Sunday, 5 August 2012


Prior to pancake day a few years back, I discussed the relative merits of the English pancake and the French crèpe with my good friend Geraud. In the course of this we exchanged recipes. Here's his contribution on the art of the perfect crèpe. I'll post mine tomorow on the good day itself.

The crèpes you get with this one are thicker than those you can get in Britany for example, although it has to do with the fact that I just poor the liquid into the pan rather than flatten it with the special tool they have over there.

Now, how to prepare some good crèpes quickly :

in a pot, poor :
- one liter or milk (I use full fat milk, but half works as well),
- 6 eggs (yes, six),
- a tea spoon of salt,
- eventually a small pack of Vanilla sugar, if you plan to eat your crèpes sweet only,
- eventually a small pack of the chemical powder than makes the cakes grow (that's where my english is very limited...). That's not mandatory though
- 8 dL (that is, 400g) of white flour
- a small cup of sunflower oil (or any tasteless oil)
- if for sweet ones only, you can add a drop of orange flower essence, but that's strong, and not everybody like it, or a lemon or orange skin shredded, that's more subtle

Just mix the whole thing with a mixer (I told you, it's simple),
If you are patient enough, leave it alone half an hour, although it's not really needed,

use some wide flat pans (20-30 cm of diameter), and poor the content of a (replace by: the big deep spoon you use to serve soup) into a very hot pan. Use a bit of oil for the first one, and a tefal pan, if you don't have any, buy one, it's worth it just for that... some special pans exist for crèpe, extra flat (one centimeter of heigt, called crèpière ?)
I use two pans to make it decently quick. Turn them over once the first side is done, one side will be uniformly yellow, and the second side moon-like, that's normal ! The sun and the moon in your plate...
Turn them with a flat-wooden-spoon-you-see-what-I-mean, or make them twist !

One trick : if you eat them just once they are done, you'll still taste the raw taste a bit (which you may like), while if you pile them up, they'll finish cooking from the heat of each other.

Now you can serve that with all you can think about. I tend to put the garniture as a line in the middle, accross a diameter, fold in two over the line, and roll the whole thing like a cigar. Olga fold them in 4, so your choice !

Some of my favorite ones are :
-- salty ones:
- a spoon of thick cream (warm or cold, depends on what you like), some shredded gruyère, some minced mushrooms, and a bit of pepper
- simple red (salmon) caviar (yes, she's russian, they eat that like we eat nutella...), or lump eggs
- a spoon of cream, a slice of salmon, a bit of aneth (northern herbs)
- any variation on the above !
- any other thing you can think of ! you can go up to a burrito-like one...

-- sweety ones:
- sugar ! one small spoon, that's all, these are some of the best ones..
- any marmelade : orange, redberry, strawberry, apricot, plums, whatever
- Nutella, or melted chocolate
- butter and sugar (straight from Britany, you'll see it straight on the scale though !! they are solid folks over there ! ). the butter will melt
- mappled syrup or butter, if you can find some (like syrup, but more concentrated)
- honey !
- fruits (whatever you want)
- ice cream (again, whatever), with chantilly or hot cholocate on top of the roll
- a great one : a bit of sugar, a bit of lemon juice, roll it, cover with a soup spoon of rhum, and light it up, watch out !


Inspired by my earlier dialog on pancakes, I decided to make up a batch of ham and cheese galettes. The recipe for them follows: -


250 gr [9 oz] buckwheat flour
1 egg
1/2 liter [17 fl oz] water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt


Put the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the oil and the egg to this well. Gradualy fold in the flour from the sides using a wooden spoon to begin
to gradually add the water. Turn gently until the flour has disappeared. Finish with a whisk to make a smooth batter which should be left for at least one hour before cooking.


Give the batter a turn. Heat a pan, and put a small knob of butter in (swirling to distribute). The pan must be ho but not too hot that the butter browns. Pour a small laddle of batter into the pan, while swirling it to distribute the batter evenly. Cook until golden, turn the galette upside down and add any filling you'd like, such as ham and gruyere cheese. Continue to heat untill the topping has melted and the underside is also cooked. Serve imediately.

Repeat until you've used up all the batter.



