making pancakes

pancakes

From The Mountain Cafe Cookbook by Kirsten Gilmour

Serves 4

This recipe for pancakes is a cafe classic and was originally my nana’s pikelet recipe, which I think she adapted from a copy of her mother’s Edmonds Cookery Book. I loved making these with her. She would stand and supervise while I stood on a chair flipping away. My granddad and I would then sit at the kitchen table stuffing in hot pikelets with lashings of whipped cream and raspberry jam. Poor Nana would never sit with us – she was too busy cleaning up my mess! I guess that’s where I get my clean-freakishness from now.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 145g caster sugar
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 400g plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10g salted butter

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar. Using a whisk, beat the absolute hell out of them (Nana’s words would be, ‘give them billio Kj!’). You want to beat until the mix is pale, light and fluffy – you could use an electric mixer if you have one. Now add the milk, flour and baking powder and whisk vigorously until you have a smooth batter.

Heat a heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan till hot over a medium heat. Carefully drop half the butter into the pan and rub it around using a little kitchen paper, being careful not to burn yourself. Now the pan is greased and at temperature, drop in a small spoon of batter to make a test pancake. The first pancake is usually not great, but as the pan gets to an even heat they will cook to a lovely golden brown.

If the pan is hot enough, pour large spoonfuls of batter into the pan and cook until the underside is golden and you start to see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake. Then it’s time to flip them and cook for another minute or so on the other side. If the pancakes start to stick, re-grease the pan with the remaining butter using the method above.

Serve hot straight from the pan and maybe give them a try with our cardamom oranges.

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The Mountain Cafe Cookbook is available here.

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butternut chorizo sage soup

From The Mountain Cafe Cookbook by Kirsten Gilmour

Dairy free

Serves 4-6

An autumnal butt-kicking, tummy-warming, filling soup for the colder months. If you want to make this veggie-friendly or don’t want to use chorizo then some chopped red peppers make a good alternative. Chorizo quite often has gluten in it – check the ingredients if you are making this for gluten-free people.

  • 550g butternut squash peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 150g chorizo, roughly diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 12 sage leaves
  • 
1600ml chicken/vegetable stock  (or 3 stock cubes in 1600ml hot water)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan).

Put the butternut squash in a roasting tin and drizzle with the runny honey and two tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the paprika and some salt and pepper, stir to mix and roast for 20 minutes until the butternut starts to soften. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, then add the onions, chorizo, garlic, chilli and sage, and sauté until the onions start to soften and the chorizo has released its oil. Add the roasted butternut squash and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer on a gentle heat till the butternut squash is very soft – about 40 minutes. Blitz the soup, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper – if it’s too thick for you, add a bit more water. If you have any chorizo left over, cut it into thin slices and crisp them up in a hot pan. Spoon a few slices on top of each serving of soup as a garnish, then I love to drizzle over a little of the hot chorizo oil from the pan for extra flavour.

Mountain Cafe Cookbook Cover

 

 

 

 

 

The Mountain Cafe Cookbook is available to buy here.

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colour bowls small

It being pancake day and all, let us introduce you to the glory that is Vietnamese Pancakes. Tran from the Bánh Mì NêN stall at Greenwich Market gave us this recipe for The Greenwich Market Cookbook, and it is not only absolutely delicious but also happens to be gluten-free.

It is a great starter or light lunch – a thin, crispy coconut pancake stuffed with chicken, prawns and beansprouts and served with fresh coriander, mint and a salty-sour dipping sauce. It’s a very straightforward batter but you really do need a non-stick frying pan to cook it. The key is to let the pan get really hot, then turn the heat down to low when you start frying the pancake.

Ingredients

for the batter:

  • 150g rice flour
  • 270ml coconut milk
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

for the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1–2 chillies, finely chopped

for the stuffing:

  • 100g chicken fillets, thinly sliced
  • 100g raw prawns, shelled
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1⁄2 iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • small handful of mint
  • small handful of coriander
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

First make the batter. Mix the rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric and salt together in a big bowl and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. If it looks too thick, add another 30ml coconut milk or water so you have the consistency of double cream.

