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A pancake by any other name

recipes1

Latkes, okonomiyaki, and lefse. Indian cakes, hoe cakes, johnnycakes, journey cakes, buckwheat cakes, griddle cakes, flapjacks are all delicious says ANDRY VOSKARIDOU

Pancakes have a lot of names and are enjoyed around the world. One thing’s for sure though: they have been a staple food item since early human history!

Based on scientific data and historic research, scientists assume that humans used special tools during the Stone Age to make flour from wild plants which was mixed with water and baked or fried on hot stones – a form of primal pancake.

Otzi the Iceman, whose body was discovered in the Italian part of the Alps, had as a last meal red meat and ground einkorn wheat; research shows that the grains he had eaten were in the form of a pancake!

Although we can’t really know how pancakes tasted back then, one can see that pancakes have indeed maintained a sort of omnipresence as a staple food in most of the world’s culinary traditions since ancient times.

Interestingly, the first written mention of pancakes dates back to 600BC and comes from Ancient Greece when a poet got inspired by a batch of warm pancakes and mentioned them in one of his pieces!

Each culture, throughout their history, added their own ingredients to pancakes, which of course, were consistent with the local traditions as well trends of the era.

In ancient times they were sweetened with honey; in the middle ages they were flavoured with rosewater, sherry, apples and newly discovered fragrant spices. In today’s modern cuisine one can find thousands of different variations – savoury or sweet.

It is also worth mentioning that pancakes were an ordinary food to eat before the beginning of lent in many religions – mainly because they were a great and delicious way to use up precious ingredients that couldn’t be stored for long periods of time and were forbidden – such as eggs, milk and butter.

One of their most famous fans back in the 18th century was Thomas Jefferson, the founding father of the United Stated of America, probably because his French maître d’hotel Etienne Lemaire added cream and whipped egg whites to his mixture – making them even fluffier, puffier and tastier!

And because I adore simple, no-fail recipes that you can make at home after a long, hard day at work, I love making a batch of pancakes as an afternoon snack. Because that’s what I do most afternoons – savour that special time I dedicate for baking as one of my day’s little pleasures.

The best part of my go-to pancakes recipe? All the ingredients to make these easy, delicious and healthy pancakes can be found in most kitchens at any time.

Pancakes are a classic addition to any meal – or even as a customisable meal of their own. They can be enjoyed as a breakfast, brunch, snack or dinner.

I once even declared an entire day as ‘Pancake as every meal day’ and tried a lunch version of a tower of these pancakes with salted milk butter, maple syrup, oregano and minced meat – it was an unexpectedly awesome sweet and salty combo!

Pancakes’ sweetness can be adjusted to your personal taste and they are lightly scented with vanilla (I just love vanilla – I add it in almost all of my desserts and my secret is to use pure vanilla extract).

 

 

Easy Pancakes (no-egg version)

 1.5 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1⁄2 tsp salt

2 mashed bananas

1 cup fresh milk (substitute for any plant-based alternative for vegan version)

2 tablespoons honey (or alternatively maple/agave syrup) – omit if you don’t want them too sweet – depending on bananas

2 tablespoons oil

1 dash of vanilla (or more as per preference)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (or more as per preference)

 

Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl (bananas, milk, honey. vanilla & oil).

In another, clean and dry bowl, sieve solid ingredients together (except chocolate chips). Pour the dry mix into the liquid mix and then add the chocolate chips. Fold gently.

Heat the surface you are using for cooking and add two spoons of pancake mix in a pan or on a pancake plate. Flip when there are bubbles on upper side and completely remove from heat when they are no longer sticking to the cooking surface.

Serve with fresh or dried fruits, honey, ice cream or anything you like as toppings – you can experiment with sweet or savoury or both!

Extra tips:

Don’t skip whisking the dry ingredients

Resist overmixing the batter

Avoid squishing them with the spatula when cooking (tempting, I know!)

Wipe out cooking surface between cooking batches

 

recipes2Basic French Crepes

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

½ cup milk

½ cup water

Pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)

tablespoons butter, melted (or any oil)

Pinch of sugar

1 tsp of Vanilla essence

 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs, ensuring there are no lumps. Add the pinch of salt and sugar.

Add in the liquids and stir to combine (milk, water, butter or oil). Beat until smooth.

Heat a frying pan (non-stick or lightly oiled pan) over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using about quarter of a cup per crepe.

Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the pan’s surface evenly.

Cook each crepe for approximately 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Turn and cook the other side.

Serve hot with any savoury or sweet toppings you’d like

 

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