Monday, April 19, 2010

Cook's Thoughts

While cooking is almost my first love (growing the food now coming a close second), my suggestion today is to rethink pancakes (because they cover both loves). These are SO cheap to make, and cannot understand why we don't eat them as often as we do. By 'we' I mean the Goodes, but expect many families also eat pancakes only on Shrove Tuesday.

When we add things to pancake batter, they become more interesting, more substantial, more nutritious - and a lot more useful. So next time, add finely chopped fresh herbs or wilted and chopped spinach to the pancake batter. Cook in the normal way, and then use pancakes as a 'wrap' around a chosen filling. These can be eaten hot or cold, and also cooked as we do pasta - rolled round a filling (as cannelloni), or layered as in lasagne. Topped with a cheese sauce and heated in the oven these 'pasta alternatives' have less (often no) carbos, and contain more protein.

In the very early days of this blog, gave a suggestion for a dish that makes use of both pancakes and 'left-overs'. Perhaps one of my favourite dishes, and not just because it is so economical. It also eats well.
All we have to do is take about 6 or so ready-made pancakes (these can come from the freezer), and stack/layer with assorted fillings, such as left-over spag bol meat sauce, a thick tomato (pizza) sauce, some 'greens' in a white sauce, and so on. Keep it colourful and repeat/alternate the layers finishing with a final pancake. Spoon over a cheese sauce, add grated cheese on top and heat through in the oven. How long depends upon whether the fillings are heated first or layered cold. The stack needs to be heated through thoroughly before cutting into wedges then served.
Using plain pancakes was the original recipe, but using alternate plain and herby flavoured gives the above suggestion another dimension.

Even a dessert pancake can be given a new lift by adding cocoa powder to the flour to make a 'chocolate' flavoured pancake. So experiment. Make a batch of sweet or savoury pancakes, interleave and freeze ready to use another day. Removed separately they thaw out almost instantly.