Tag Archives: eggs

Recipe: Apricot Mousse, or possibly cold soufflé – a reconstruction

Happy Easter! I have heard the words ‘Christ is Risen’ in at least twelve languages, and have learned how having faith in the Resurrection is quite a lot like barracking for the Melbourne Demons, except that one’s hopes are more likely to be fulfilled in the former case.  (Apparently, our minister has been a Melbourne supporter since the mid-sixties.  During that time, Melbourne has won precisely zero premierships, and is mostly found holding up the ladder, or, as my father would have it, ‘lulling you into a false sense of security which may well turn out to be a true one…’).

Also, I finally got to sing a descant, so now I really feel like it’s Easter.  You can’t have a resurrection unless you spend serious time above the stave, that’s what I always say.  It’s possible that my doctrine is a little suspect…

My family used to have a big get together every Easter, with roast lamb and all the trimmings, followed by some sort of spectacular dessert, always provided by my Oma.  The year I was ten or so, she produced this amazing cold apricot soufflé, a beautiful, light, pale orange concoction, made even more exciting to my ten year old mind by the little Easter Eggs decorating it.

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I’m not sure why this recipe, of all the recipes Oma ever made, stayed with me, but it did.  And, of course, I have no idea what the recipe was.  I had hoped it would be in Margaret Fulton (I have found a number of Oma’s recipes, suitably adapted, in the pages of my Margaret Fulton cookbook), but the only apricot soufflé in her pages was a baked one – not ideal for when one is expecting guests, really.  I did, however, have a recipe for Apple Nougat Soufflé in a Family Circle cookbook from my childhood, and the combination of whipped cream, egg-whites and gelatine sounded about right for the effect I remember. (No, this recipe is not vegan.  Not even a little bit.  Sorry.  In fact, this might well be the least allergy-friendly recipe I’ve ever done – oh no, wait, it *is* gluten free, so that’s something!)

So it was just a matter of changing a lot of flavours.  And some of the method.  And… well, you know by now what I’m like with recipes.  The result is not Oma’s soufflé – I don’t think Oma would have used orange flower water, and she certainly wouldn’t have used peach schnapps or made a praline garnish – but it is light and fluffy and apricot-flavoured, and it does have little pastel Easter eggs on top.  The spirit is right, even if the actuality is a little altered.

(We lit candles at the service today for those who were no longer with us, and were told of the Latin American tradition of saying ‘presente’ as the names of the dead were read out, to indicate that they were still with us.  This is a tradition I like very much, and I hope it will be continued.  But for me, Oma is far closer to me in the making of this soufflé than in the lighting of a candle.  Presente!)

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Your Shopping List

1 1/2 cups of dried apricots
90 g butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon honey1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup peach schnapps
3 tsp gelatine
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp orange flower water
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup cream
small chocolate eggs in foil
 

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Recipe: Absurdly Cute Meringue Easter Bunnies

This is yet another one of those recipes that happens when I decide to make lemon curd, and then have to figure out something to do with all the egg whites.  I was just going to do plain meringues, but then for some reason my brain (which is not usually a particularly visual organ) came up with this image of stylised bunnies.  I drew the design on a piece of paper to see if it actually looked bunny-like outside my brain, and it did!  After that, it was just a matter of figuring out what colour to make the paws and ears, and how to do little bunny-like faces…

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Your Shopping List (for 12 bunnies, which is what I would have had if I hadn’t managed to stuff up on separating one of my eggs)

4 egg whites (use the yolks for lemon curd, or maybe a huge batch of mayonnaise)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups of caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
food colourings and flavours to taste – I used rose, violet and orange essences. 
coloured mini choc chips, or silver cachous, or other decorations for faces.
several piping bags, if you don’t already own them – you will probably need one for each colour, unless you are much bigger on washing up than I am

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Recipe: Creamy Decadent Quince Ice-Cream

closeI am so proud of this ice-cream – it’s the creamiest, softest, most beautifully textured ice-cream I’ve ever made, and it really is a total and utter fluke, because it was inspired by leftovers.

