Shrove Tuesday: sweet and savoury pancakes

Forget Valentine's Day; this year it has been upstaged by our nations love of pancakes. I take pancake day as a great excuse to eat pancakes for every meal of the day. It is a great example of a day of crowd-pleasing, entertaining food that is simple to create – everyone loves a pancake! For the last few years, I’ve developed a recipe that works every time to create thin, crepe style pancakes: the 1-2-3 method. Easy to remember and even simpler to create. Here are my favourite sweet and savoury twists on my basic recipe; spinach and herb pancakes with salmon and browned butter pancakes with butterscotch and toasted pecan nuts.

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Basic Batter

Ingredients:

100g plain flour
2 Waitrose British Blacktail Medium Free Range Eggs
300ml milk
Butter, for frying
 

Method

1. To make the basic batter, whisk together the flour and eggs in a large bowl until smooth, then gradually add the milk to make a runny batter. Alternatively, place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Cover and set aside for up to 1 hour, or until ready to use.

2. Heat a 20cm frying pan over a medium heat, then test the pan by ladling in a small amount of batter. It should take around 1 minute to brown on the bottom. If it browns too quickly, lower the temperature slightly, and do the opposite if it cooks too slowly and becomes rubbery.

3. When the pan is at the right temperature, add in a small knob of butter and then pour in a ladleful of batter. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom, then allow the pancake to cook for 1 minute on each side, or until cooked through. Keep covered and warm in a low oven while you fry the rest.

Martha's spinach & herb pancakes with smoked salmon

Ingredients

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1 x basic batter
50g butter
50g spinach
Small handful of fresh green herbs
(I use coriander, basil and sage)
Pinch sea salt flakes

TO SERVE
2 x 100g packs Waitrose Mild Scottish Smoked Salmon, torn into pieces
125g soft cheese
¼ x 25g pack chives, chopped

Method

1. Melt the 50g butter in a 20cm frying or crepe pan that you will fry the pancakes in. Remove from the heat.

2. Place the pancake batter and all the remaining pancake ingredients into a food processor then add the melted butter. Blitz until the mixture is smooth. Don’t worry if there are small pieces of spinach or herbs in the batter – this adds texture to the pancakes.

3. Heat a 20cm frying pan over a medium heat, then test the pan by ladling in a small amount of batter. It should take around 1 minute to brown on the bottom. If it browns too quickly, lower the temperature slightly, and do the opposite if it cooks too slowly and becomes rubbery.

3 When the pan is at the right temperature, add in a small knob of butter and then pour in a ladleful of batter. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom, then allow the pancake to cook for 1 minute on each side, or until cooked through. Keep covered and warm in a low oven while you fry the rest. The green becomes more vibrant on cooking.

4. Serve the pancakes warm with smoked salmon, soft cheese and chives. These are best eaten immediately.

 

Martha's brown butter pancakes with butterscotch sauce & pecans

Ingredients

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75g butter
75ml double cream
75g soft light
brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt, or to taste
1 x basic batter
50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
 

Method

1. Place 50g of the butter into a small saucepan over a low heat until completely melted. Cook the butter, stirring occasionally, until the white solids separate out and begin to brown at the bottom of the pan. The butter will foam and start to smell toasty. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and add the browned butter to the pancake batter.

2. To make the butterscotch sauce, place the cream, remaining 25g butter, sugar and vanilla extract into the saucepan you used to brown the butter and heat gently for 3-4 minutes or until the ingredients are well combined. Turn up the heat and allow the mixture to bubble for a further 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Season with sea salt to taste, then pour into a jug and set to one side.

3. Heat a 20cm frying pan over a medium heat, then test the pan by ladling in a small amount of batter. It should take around 1 minute to brown on the bottom. If it browns too quickly, lower the temperature slightly, and do the opposite if it cooks too slowly and becomes rubbery.

3. When the pan is at the right temperature, add in a small knob of butter and then pour in a ladleful of batter. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom, then allow the pancake to cook for 1 minute on each side, or until cooked through. Keep covered and warm in a low oven while you fry the rest.

4. Wipe out the frying pan and add the chopped pecan nuts. Toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes, keeping them moving around the pan so they don’t catch.

5. Serve the pancakes with the butterscotch sauce and the toasted pecan nuts. These are best eaten immediately.

Source: http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/e...

Breakfast bites: honey and sesame granola and tropical energy bars

Happy January to you, Baking Martha readers! Starting the new year made me think about how i can improve the start of each day, so i've come up with a few easy, homemade breakfast options. It's cheaper to make your own than to buy at the shops, and you control exactly what goes in.

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I only really discovered granola last year, and instantly loved it as every mouthful is a little bit different from the last. The best thing about making your own is that you take control over what goes in. Like it sweeter? Add more honey. Prefer nuts to fruit? Swap out some dried fruit for nuts. This is the recipe I like best; just the right about of nuttiness matched with toasty sesame with just enough honey, dates and apricots for sweetness.  Eat by the bowlful with yogurt and fresh fruit or simply with cold milk.

