I don’t trust other people in the kitchen. I’d like to but I find it really hard. It might be that I was scarred as child by my father’s corned beef hash or maybe it’s that I’m a control freak but there are about 3 people I would let loose in my kitchen without serious supervision. One of them is my best friend, Ant, he’s a chef, one of them is my mother, she’s pretty good I guess and then the other would be my friend, Sam. I have trusted Sam to cook my birthday suppers in the past, which is a huge honour. That’s the supper of the year, obviously. I’ve recently entrusted caramel-making to her, I’ll admit it was largely because I was terrified of scalding my whole body with red hot caramel, but she steps up to the challenge like a trooper. One overwrought New Year’s Day supper, I left her wholly in charge of cheese souffles when my will to live evaporated with the seventh gin and tonic I consumed. She’s a good sort.
The other Sunday, I wanted to make American pancakes. It wasn’t the best day for making things that require concentration or attention. I had a hangover, I’d slept on the sofa, the cat had woken me up at the crack of dawn staring at me and I had a burnt tongue from the previous night’s caramel-tasting but when I wake up with a plan, I want to achieve that thing. I also had buttermilk in the fridge because I’d had an Ocado delivery and that’s the kind of useful product they stock. Tesco claim to but they’ve never yet had it when I’ve ordered it. I searched the internet for a buttermilk pancake recipe and I went for Delia. This is a sign of my addled mind, don’t trust Delia unless you want the old school, since time began recipe. American pancakes are not an old school, since time began recipe. I should have gone for someone snazzy like Nigella or Jamie or a whippersnapper or even an American. I didn’t. This was the start of my issues. The next was the texture and then the pan, the look etc. Eventually I broke down in front of the hob and handed over all responsibility to Sam who managed to cook them, make them edible and dance around the kitchen in her pjs all at the same time. I lay with my head on the table.
Anyway, they were quite delicious. If you did want something more authentic, by all means turn to Nigella et al but Delia wasn’t a complete disaster. As today is Shrove Tuesday, you may want to make some pancakes. I think I shall be making the flat, old-fashioned crepe type as that’s the taste of Pancake Day to me but this would be a good option too. Serve heaped in icing sugar, maple syrup and fresh blueberries.
Sam’s, Once Delia’s, Blueberry Pancakes
makes about 10, I think.
- 240ml buttermilk
- 300g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 6 eggs
- icing sugar
- maple syrup
- First sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together in a roomy bowl and make a well in the centre. After that, whisk the buttermilk and 150 ml cold water together in a jug and gradually whisk this into the bowl, slowly incorporating the flour with each new addition of liquid. Finally, add the eggs a little at a time until you have a smooth batter. I threw in a handful of blueberries at this point.
- Now place a large, solid frying pan over a medium heat, add an oil with a high burn content (like groundnut or sunflower, I used Crisp’n’Dry and Delia suggests lard).
- Then, using a tablespoon of batter per pancake, place 2 or 3 spoonfuls into the pan. They will take about 1 minute to turn golden brown, then turn them over using a spatula and fork, being careful not to splash yourself with the hot fat. Give them another 45 seconds on the other side, by which time they should have puffed up like little soufflés, then briefly rest them on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat.
- Repeat this with the rest of the batter.
- Dredge, sprinkle and drench with icing sugar, blueberries and maple syrup.