If you’re a certified sponger (like me) this is one recipe you should get down for those times when you need to sweeten up someone. It’s a good alternative to the tried and tested morning-after breakfast. Perfect for anything from friends you need to pay back to that kooky aunt you owe money. I made these pretty little sponge cakes as a snack for the recent student protest in Parliament square. I think they ended up being passed around the drum circle that had formed next to Churchill’s burning statue. My friends and me munched on these as helicopters circled overhead, and anarchists sacked the treasury building in front of the still bulbs of policemen’s eyes, watching from neat rows. After hours of being shoved off we had finally broken through the police line to find a dim post-apocalyptic scene within, lit by the burning debris of barriers and placards. It was a very strange picnic.
|Me in the pit|
1 tsp of baking powder
dash of vanilla extract
This simple recipe will never steer you wrong, especially as its so easy to remember. Memorize it and where ever you get into a scrap it can be whipped up in a moment.
1. First cream together the sugar and the butter (softened) and then slowly incorporate the eggs.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together in a bowl.
3. Then sieve the dry ingredients into the wet. It's always tempting to leave this step out but I will finally concede that it makes a huge difference, so don't.
4. The final touch is to add the vanilla extract, or almond extract, or orange peel.. the possibilities are endless so I wont try to curb your creativity by telling you exactly how to flavour it. You can make anything from lavender honey cupcakes to poppyseed and lemon, whatever seems to fit the situation best.
Blueberry and Thyme Pancakes with Fresh Mango Coulis
And I wont deprive you of that special charmer the morning-after breakfast. I can't count the amount of times this one has let me off the hook, even filling people's houses with random relics from the night before has all been forgiven after a few mouthfuls of this recipe. I should know, the first time someone cooked blueberry pancakes for me in the morning I ended up falling in love with them. Even though they burnt the pancakes. There's something about the process of cooking with someone, post-euphoric haze, that I find oddly endearing. Often enough to end up in some more compromising positions after the pancakes... Men of the world take note! And you thought you had to spend all that money on red roses and chocolates.
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
240 ml buttermilk (but who has buttermilk? so substitute it by squeezing some lemon into ordinary milk)
3tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of fresh thyme
Fresh Mango and 25g of sugar
1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and thyme.
2. In an other bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter.
|Yum! steamy and delicious.|
3. Then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, all at once, and stir or whisk just until combined, which means, counterintuitively for perfectionist cookers, lumpy. As lumpy as possible - in fact, celebrate the lump!
4. Heat a frying pan on medium high heat until a few sprinkles of water dropped on the pan or griddle evaporate and splutter. lightly grease the pan with melted butter.
5. Using a small ladle, pour the pancake batter onto the hot pan, spacing the pancakes a few inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the pancakes with fresh blueberries. When the the pancakes are golden brown and bubbles start to appear at the edges turn over.
6. Then its the old 'turn n squish'. Flip the pancake and then squish down with a spatula to incorporate the blueberries. Cook for another couple of minutes until the other side is golden brown.
7. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more melted butter to the pan between batches.
8. Then, for the mango coulis, chop the mango up into small chunks and then put half of it in a pan with the 25g of sugar. Heat the pan until the sugar starts to bubble and become a syrup. Then pour the mango and sugar into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the other half of the mango to the smooth puree and smother all over your lovely blueberry pancakes.
|The self-appointed loos in Parliament Square. Well we were kettled for over 6 hours....|