Make the dipping sauce: add the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and chillies to 250ml water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Put the chicken in one bowl and the prawns in another and season both with salt and pepper.

When you’re ready to eat, put a teaspoon of olive oil in small non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once it’s good and hot, add about a quarter of the onion and fry for a minute. Next, add a quarter of the chicken and prawns and fry briefly until the chicken is pale and the prawns have turned pink. Turn the heat down to low. Ladle over enough batter to thinly cover the base of the pan – tip the pan around so it spreads evenly and is as thin as possible. Scatter a handful each of beansprouts, mushrooms and spring onions over one half of the pancake, then cover and leave to cook for 3 minutes. When the batter is cooked through and crispy on the bottom and edges, fold over the side with no filling on it to form a half moon. Cut into four pieces and serve hot on a bed of iceberg lettuce, coriander and mint with the dipping sauce on the side. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make three more pancakes. Each diner can then roll up bits of pancake with the cool crisp shreds of lettuce and herbs inside, and dip it into the sauce before eating.

Serves 4

Buy The Greenwich Market Cookbook here.

Bowl illustration by Kath Van Uytrecht

banh mi nen 2

 

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato PieA week or so ago, I was reminded about this glorious Sweet Potato Pie recipe when the designer who worked on the Savoy Kitchen book posted some pictures on Facebook of his annual crayfish boil. He finished it off with a perfect looking pie, which made me hungry just looking at it. Sarah describes this as a ‘cool-weather pie’ – which I think pretty much covers December in the UK. This is just the sort of thing you should be eating when the wind is howling outside and the rain is splattering on your kitchen windows – a taste memory of warmer times.

Sweet Potato Pie

I can’t imagine how Mom ever got me to try a pie made from a potato, sweet or not. I probably thought it was pumpkin because I’m sure I wouldn’t have tried this as a kid if I knew what it was. I now prefer it to pumpkin. It’s another one of those cool-weather pies, spicy and creamy and absolutely comforting.

sweet_potato_pie-1

  • 450g (1lb) sweet potatoes
  • 110g (½ cup) butter, softened
  • 225g (1 cup) white sugar
  • 125ml (½ cup) milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g pastry

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F).

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks, then boil them until tender. Drain, and leave to cool a moment.

In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato with a fork or potato masher. Using a hand mixer, add the butter and process until it’s fully incorporated. Stir in the sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla extract and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Roll out the pastry and line a 23cm pie dish. Trim and crimp the edges, and make some holes in the base with a fork. Pour in the filling.

Bake the pie for 50–60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. The pie will rise as it bakes, but it will settle again as it cools.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 8

sweet_potato_pie-6

All photographs © Joby Catto

Buy The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food here

soupPlease excuse the recent radio silence, but we’ve been very busy. Some great new projects are bubbling under, our mailbox is full of recipes from Greenwich Market (in English, Mandarin and Italian), and we’ve been working away on our first eBook – a digital edition of Fraser’s Seasonal Soups.

We’ve grappled with digitising our books before but have always shied away from it for two reasons – firstly, from an old-fashioned love of having print cookbooks to get dirty in the kitchen, and secondly (and more importantly) because of the design limitations of epub formats – especially for hand illustrated projects. We needed to get our heads around it though, and the publication of Fraser’s Seasonal Soups last year was a good opportunity to start thinking how we’d like an eBook to look and feel. Thanks to the talents of Stuart Cockburn at I Love Grids, we now have a version that captures the hand-drawn feel of the print book while having the convenience and functionality of an eBook.

Fraser’s Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid is available for kindle on Amazon right here, and will be on sale in our own shop and on other platforms very soon. Please do take a look and let us know what you think, and what you prefer to cook from – print or digital? Print cookbooks, more than any other genre of books, have held their own in the digital revolution, but as more and more people use the internet to find things to cook, the notion of using your kindle or iPad or laptop in the kitchen is becoming the norm. And anything that gets people cooking is ok by us.