For those mornings where time just runs away, try my mango and passionfruit bars – perfect for a breakfast on the go! They are zingy with a fresh yoghurt topping, and will leave you feeling full with all the energy you need. They don't even need to be baked!

 

Martha Collison's honey & sesame granola

Ingredients

125g clear honey
2 tbsp toasted sesame or sunflower oil
½-1 tsp flaked sea salt, to taste
350g jumbo oats
50g mixed seeds
4 tbsp sesame seeds
100g macadamia nuts, halved
50g flaked almonds, 
1 Waitrose British Blacktail Medium Egg white
75g dried apricots, chopped
75g chopped dried pitted dates
 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2, and line a large baking tray with parchment. Warm the honey, oil and salt in a small pan. Combine the oats, seeds and nuts in a mixing bowl. Pour over the honey mix and stir until coated.

2. In a small bowl, lightly whip the egg white until frothy, then stir through the granola mix. Tip onto the baking tray and spread evenly.

3. Bake for 25 minutes, then turn the tray and give it a quick stir before baking for 10-15 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the granola to cool completely so it’s crisp, then stir in the dried fruit.The granola will keep for up to 1 month stored in an airtight jar.  

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Martha Collison's mango & passion fruit energy bars

Ingredients

100g flaked almonds
100g desiccated coconut
60g essential Waitrose Rice Pops
150g oats
50g dried mango, chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
300g clear honey
1 large passion fruit
75g white chocolate
2 tsp natural yogurt
 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C, gas mark 3. Grease and line a 34cm x 22cm brownie tin with baking parchment. Arrange the flaked almonds and coconut on the lined tray and toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant – stirring halfway through to get an even colouring. Once toasted, tip into a large mixing bowl. Add the rice pops, oats and chopped mango to the toasted ingredients and stir to combine.

2. Meanwhile, place the sugar, honey and passion fruit pulp into a medium sized saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to simmer for 7-10 minutes. It will look slightly thicker in consistency.

3. Pour the hot mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well coated. Tip the mixture into the lined tin and use a spatula to press it down firmly into an even layer. Place into the fridge to set for at least 1 hour.

4. When the bars have set, make the drizzle. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water, then stir in the yogurt. Spoon into a piping bag and drizzle over the top of the set bars. Leave to cool completely, then slice into 24 pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
 

Source: http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recip...

St Patrick's Day - Irish Potato Farls

Happy St. Patricks Day! I hope you're all celebrating with hearty Irish food, Shamrocks and pints of Guinness.

I visited Northern Ireland a couple of months ago in the bitterly cold November months and had a fabulous time learning about the culture and doing a few cake themed events with the charity Tearfund who I work closely with. We did events in different churches across NI in both Holywood and Portglenone, where I had the pleasure of meeting Ireland's-own bake off star Andrew Smyth's family. We raised a phenomenal amount of money (enough to provide 30,000 meals for hungry people!) and it was a privilege to be able to spread the message of Tearfund's amazing work and what needs to be done to make life better for those experiencing drought and famine. We have a few more Cakes, Bakes and Faith tour dates booked for this summer across the UK - follow me on Twitter for more information. Our next event is Kingston on the 22nd March, tickets are available here.

I ended my trip with a tourist day up to the northern coast and visited Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge - both absolutely breathtaking places. I'd thoroughly recommend spending time there and hope to go back (maybe in the summer when it is a little warmer!).

Martha NI

The food in NI is divine and the people I met were so passionate about letting me experience the very best. I tried cinnamon scones (fresh and warm, dripping with butter!), Hot Toddy, Potato Farls and Wheaten bread - all so interesting and different.

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My favourite was potato farls. Incredible, soft potato dough triangles fried in butter; what's not to like? I've created my own recipe for Waitrose, served up with a green herb butter. They are super easy to make and go perfectly with a full-english or a bowl of soup.

Recipe below or in the Waitrose Weekend paper this week (18th-25th March).

Ingredients

FOR THE HERB BUTTER
100g butter, at room temperature
½ x 25g pack parsley, finely chopped
½ x 25g pack chives, finely chopped

FOR THE POTATO FARLS
400g floury potatoes, such as King Edward
50g butter
50g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Butter, for frying
 

Method

1. First make the herb butter. Beat the soft butter with the chopped herbs in a small bowl. Season, then roll up tightly into a sausage shape in a sheet of clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.

2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and chop them into small chunks. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes until they are tender – this should take around 10-15 minutes.

3. When the potatoes are soft, drain and allow them to air-dry in a colander for a couple of minutes. When dry to the touch, tip into a large bowl and mash the potatoes until no lumps remain. Add the butter to the mashed potatoes and mix until melted and combined.

4. Add the flour and baking powder to the potato mix, and stir until the mixture comes together as a dough. Season generously and stir again. Tip out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. Divide into 3 equal-sized pieces.

5. Roll each portion of dough out into a circle around 1cm thick and then cut into quarters. Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then fry the farls, 4 at a time, for 3 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp on the outside. Repeat with the remaining farls. Serve hot with the herb butter spread liberally over the top.