VIDEO: Let’s get cracking ahead of the most romantic day of the year

Grab your pancake pan and get flipping with these recipes and video from our weekly columnist, Di Curtin.
VIDEO: Let’s get cracking ahead of the most romantic day of the year
Tuesday February 13 is Pancake Day.

TWO important dates in the annual dining calendar fall next to each other this coming week.

First off, pancake pans come out all over Ireland on Tuesday as we get cracking with the eggs and milk on Pancake Day — Shrove Tuesday, to give it the proper name, when traditionally all the rich foods of the house had to be used up before Ash Wednesday and the start of traditional Lenten abstinence.

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on February 14, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day.

This weekend’s menu kills two birds with one stone, so you can bring your Valentine Feast forward one day and enjoy a blow out with your loved one on Pancake Tuesday instead!

For a savoury main, try these Irish Buttermilk Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Horseradish Cream. Really simple to make, but they look impressive. They are flavoured with finely sliced spring onion, dill and a little Parmesan cheese. I’ve used smoked salmon made from organically farmed Irish fish. Packed with Omega acids, great for heart health.

Crepes is just a posh French word for pancakes, made from a standard pancake batter. For a Valentine’s theme, I’ve top them with a luxurious dark chocolate sauce, strawberries and baby pink and white marshmallows, for a touch of squidgy love on a plate!


BASIC PANCAKE RECIPE

Ingredients (Makes 6-8 pancakes)

125g plain flour

pinch of salt 

1 large fresh free range egg 

300mls milk 

1 tbsp melted butter 

Method:

For the pancakes, sift flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Add the egg and a little milk from the measure. Start to beat together.

Gradually add the remaining milk beating smooth. Stir in the melted butter.

Leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled non-stick pancake pan over medium heat.

Pour in a ladle of batter and swirl the pan to coat the base.

Cook for a couple of minutes, till the pancake has set underneath. Toss or flip over to cook the other side.

Slide out onto a warmed plate and cover with greaseproof. Reserve, keeping warm, while you cook the remainder.

Serve warm with lemon and sugar or golden/maple syrup.

Crepes with Strawberry and Chocolate Marshmallows
Crepes with Strawberry and Chocolate Marshmallows

Vanilla Crepes with Strawberries, Chocolate and Marshmallows

Ingredients (Serves 2 generously)

For the sauce:

75g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp cocoa powder

300mls water

For the crepes:

125g plain flour

pinch of salt

1 large fresh free range egg

300mls milk

1 tbsp melted butter

To serve:

Halved strawberries and pink and white baby marshmallows

Method:

For the sauce, place chocolate and sugar in a pan with cocoa powder. Pour over half the water. Stir over medium heat till chocolate has melted and mix is smooth and add remaining water and stir. Bring to bubbling.

Bubble till the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and reserve. You can serve this warm or cold.

For the pancakes, sift flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Add the egg and a little milk from the measure. Start to beat together.

Gradually add the remaining milk beating smooth. Stir in the melted butter. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled non-stick pancake pan over medium heat.

Pour in a ladle of batter and swirl the pan to coat the base.

Cook for a couple of minutes, till the pancake has set underneath. Toss or flip over to cook the other side.

Slide out onto a warmed plate and cover with greaseproof. Reserve, keeping warm, while you cook remainder.

To serve, arrange a couple of crepes on each plate. Drizzle over chocolate sauce. Scatter over the strawberries and marshmallows and add a little more sauce to finish.


Buttermilk Pancakes with Smoked Salmon.
Buttermilk Pancakes with Smoked Salmon.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus


Ingredients (Serves 2)

100g self raising flour

Pinch of salt

1 large fresh free range egg

225mls buttermilk

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed

200g thinly sliced smoked salmon

For the Horseradish Cream:

2 heaped tsp horseradish sauce

4 tbsp cream

Method:

Sift the flour and salt in to a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Add a little buttermilk, gradually add the rest of the buttermilk, whisking smooth. Add the olive oil. You can also do all these stages in a food mixer/ electric whisk.

Stir in the cheese, spring onions and dill. Season. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.

While the mix is resting, steam/ boil the asparagus briefly in a large pan of salted water. Drain, drizzle with a little butter and reserve, keeping warm.

Stir the horseradish sauce with the cream and season.

To cook the pancakes, heat a lightly oiled non-stick pancake pan until very hot. Stir the batter, then add a ladle of mix to the pan. Swirl to make a nice round shape. Cook for a couple of minutes, until it starts to bubble on top. Flip over to cook the other side.

Slide out onto a warmed plate and cover with greaseproof. Reserve, keeping warm. You should get four to six small pancakes. Arrange on two warmed plates. Top with wafer thin slices of smoked salmon and pop some asparagus spears on top. Dot the horseradish cream around. Scatter plates with chopped dill to serve.


Pancake ingredients (eggs, flour, milk, butter, sugar).
Pancake ingredients (eggs, flour, milk, butter, sugar).

PANCAKES RECEIPT

Buttermilk Pancakes:

Buttermilk 79c (litre)

Flour €1.29

Free range eggs €2 (half dozen)

Spring Onions 69c

Dill €1.39

Horseradish Sauce €2.49

Cream €1.99 (500mls)

Organic Smoked Salmon €6.80 (2 x 100g packs)

Asparagus €1.39

Total: €18.14

Valentine’s Crepes:

Organic milk 99c (litre)

Strawberries €3.59

Chocolate 99c

Baby Marshmallows €1.59

Total: €5.17

* Di Curtin writes The Weekend Foodie column in the Evening Echo every Saturday. She also has a drinks column every Wednesday.

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