Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Beauty of the Pancake.

This evening I made pancakes and they were great. That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter, but I felt so passionately about my pancakes, that I decided to add a photo and a little writing to my blog- an 'Ode to the Pancake' if you like.

Pancakes are the cheapest of sweet treats to make, and so easy, with the ingredients usually to be found in any cook's store cupboard (flour, eggs, milk, butter, oil). I'm not going to tell you how to make a pancake, because the chances are if you're reading this you're a keen foodie/cook and have made hundreds of pancakes before, and if you're not, then just google a recipe (a pancakes a pancake to be honest). But what I will say is that the next time you find yourself wondering what dessert to make for a dinner party, go down the hot pancake route. They're not particularly glamorous and are pretty humble, but they are so more-ish and comforting, that they will always go down a storm with everyone. They are also the perfect pudding to follow a Sunday roast, as you can make it as light or heavy as you want through different toppings, and they are still fairly traditional.

I like my pancakes really thin and crispy, fried in butter and piping hot, served with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup (got to be maple...none of this golden syrup, it's too claggy). That combination of hot buttery pancake and cold ice cream is just what life is all about. Serious comfort food!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Super Easy Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado Salsa

Sweetcorn fritters have been a passion of mine ever since I was little. My Granny (an amazing cook) used to make them and serve them with roast chicken and all the trimmings- not something many people would do now, but to me as a greedy little 7-year-old it was a fantastic combo, and I would demand they be a part of every Sunday roast (it was clear from an early age I was a true foodie..).

Whilst acting as assistant food stylist on a UKTV food shoot recently, we made Bill Granger's Sweetcorn fritters with avocado salsa. My goodness they were delicious, and they totally re-ignited my sweetcorn fritter passion. Everyone was falling over themselves to grab one once we had got the shot we needed- they really were the recipe of the day. Ever since I've been absolutely craving them. They are so more-ish, stodgy (in a good way), and totally satisfying, and the avocado salsa works a treat to cut through the heaviness of the fritter.You can find Bill Granger's recipe, along with the photograph from the shoot I was assisting on, here: 

My recipe below is a slight variant on Bill's, as he uses a food processor and I didn't see the need for this- lazy me didn't want to have to wash it up really! Instead I added a small tin of creamed corn, which you can buy from pretty much any big super market. You can make a whole batch of these as and when you're eating them, or you can make them in advance, store in the fridge and then just re-heat them in the oven till they're hot through (about 5-10 minutes). 

These make the perfect brunch, especially if you layer them up with some crispy bacon in between each layer, perhaps some halloumi too if you're going all out. I can't promise it's healthy but I can tell you it's delicious!

For the sweetcorn fritter

1 small tin of sweetcorn
1 small tin of creamed sweetcorn
1 small red onion, chopped
Small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
125 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Vegetable oil, for frying

For the avocado salsa

2 ripe medium avocado, stones removed, flesh diced
15 g coriander leaves
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
tomato, quartered, seeded and finely sliced (optional)
Dash tabasco, optional

Preheat the oven to 120C/gas 1. 

1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the fritter until really well combined. Add some salt and pepper. If the mixture seems too thin, add a drop of milk, and if it seems too thick, add a touch more flour.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, drop 2 heaped tablespoons of mixture per sweetcorn cake into the pan and cook in batches of 3 for 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven while you are making the rest of the cakes. 

3. To make the avocado salsa put all the ingredients in a bowl, with a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir very gently to combine. Serve with the warm sweetcorn cakes.