Every year at quince time, I find myself totally unable to resist buying more quinces than I can eat in a reasonable time frame.  I use them in sweet recipes, in savoury recipes, baked, poached or slow-cooked, and incorporate them into cakes, crumbles or tagines.  Which is odd, because I am never quite sure whether I like them – I’m just totally seduced by their scent.

Nigella Lawson has a wonderful recipe for roasted quinces in her cookbook, Feast.  You basically take a kilo each of water and sugar, make a syrup, halve the quinces, and bake the whole lot for a few hours (the recipe is on the internet, but since it isn’t from Nigella’s own site, I’d rather not link to it).  It’s incredibly sweet – in fact, you’ve pretty much just candied quinces by the time you are done – and you are left with these totally decadent, deep-red quinces in a thick, quince-infused syrup with an almost jammy consistency from the pectin in the fruit. You can only really eat it in small doses. 

Which is why I always end up, weeks or months after the quince season ends, with a little bowl of candied quinces and syrup in the fridge.  They don’t go off – that’s how much sugar we’re talking about – but the quinces do eventually start to harden a bit.  And you have this glorious syrup, which, I know, is just the thing to drizzle over cakes or ice-cream or whatever, except that I just don’t do that.  In fact, I don’t know what to do with it.

quince syrup

Well, I know now.  It makes the most *amazingly* flavoured and textured icing.  I think something about the way the sugar crystals are dissolved and the pectin thickens things changes the way the ice-cream freezes so that you don’t get ice crystals.  In a less fraught week, I’d look up what Harold McGee had to say on the subject, but at the moment, I’m mostly concerned with preserving this recipe while I remember it.

Because this is hands-down the best ice-cream I’ve ever made. I’m already looking forward to next year’s quince season.

Your Shopping List

300 ml milk.  I used low-fat milk and it worked just fine.
1 vanilla bean
4 large egg yolks
100 g sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
300 ml cream
2/3 cup thick poaching syrup from Nigella’s quinces
1 cup chopped candied quinces or caramel apples or both, if that’s what your fridge looks like, or neither, because this ice-cream needs no help

Now what will you do with it?

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First, you need to make custard.  Scary!  No, not really scary, because I know you already know how to make lemon curd and this is really no harder than that.

Split your vanilla bean lengthways, scrape out the seeds into a small saucepan, and pop the bean in, too.  And then try to figure out how to get the rest of the little, sticky seeds off your knife and fingers, where they now reside.

Heat the milk until it is nearly boiling, then remove it from the heat, and let cool for 15 minutes, so that the vanilla can infuse.

You could spend this time separating your eggs, actually.  Keep the whites for meringues or macarons, because you only need the yolks today.

Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cardamom until they are pale and fluffy.  This won’t take very long.  Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture, beating constantly as you go.  You don’t want to cook the eggs, so do make sure the milk isn’t still boiling hot (and if it is, you also haven’t infused it long enough, so be patient!).

There are two ways you can make the custard at this point, because the objective is to heat everything slowly until it thickens, which is just before boiling point.  You want to go slowly so that you don’t get accidental scrambled egg custard, which pleases nobody.  Or at least, nobody that I know.  Traditionally, one whisks the egg mixture in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  I started off doing this, but it was taking *forever* so I got bored and decided to try a microwave method, similar to the one I use for lemon curd – basically, you put the microwave on at 50% power, and heat the proto-custard, taking it out every 60 seconds and whisking it like mad, until it starts to get thick.  Usually the point where you get one big, gloopy bubble and pull the whole thing out in a hurry is what you are aiming for.

custard

Lay a piece of gladwrap directly on the custard (this prevents it forming a skin), and put in the fridge until the custard is cold.  If you are impatient, like me, you can put it in the freezer, but do check on it every twenty minutes or so – you don’t want to freeze it yet.

Add in the cream, and stir it together well.

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Scrape in the quince syrupy-jam, and try to mix through, but don’t worry if the cold makes it all clump up a bit, because the churning seems to magically take care of that.  I have no idea how, but it does.

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Now you get to churn it!  And I’m afraid I am presuming for this purpose that you have a machine.   I’m sure the still freezing method would work, but my freezer doesn’t get cold enough for it.  Also, I’m lazy.  So.  Churn your ice-cream in your ice-cream maker until it’s beginning to look like soft-serve.