To whet your appetite and in recognition of the fact that soup is not just for the winter months, here’s a seasonal March recipe for you from the soup genius himself.

Smoky Sweet Potato & Butter Bean

Serves 4

Hands down this is one of my favourite soup recipes and it always goes down well with customers. The creamy butter beans are the perfect balance for the smoky paprika and sweetness of the potatoes.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin butter beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 stock cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a pot on a medium heat and add the oil or butter. Fry the onion and garlic for 5–10 minutes until they soften slightly.

Add the sweet potato, carrots, drained butter beans and smoked paprika to the pot, mixing everything together.

Pour in 1.2 litres of boiling water, crumble in the stock cubes, and then bring it all to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend the soup and season to taste.

Buy Fraser’s Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid print edition here or as a kindle book here.

cane syrup - black

It’s International Restaurant Day tomorrow – a great idea from Finland encouraging people to set up restaurants for a day, anywhere, for fun. The idea of the day, according to the website, is “to have fun, share new food experiences and enjoy our common living environments together.” Since it started up in 2011, it’s grown from 45 restaurants in 13 cities in Finland to a whopping 2017 restaurants popping up, just for the day, in 30 countries around the world. Amazing! In a moment of crazed enthusiasm on Tuesday, me and my 9-year-old daughter decided to get involved and serve Gumbo from the communal barbecue in the park in front of our house. I’m now looking out of the window at a full-blown Scottish November storm, wondering when I mistook Dundee for Louisiana…

Despite inclement weather conditions, for 2 hours only, Special O’Cajun (geddit? Puns courtesy of Stanley, age 11 – yeah, don’t blame me ok?) will be serving up Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, Baked Beans and Gateaux de Sirop from the shelter of the Magdalen Green cherry trees. They’re all recipes from Sarah Savoy’s beautiful book, The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food which we were very proud to publish last year. Of all of them, it’s the Gateaux de Sirop that I love the most: a dark, moist spiced cake that smells to me of childhood and takes me back to the sticky gingerbreads my mum used to bake, and her mum before her.

Where my mum would have used treacle and golden syrup, the ‘sirop’ in this recipe should really be dark cane syrup.  Sarah says: “This is a very old-fashioned recipe that Cajun ladies used to make to bring to their friends when visiting. My dad used to grow sugar cane and cut and peel pieces of the cane for us to chew on as an afternoon snack. When he was younger, one of his favourite treats was getting to sample the ‘cane beer’ made during the process of making the cane syrup. As the cane boiled, the foam and chuff that rose to the top was removed to a pot beside the fire. In the heat the sugar would ferment and that would be used to make the beer. I’m gonna get around to trying that some day.”

Here’s Sarah’s recipe, just in case you can’t swing by our restaurant tomorrow. Happy International Restaurant Day everybody x

Gateau de Sirop

Serves 10

  • 260g (1½ cups) brown sugar
  • 125ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 350g (1 cup) dark cane syrup or black treacle
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 375g (2½ cups) plain flour
  • 200g (1 cup) raisins or chopped dried figs
  • 100g (2/3 cup) chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 23 x 33cm cake tin

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and flour your cake tin, then line it with greaseproof paper.

Mix the brown sugar, oil, and cane syrup or treacle in a large bowl. Put the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda in a cup with 250ml (1 cup) of very hot, but not boiling, water then pour it into the syrup mixture. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, cocoa powder and lemon zest and stir until combined. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then gradually fold in the flour, then the raisins, and then the nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake it for about 50–60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serves 10

N.B. Sometimes, instead of mixing the pecans into the butter, I like to candy them in butter, sugar and cinnamon, then chop them roughly and sprinkle over the baked cake.

