Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Can WE Help? - Pancakes

This Sunday started as any other, the dulcet tones of daughter no.2 shouting for us to get up with her from 6ish.  Obviously we act any dutiful parents would and shout back for her to either go back to bed or play in her room. In fact do anything that doesn’t involve one of us getting up before CBeebies has started. For us that’s the benchmark, if it’s too early for the BBC to pay a bright eyed 20 something to annoy me then we’re not getting out of bed.

She managed til about 6:45 and I got up with her, the usual dross on was tv with catchy theme tunes providing the earworms which by 10 make you want to cut your own ears off “Time for your check up, time for your check up…”

No.1 joined us at 7:15 and the chorus of “Can we get Mummy up?” started in earnest. We take it in turns on a weekend to get up with the girls and 7:15 doesn’t constitute a lie in so I try to make it until at least 8, in my book 8’s as good as it gets with small children. This is something non-parents don’t get their heads around, this was highlighted by drunken texts received at 7:30 on Saturday morning from a friend who hadn’t been to bed yet, this as I was enjoying the additional 45 minutes afforded to me.

Breakfast on a Sunday has become a bit of tradition, it’s the only morning where we eat together and it’s usually pancakes.

Today was no different. I was watching the Grand Prix, not because I’m a fan simply because it wasn’t a kids programme. To be fair I couldn’t give a shit who won so knocking up a bit of pancake batter, frying them and chopping some fruit really wasn’t a problem. I’d be sat back down within 20 minutes with a pat on the back.

However the cry of “Can we help?” went up as 2 rather over excited girls bounced around the lounge. In any other scenario somebody offering to help me is happily received but this is cooking so the answer is generally “FUCK NO!”.

Here lies the problem, you can’t really tell 7 and 3 year old girls to fuck off, well you can but Social Services don’t take too kindly to it. So you have the dilemma of doing the right thing or doing what you know will lead to tears, theirs and mine.

Everything on the tv makes you feel bad for not engaging with or encouraging your children. TV isn’t real life though and everything on it should be ignored.

You could say I’m a perfectionist in the kitchen, I like things to be just so, done my way and my way only. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a great cook but if it fucks up it’s my fuck up.

Mrs.L doesn’t come anywhere near when I’m in the kitchen, having felt my wrath in the past for getting in the way or some such triviality. Let’s face it I’m a dick but we’ve both accepted this and moved on.
So the thought of having 2 little helpers dropping shell into the batter, spilling milk and putting mucky fingers in sends me into a downright panic.

One of No.1’s earliest memories is being told off for eating the jam rather than putting it into the cases when we were making jam tarts, she was 3 and is scarred for life, the sight of a Mr. Kipling packet sending her into meltdown.

Today was no different they really tried, as did I. However it can never work, I took over within minutes, pretty much as soon as the flour came cascading out of the bowl and onto the floor. Voices were raised and they ran off to tell Mrs.L how strict I was, she agreed obviously.

Anyway for those of you wanting to give it a go here’s the recipe it’s a Nigella from her Bites book. If you’ve more patience than me and want to let your children help, it’s really easy and they’ll enjoy it.

It makes about 16 pancakes depending on how big you want to make them. I prefer these American style ones as you can cook about 4 at a time in a big frying pan. Occasionally I make the English ones but frying 1 pancake at a time is a real pain in the arse.


225g Plain Flour
2 Heaped Teaspoons Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
Teaspoon sugar

30g Melted Butter
2 Eggs
300ml Milk


Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl if you can be bothered, I don’t and it has no bearing on how they turn out – let’s face it this is home cooking we’re not after Michelin Stars.

In a measuring jug whisk the eggs, milk and butter.

Pour your wet ingredients on to your dry and whisk like buggery until you have something resembling a smooth batter.

You can whack all this into a food processor if you prefer, I usually do it by hand so the girls can feel invested by helping for the obligatory 2 minutes.

Heat the frying pan and ladle the batter in, I usually get 4 pancakes in at a time.

You’ll know when to turn when bubbles appear on the surface.

Flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

A word of warning the first 4 are usually shite in appearance but taste as good as the others.

Top with desired syrups, jams, spreads and fruit.