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You can use the churning time to cut up fruit, if you plan to put chunks in.

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If you are planning to put in quincey chunks, do so now.  Mine still had syrup attached to them, and the ice-cream promptly un-set, but it didn’t seem to matter, because I wound up freezing it from quite soft, and it still wound up amazingly creamy.

un-set

Freeze the ice-cream for an hour or two, until solid.  This will never be a very solid ice-cream, it definitely has a soft-serve consistency and starts to melt pretty quickly at room temperature, but that’s OK, because it’s delicious.  It’s also quite sweet – one only needs a small serve.

One is happy, regardless.

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Variations

I can’t actually think of too many flavour variations, I’m afraid.  I mean, this recipe is born out of a fairly unique set of leftovers, and if I had anything else quite like it, it would be a different recipe.  It would be interesting to make something similar with a conventional jam, however.

In terms of food allergies, this is of course nut- and gluten-free and vegetarian, but not low-fructose, low-GI, or egg or dairy free, and certainly not vegan.  You might be able to replace the dairy with almond or soy milk and some sort of soy creamer; I’d certainly go with almond rather than soy if possible, for the flavour.  I would not use coconut milk here.  I’m afraid this would be a whole different ice-cream without the eggs, so I can’t help with that one.

This would be lovely paired with a pistachio cake or shortbread; a sprinkling of toasted pistachios over it would also be lovely (especially lightly salted ones, come to think of it).  But it’s beautiful alone, too.

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Two years ago: Recipe: Steph’s Sticky Date Pudding Cupcakes with Caramel Sauce

Recipe: Easter Egg Thumbprint Macaröns

closeapricotSo, what’s a macarön, I hear you ask?  Well, a macaron is a shiny, posh, filled biscuity thing made of egg-whites and almond meal and currently very much in vogue, and a macaroon is a rough, rustic, old-fashioned biscuity thing made of egg-whites and coconut.  This is a rustic but shapely, semi-filled biscuity thing made from egg-whites and almond meal, and thus neither fish, flesh or fowl.  Which, actually, is good, because who wants fish, flesh or fowl biscuits?  Let alone foul biscuits.  That would be no good at all.  Anyway, it’s a macarön, because it falls somewhere between the macaron and the macaroon and therefore deserves it’s own name.

It’s also a handy way to use up those egg-whites you set aside when you were making egg-yolk candies.

Also, I must admit, after seeing the truly stunning things Donnamarie did with her Easter eggs, I felt challenged!  The least I could do was cunningly make two kinds of sweet Easter egg out of actual eggs – one using the yolk, and one using the white.

(I have to say, the things everyone has come up with for this challenge have absolutely blown me away)

These are faintly Middle-Eastern in their inspiration, because that’s how I feel about almond meal, and also, that’s where my local ingredients tend to lead me, but you could make them utterly British with raspberry jam and vanilla, or Sicilian with lemon zest and blood orange marmalade… the possibilities are endless.

Your Shopping List

6 egg whites (and you know what to do with the yolks, right?)
525 g almond meal (you may want a little more if the dough is too wet)
200 g caster sugar
250 g icing sugar
2 tablespoons of pistachio and cardamom sugar, if you have it, or use 2 tsp cardamom and make up the bulk with ground almonds or ground pistachios. 
1-2 tsp rosewater or orange flower water
apricot or fig jam, for the yolks. 

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Recipe: Egg-Candy Easter Quail Eggs

bowl2I have to admit, given that March has been something of a hell-month for me, I’d rather decided that I would let the March Vegetarian Challenge slide quietly into oblivion.  But then the fabulous Johanna of Gourmet Green Giraffe made the most stunning Easter Egg pizza (really, you have to go and look at it, because it’s quite something), and before I knew it, three more people had joined the Easter Egg bandwagon, and here I was, the hostess with absolutely nothing to show for the month.

So, rather belatedly, I’m going to post two recipes, one today, and the other either this evening or tomorrow, depending how I go, for some creative interpretations of Easter Eggs. 