Buy The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food by Sarah Savoy here.

cookie_rowan_jellyThe Rowan tree is one of the most beautiful sights of early autumn and its berries make a fabulous jelly that is great with grouse and for adding flavour to gravies and sauces. You should pick the berries when they are a full­-bodied red colour, but before they turn mushy. Rowan berries were used in the middle ages to scare off evil spirits. You will feel like a witch stirring a cauldron of off­-putting ingredients when making this, but it all adds to the mystical ambience. Cook the fruit the night before the jelly is to be made.

Makes about 2 x 500ml jars of rowan & crab apple jelly

  • 1kg rowan berries
  • 1kg crab apples, roughly quartered but cores left in
  • 1.5kg granulated sugar (approximately)
  • a jelly bag or a muslin

Wash the fruit well. Remove all the stalks from the rowan berries and put them in the pan with the quartered crab apples. Pour in enough water to come half way up the fruit, bring it to the boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer and leave the fruit to cook, stirring from time to time. As it softens, use a large spoon to crush the fruit against the sides of the pan.

When everything is soft and mushy, turn off the heat and tip the lot into your draining material. A jelly bag makes this easy, but what I do is cover the top of a large pan with a muslin, and then tip the mush into it so the pan catches any drips. When all the mush is safely caught, suspend it over the pot and tie it up. We have tried this in many ways: hanging it on the back of a chair or tying it to the knife rack in the kitchen. Basically, you just need to hang it any place where you can leave a large bowl or pot beneath it to catch the juice as it drips through the bag. Leave it overnight.

In the morning, measure the juice in a measuring jug. You can squeeze the bag to get the very last remnants of juice out. This might cause your jelly to be cloudy, but as it’s generally used for cooking that doesn’t really matter. However, if you want your rowan jelly to be completely clear for a gift or just for perfection, don’t touch the bag. Now comes the maths. For every 500ml of juice you need 375g of sugar. When you’ve figured out your quantities, put the juice and sugar in your jam pan, heat it slowly until the sugar dissolves, and then bring it to a low rolling boil for 10 minutes. Test a teaspoonful on a cold saucer: if the surface of the jelly wrinkles when you push your finger on one end, it’s done. If it doesn’t wrinkle, boil it for a further 5 minutes and repeat the test. Leave the jam to cool for a couple of minutes, decant it into sterilised jars, and seal.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum and Domenico del Priore here.

_NTI6114Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a light lunch

This is a wonderful summer salad from Brixton Village’s Cornercopia, bursting with the flavours of an English market garden. It makes a great light lunch or starter and goes well with a glass of elderflower cordial or sparkling wine. It’s very flexible: the broad beans could be replaced with runner beans, fresh edamame beans or courgettes. Try a soft boiled egg or strained yogurt in place of the curd cheese. If you have them available, decorate the salad with pea shoots, mustard cress or nasturtiums.

  • 200g baby broad beans, podded weight
  • 200g peas, podded weight
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • large handful of fresh herb leaves — either mint, coriander, parsley, basil
  • 200g curd cheese, ideally goat or ewe’s milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

You need to double pod the broad beans, first removing the velvety outer pods and then blanching the beans to remove the tough inner skins. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 60 seconds and then plunge them into iced water to refresh them. You can then slip the skins off to reveal the jewel green beans inside. Pod the peas and blanch and refresh as above.

In a large bowl, mix the podded broad beans and peas, the sliced spring onion, and half the herbs you are using with the grapeseed oil, lemon juice and zest. Gently toss it together and season well.

Transfer the dressed salad to a serving dish. Drop spoonfuls of curd cheese on top and scatter with the remaining herbs. Serve.

Buy Recipes from Brixton Village here.

Photograph by Joby Catto.

Jalisco - Tamarind Margarita  DSC_7643AServes 1

At Jalisco, Wilson Porras is on a mission to bring good margaritas to Brixton. Too often tequila in this country is seen as something to be forced down disguised with salt and lemon, but mixed well it is to be savoured and enjoyed. Combined here with the tang of tamarind, these margaritas are very moreish and easy to make. They will change your mind on tequila!

