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I have one simple rule for my diet, which is to eat as many vegetables as I can, if they are raw then so much the better. I reckon it is far more positive to concentrate on the good stuff, rather than thinking you are depriving yourself by concentrating on not eating the bad stuff. More of the food stuff means less room for the bad stuff surely?
As a consequence I try to add some vegetables to everything, my breakfast – grated carrot is lovely in porridge and with cereal, pasta – add some broccoli or kale whilst cooking the pasta, dips – whizz roasted butternut squash into hummus or spinach into guacamole and, today, pancakes with spinach.
Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday; or colloquially pancake day; and pancakes were a way of using up the richer foods such eggs, milk, and sugar before the fasting period of Lent when plainer foods would be eaten. I have not actually given up anything for Lent for many a year – in the past I have given up both alcohol and chocolate leading to both very light head after one glass of champagne on Easter Sunday, and a sugar rush after a creme egg.
These days there is an increasing movement to use Lent to establish new good habits, or to do something for others – which I think is an equally appropriate way to approach the season, and if you do not do so already, making a commitment to try to eat 5 or more portions of vegetables and fruit will make a significant difference to your health.
I picked up all my pancake ingredients at Sainsbury’s – flour, eggs and sweet pancake toppings all together in one handy corner of the store.
I recently started making my pancake batter in a blender – you can whizz the milk and eggs as much as you like, and then gently mix the flour in. I used my Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie. You can pour the batter directly into the pan from the blender, and then to clean half fill with warm water, add a few drops of washing up liquid and then whizz at top speed for 30 seconds!
The spinach pancakes are a gorgeous colour, really bright green (Shrek, Popeye or Hulk pancakes for children perhaps?) – and will be ready to flip once the top is full of little dimples like the one above. For a “pizza” pancake party I set out a choice of toppings to sprinkle on each pancake which is then finished off under the grill for 45 seconds or so to melt the cheese and crisp the edges.
I never ever get round pancakes – my stove is not entirely level so the batter does tend to run to one side of the pan. Invariably the first pancake is never as good as the rest, I usually eat it when no one is looking.
- 50g baby leaf spinach
- 4 free range eggs
- 450ml semi skimmed milk
- 150ml water
- 200g plain flour
- Pinch salt
- Knob of butter for frying
- Choice of toppings – I had a mixture of ham, sweetcorn and cheese.
- Place the spinach, eggs, milk and water into a blender and whizz at top speed until blended. Turn the off the blender, add the flour and whizz at the lowest speed for about 15 seconds until the mix is smooth and the consistency of thin cream.
- Smear a little butter into a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat, and pour in about half a ladle of the pancake batter.
- Tilt the pan gently swirling the batter to spread it out, and return to the heat. Cook for about 45 seconds to a minute until solid, and either flip with a spatula or fish slice or toss. Cook the other side for 30 seconds or so until done.
- Cover with your choice of toppings and pop under a hot grill for about 45 seconds until any cheese has melted, serve immediately.