Today’s recipe, I admit freely, is more than slightly weird, and not even a little bit vegan.  I blame the Spanish nuns.  (No, really – that’s where this recipe originated.  Apparently, the Spaniards liked to use egg-white in their mortar, so the yolks went to the nuns, who obviously got bored with making custard tarts and started experimenting…) But who can resist an Easter Egg recipe made from real egg?  Not me…

This recipe comes, almost in its entirety, from Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra’s fabulous book, Sugar and Spice, with only a few very small changes from me.  First, I have doubled the lemon, because I am constitutionally incapable of using the zest of only half a lemon.  Second, I have made the sweets themselves much, much smaller – these little morsels are unbelievably rich, rather like an extra-thick version of lemon curd.  Finally, I let the sugar syrup go a little further than recommended, from thread stage into firm ball.  This was partly by accident, because I couldn’t find a candy thermometer that would behave for me today, but actually, I rather like the results, which are much firmer than my first attempts at this candy, and thus dip a lot better into the white chocolate coating.

If you were much cleverer and more patient than me, I’d recommend the possibilities of tempering your white chocolate, so that your egg-shell would crack nicely.  But I just melted mine, and that worked too.  You could also decorate the eggs in a much tidier fashion by using a piping bag, rather than using a fork and dementedly flicking coloured chocolate all over the kitchen, but I was in a hurry, and the results were actually strangely appealing even with the flicky method, so I can recommend that, too.

Your Shopping List

6 egg yolks (wondering what to do about the egg whites?  Fear not – I have it all planned! Just put them aside in a bowl in the fridge for now, and you can use them in tomorrow’s recipe!)
zest of 1 lemon
125 g white sugar
45 ml water
50 g ground almonds
approx. 175 g white chocolate (Cadbury’s white melts are actually surprisingly good, and I used them here)

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Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food: Easter Egg Inspirations

Hooray!  It’s March, which means it’s time for a new Vegetarian Food Challenge! And with Easter fast approaching, where better to look for a theme?

The March 2013 theme is Easter Egg Inspirations

(because feeding people gorgeous food is the true meaning of Easter.  Um.  OK, maybe not.  Unless you’re me, in which case feeding people gorgeous is the true meaning of life in general, no matter what time of year it is…)

 

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This challenge is a very broad – not to say silly – challenge.  What with Easter approaching, I initially thought about an egg-based challenge… but this seemed a little unfair on the vegans among you.  On the other hand, chocolate is probably a little bit too easy, especially if dairy and eggs are allowed.

So here’s the deal.  You can include any dish that…

  • Features eggs, or is egg-based (bonus points for anything that looks at all Easter Egg like by the time you are done with it)
  • Features eggplant.  Because that totally counts as eggs for vegans.  Bonus points if you stuff the eggplant, thus preserving the egg shape.
  • Is chocolatey and vegan (bonus points for vegan Easter Eggs – I really must get my vegan chocolate truffle recipe out for this one)
  • Anything else that you can convince me looks like an egg.  I’m sort of hoping a few of you will pick this one, because I have no idea what looks like an egg, but would love to find out.

Challenge rules can be found at the main challenge page!  Don’t forget to add your post to the linky below once you’ve done all the lovely adding of icons and linking back to this page, so that you can get the code for your own blog hop.

I can’t wait to see what egg-cellent recipes you come up with.  And I’m going to stop right now before the urge to make bad egg puns overwhelms me…



Recipe: Lemon and Kaffir Lime Delicious Pudding

It’s bitterly cold in Melbourne at the moment.  We don’t usually get seriously cold here in June (and I’m sure you Europeans and Americans reading this would laugh at my definition of seriously cold, since it doesn’t involve snow, or even frost).  I actually really like the cold, but there is a different quality either about it or about me this year, because I don’t remember ever having such constantly cold feet before (NB: an alternative hypothesis might involve failed central heating, but we had that a few years ago, so I know exactly how that feels, and this is something different).