Use tamarind pulp for the best flavour here. Wilson also uses silver tequila – tequila that has been distilled twice – making it smoother and cleaner to drink in this tamarind margarita.

For the tamarind syrup:

  • 40g tamarind pulp
  • 100g sugar
  • 500ml water

Break up the tamarind pulp and put in a pan with the sugar and the water. Heat gently for 30 minutes then strain it all though a sieve, pushing the pulp with a spoon. Retain the dark syrup and throw the debris in the sieve away. Chill the syrup until needed. It will keep for several weeks.

For the margarita:

  • 50ml tamarind syrup
  • 35ml tequila
  • 20ml Triple Sec

Before you shake the margarita, pour a small amount of the tamarind syrup on a saucer. Pour some granulated sugar onto another saucer. Dip the rim of your glass into the saucer of syrup and then into the sugar.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour the tequila, Triple Sec and tamarind syrup over it. Shake well to mix and chill, and strain.

Serve in the sugar-rimmed glass over plenty of ice.

Buy Recipes from Brixton Village by Miss South & The Traders of Brixton Village here.

Photo by Colin Hampden-White.

coffee pot - blackThese babies don’t take much time or effort. Make the dough at least a few hours ahead (maybe more depending on how warm you keep your kitchen). This recipe makes about 30 beignets, but that’s cool, because you can keep the dough in the fridge for at least 4–5 days, and you can also freeze it. If you want to freeze it, go ahead and roll the dough out once it’s risen, cut it up, and freeze the dough shapes on wax or parchment paper until they’re hard. Then you can put them in a freezer bag, take out as many as you want on any given morning, let them thaw an hour, and fry them up!

These are perfect with a big cup of hot coffee with milk or a black coffee flavoured with chicory in the style of Café du Monde.

  •  ½ tsp dried yeast
  • 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 30g (2 tbsp) vegetable shortening (such as Trex)
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 450–600g (3–4 cups) plain flour
  • icing sugar to serve
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Pour the yeast into a bowl or large mug. Add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of warm water and a tablespoon of the sugar, then stir the mixture with a fork until it’s just combined. In another cup, melt the vegetable shortening in 125ml (½ cup) of hot water.

Meanwhile, gently beat the egg, cream, the rest of the sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast mixture has started to froth, stir it in too, then add the melted shortening/hot water and mix well.

Add about 300g (2 cups) of flour and stir until it starts to come together pretty well. Then add another 150g of flour and knead the dough by hand until it is soft, elastic and not sticky. Only add the remaining flour if you need it to get a smooth dough.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl coated in a bit of vegetable oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it sit until the dough has at least doubled in size. (If you plan on making the beignets more than 4 hours later, let it rise in the refrigerator.)

Now for the fun part! Punch that dough ball down a few times, then roll it out on a floured surface until it’s roughly 5mm thick. Cut the dough however you’d like. You can use cookie cutters if you want, but I prefer just cutting it with a very sharp knife into random squares and triangles (with sides of about 5 cm) and whatever other shapes happen. Set the pieces aside on wax paper or on the floured workspace so they don’t stick together.

When you’re ready to fry the beignets, heat a 1 cm depth of vegetable oil in a frying pan to hot but not smoking. Drop a piece of dough in to the oil to check the temperature – it should puff up right away and start turning golden after about 30 seconds. Fry the beignets in batches, taking care not to put too many in the pan. When they’re golden on one side, turn them and let them brown a little on the other. You can keep turning them until they are golden brown all over. If they get dark too fast, you’ll need to turn down the heat and remove the pan from the heat for a minute or two.

Set the fried beignets on a few layers of paper towels on a plate and sprinkle them with icing sugar. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before enjoying them with your café au lait (or chocolate milk).

Makes about 30

Buy The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food by Sarah Savoy here.