweetcorn cut from the cob, a mass of chopped herbs (coriander and parsley, though you could stick with one), spring onions and half a red pepper, fry dollops the size of saucers until browned and crisp on the outside, and serve with grilled bacon rashers, some tomatoes roasted in a medium hot oven, and baby spinach leaves. Tom (lovely live-in cooking partner) had his with maple syrup. I had a hunch sweet chilli sauce might be good too, but resisted for the control test.

We used the corn from 2 cobs for a 2-egg batter and had plenty of fritters with leftovers to stuff into toasted pitta for lunch tomorrow.

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I gather you have to have photos on these blog thingys, so bear with me – my camera skills are not so hot. Tomatoes!

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