125g plain flour, preferably Italian 00
1 egg
300 ml milk
15-30g cooled butter, melted (optional)

Making the batter

Make a mound of flour in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and make a well in the top. Crack open the egg and put it into the well. Using a wooden spoon gradually mix in the flour from the sides and beat in the milk to make a smooth batter. When the batter is creamy, stop and switch to a whisk, at this point you can add the butter which makes more of a crèpe mix (ordinary pancakes don't need the butter). Leave to stand for at least half an hour. If the batter thickens in this period add milk or water (or maybe some rum if you're making crèpes) to bring its consistency to that of single-cream.

Cooking the pancakes

Use very little oil and very little batter. The pan must be very hot, heat the oil in the pan first, then empty it before adding just enough batter to cover the base of the pan When bubbles come to the surface flip it (if atempting fancy multiple flips do so outside, my friends wife Rachel still hasn't forgotten the one I left sticking to her artexed ceiling after 4 rotations). Be prepared to reject (eat at the stove) the first as it usually doesn't work. Re-oil the pan after every 4 pancakes.


Traditionaly in Britain these are served with sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Alternatively Orange Juice, Jam, Maple Syrup or a chocolate spread (such as Nutella)and bananas make good substitutes.

Scotch Pancakes

115g plain flour sifted
1 medium free range egg
150 ml milk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp golden caster sugar
melted butter for greasing

Making the batter
Sift the flour, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Add the egg and slowly stir in the milk. Beat until smooth.

Cooking the pancakes
Heat up a griddle or frying pan for at least 3 minutes to get hot. Smear with a little melted butter using a paper towel. Pour in 4 lots of a tbsp of the batter mix. After a couple of minutes large bubbles should appear. Flip them over and cook for about another minute.


Serve warm with bacon and maple syrup, clotted cream and jam or whatever floats your boat.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Crispy Black Pudding Wontons

Thanks to Jimmy at that fine Motörhead blog Moving Like A Parelellogram for this recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
450 g /1 lb. black pudding skinned and chopped
1 bunch spring onions, about 8 trimmed and finely chopped
140 g / 5 oz chicken breast boned and skinned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
25 g / 1 oz butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
150 ml /1/4 pt whipping cream
A little freshly grated nutmeg
A few leaves fresh basil chopped
1 x 350 g/ 12 oz packet won-ton skins
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger. When they have softened, add the black pudding and cook for about a minute. Add the spring onions and remove the pan from the heat so that they remain crunchy.
Put it to one side to cool.
Take the chicken breast and blend it in a food processor with a teaspoon of salt. Add the butter and blend again. Now add an egg and continue to blend while you pour in the cream. Stop the motor from time to time and scrape the inside of the bowl with a rubber spatula so that everything is evenly combined.
Stir the chicken mousse into the black pudding mixture and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Finally, add the basil.

4. Lay out 6 -9 won ton skins on a clean work surface and place a spoonful of the black pudding mixture in the centre of each. Beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the edges of the won-ton skins. Fold each in half to form a triangle and press the edges firmly together. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.
Heat a deep pan of oil to 180 oc / 350 F. Fry about 6 won-tons at a time until they are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Drain and turn them out on to kitchen paper.

Serve hot.

It's enough to make Snaggletooth drool...

Sunday, 20 September 2009

La Fleur en Papier Dore (31 of 80)

After the house of puppets I felt an uncontrolable urge to sample the Lambic delights of La Fleur en Papier Dore. Almost as though my limbs were pulled by hidden strings. I also had a sense of déjà vous, a fact born out by the barkeeps walking over and saying "I know you. Last time you were in here you were wearing a Motorhead teashirt.". Memories of playing cards here came flooding back, Sylvain with some extra ones tucked up his sleave. The ace of spades, the ace of spades....

The beer this time was Oud Beersel. Flat, slightly sour and a perfect accompaniment to the blood sausage roll sitting on my plate.

The Gold Plated Flower was originally part of a 19th century nunnery. I can hear the penguins now, berating the drunken cavorting that now ensues within.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Poechenellekelder Master Of Puppets (56 of 80)

Sitting opposite the Manequin Pis, Poechenellekelder is a fine place to enjoy a Sunday afternoon beer while watching the tourists flock around the wee pisser. In this case the beer is the reccomended Jambe-de-Bois tripple from the Brasserie de la Seine brewery. Nice.