Anyway, it will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that I view hot desserts as the absolutely best way to deal with cold weather.  And so here I was with this Margaret Fulton baking cookbook and a glorious farmers’ market lemon and I though, I know, I’ll do lemon delicious pudding.  Only I don’t have butter.  I will do dairy-free lemon delicious pudding!  And then I thought (and I’m a little embarrassed to admit this), actually, I haven’t posted much in my blog this week.  How can I change this recipe so that I can write about it?  And then my eyes fell on the scary, wrinkly little kaffir limes I bought at the market and I thought, why not?

I’ve never cooked with kaffir lime or even kaffir lime leaf before.  I find the scent of it like a more floral and astringent version of lime, so it makes sense that one uses the zest and the leaf in curries.  I can see that working well.  The stallholder told me not to use the juice, but not why, and I wanted to use the juice, so I sent Andrew off onto the internet to check that it wasn’t poisonous.  It isn’t, so we were good to go!

The result?  A surprisingly rich, mysteriously-flavoured citrus pudding.  The lime has kept its floral, slightly shocking flavour, but it doesn’t overwhelm the pudding.  I almost want to pair it with a spice, but I don’t know which spice would fit with it (I just don’t know my Thai flavours, and I think that’s the direction to go in).  Also, I don’t know whether it was the eggs or my new-found ability to make sponge cake, but the lemon sponge was far and away the best I’ve made – so fluffy and light!  And very warming on a cold winter’s night…

Your Shopping List

100 g softened butter or nuttelex
grated rind and zest of 1 lemon
grated rind and zest of 1 kaffir lime
150 g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 1/4 cups milk (soy milk works here)

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Recipe: Chicken in a Pot with Artichoke and Aioli

This recipe fills me with delight.  Really, the reason I bought a slow cooker was to be able to have something cooking all afternoon that would make the house smell wonderful.  Well, I had to go out to the shops yesterday after my chicken was in the cooker, and it was cold and wet and grey outside, but when I opened the door to come in, the house was warm and bright and had the most wonderful aroma of roasting chicken.  Perfect.

I’ve never pot-roasted a chicken before, but this will certainly not be the last time for me.  Done in the slow-cooker like this, the chicken becomes so tender that it literally falls off the bone – I was wondering how to carve it, but when I went to pick it up, it just fell apart into pieces: leg, thigh, breast, wing, and so forth.  

You can basically serve this with the cooking vegetables, bread and aioli (allow me to emphasise the importance of the aioli – it really makes this dish); because I had randomly invited some people around to dinner, I served it with roasted parsnip and potatoes and baked cauliflower as well.  There were no complaints.

Best of all, once we had eaten, I just returned the bones to the pot with the cooking liquid (which, I might add, had become abundant), a litre or so of water, and some vegetables and chicken skin I’d kept aside earlier, closed the lid, and let the slow cooker make chicken stock while we had dessert and I wrote up my market post from yesterday.  And today’s lunch was the best chicken and mayonnaise sandwich I have ever had…

NB: No photos, I’m afraid.  I didn’t think I’d be recording this one – I had no idea it would be this good – and the one flaw in this recipe is that it is really not photogenic…

Your Shopping List

8 garlic cloves, peeled
12 shallots, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and halved lengthwise
2 celery sticks, quartered
1-2 cardoons, chopped into lengths about 2 inches long
6 small jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and halved or quartered (use potatoes if you are scared of jerusalem artichokes, but they do go lovely and silky and make everything taste like artichoke)
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sage leaves
salt and pepper (if you have a herbed salt and pepper mix, it would be great here)
1 chicken (about 1.5 kg) – free range, if possible
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
a few strands of saffron
Aioli (recipe below) or roasted garlic mayonnaise

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Recipe: Omelette for One

Andrew does not like eggs.  It’s a character flaw, I agree, but what can you do?  Well, in my case, you just buy a smaller frying pan and continue on regardless, because sometimes, you just need an omelette and that’s that.  Single person omelettes are nicer, anyway, and anything that eliminates the delay in getting your omelette on the plate is a good thing.  Just ask the judge in Strong PoisonWhich, incidentally, you should certainly read if you have not done so,  because it is an excellent example of a how-dunnit (we figure out the identity of the poisoner quite early on) with rather glorious characters.  It also has quite a lot of talk about food and cooking, though since this is mostly in the context of ‘how did the victim get poisoned?’, I’m probably the only person in the world who remembers all those detailed descriptions *fondly* and kind of wants to make that chicken casserole and maybe a jam omelette, too…

(Incidentally, if you have read Strong Poison, I must also recommend to your attention the letters of Dorothy Sayers, which reveal, among other things, that she found the perfect therapy for getting over a wholly unsatisfactory ex-boyfriend – first, you write him into a book, then you poison him, and *then* you spend the rest of the book gleefully blackening his character until all your readers wish they could have poisoned him, too.  You go, girl!)

Anyway, I seem to have strayed a little from my topic, which is omelettes.  I have all these gorgeous Indian leftovers from last night, but today has been a very long day, and on such days, I don’t really want to eat food that challenges my palate on any level.  I want easy food, plain food, food that puts no unkind demands on my mind or my tongue or my digestion.  Food that I can eat – and cook – without thinking.

So Andrew gets the delectable leftovers and is welcome to them. I am having an omelette.

I’m not sure that this is a traditional omelette, but this is how my mother used to make them – and presumably still does, I just haven’t watched her cooking any omelette’s recently.  It’s fluffier than the thin french kind, but it’s definitely not a frittata either.  Whatever it is, it’s good.

(Sadly, I can provide no photographic evidence of this omelette.  This is for two reasons.  The first is that my camera decided to claim that its card was full partway through the cooking purpose.  The second, more shameful reason, is that for the first time in years, I completely failed to make an omelette that looked anything like an omelette.  Though it still tasted excellent.  But on the whole, I feel my camera picked a good time to misbehave…)

Your Shopping List

1 tsp butter – the spreadable margarine kind may be inauthentic, but it works well here.
2-3 eggs, free range
1 – 2 tsp (the technical term is a splash) water
salt, pepper
optional extras, like parmesan, chives, parsley, or paprika
 

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Recipe: Crêpes for pancake day

This blog is getting a bit Lent-themed at present, but what do you expect from someone who is involved in three separate church choirs?  Anyway, Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) could stand to be celebrated a bit more in Australia, because it’s fun.  It’s the day for using up all the eggs and dairy products you aren’t going to eat during Lent (because if you are in pre-industrial Europe, your hens have pretty much stopped laying by this time of year, and your cows probably aren’t producing much milk, either), and a day to party on the last of the good produce you’ve got as you head into the lean season of early spring, when there just isn’t much available in the way of vegetables, either.  Certainly, Lent is a religious observance, but it fits in so well with the season I can’t help suspecting this was a deliberate choice on the part of the early Church.

None of this really applies in post-industrial Australia, where it never really gets cold enough for the hens to stop laying (though they can die of the heat in this sort of weather), and anyway, we’re in a season of abundance and heading into Autumn anyway. 

But  we should still get to have pancakes. 

My mother wasn’t that into Pancake Day when we were growing up – I know she did it some years, but I’m not sure she did it every year.  But when we did have pancakes, it was always crêpes, not those funny puffy things you call pancakes in the USA.  And we had them with lemon and sugar, or sometimes with plum or apricot jam, warmed in the oven.

In my undergraduate days, when I moved out of home into share accommodtion, crêpes therefore became the special breakfast thing I did when people were staying.  Not my mother’s crêpes, these, but a recipe I got from an encyclopaedic Family Circle Cookbook given to me by my aunt when I turned 17.  The recipe contained 1 tablespoon of brandy, which quickly evolved into 2 tablespoons and thence into a quarter of a cup, and so forth, until my breakfast brandy pancakes were  rather infamous for their alcoholic nature.  There was also at least one episode which involved setting my hair on fire, but I honestly can’t remember how I did that.  I blame the brandy.

These crêpes are not the brandy pancakes of my insufficiently-mis-spent youth, but they do have rather more brandy than Family Circle would recommend.  I maintain that this is absolutely appropriate to the spirit of indulgence encouraged by Shrove Tuesday. Also, my recollection is that this recipe makes a *lot* of pancakes.  You have been warned.

Your shopping list

1 1/4 cups plain flour
a pinch of salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons brandy (or more.  I won’t tell.)
2 teaspoons melted butter

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