Give A Toss

Purchase an apron, it’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow! LEAF ARBUTHNOT prepares you to ace Pancake Day.


It’s easy to lose your bearings in Cambridge.

I didn’t realise the floods were a thing till I ventured home a few weeks ago. My sweet, sunny Berkshire had become a maelstrom of rapids and road-ponds, presided over by sandbag-brandishing neighbours. After a jolly canoe in my back garden, I returned to the bubble for a supervision, forgetting all about the moistening masses outside CB3. That’s how it goes in term time. The outside world retreats.

Shrove Tuesday, however, is an a-cantabrian date worth remembering. There is little more therapeutic on this good earth than flipping a home-grown crepe. That said, getting the mixture right is tricky. If it’s too lumpy, your mouthful of nutella will be ruined by blossoming flour bubbles; too thin, and the crepe will be frail as Bible paper.

Flour power

Flour power

Making pancakes with friends is also an efficient way of finding out who they really are. If they try to flip the crepe without loosening it first with a spatula, they’re a maniac. If, on the other hand, they shy away from all pancake-tossing tomfoolery, they’re boring-snoring and should be shelved until you’re sixty.

This crepe recipe is foolproof and can be whipped up with a wooden spoon if necessary. And further down, a how-to guide for American-style fatboi pancakes, which work excellently with the usual accoutrements of bacon and maple syrup.

Perfect crepes 

A few ground rules. Firstly, the pan must be non-stick. Secondly, you should whisk the egg before adding the flour, and only later pour in the milk. This avoids lumps. Thirdly, adding a ‘noisette’ – basically just melted butter – to the mix will make it more pliable and delicious. Fourthly, the first crepe is always shit, so don’t lose your head if it looks like a lunar implosion.

King Nutella visits Mars

King Nutella visits Mars

Ingredients (for six or so crepes)

75g plain flour

200 ml milk

1 large tablespoon of butter

1 egg

Whisk up the egg, then add the flour. Whisk this together, pouring in the milk bit by bit (as if you were making a white sauce). Warm a pan on middling power and stick the butter on it. When it’s melted, pour this into the pancake mixture. Ensuring the pan is nice and hot, pour in about two tablespoons of batter, swilling the pan around to spread it evenly. Cook this for about 3 minutes, then turn/flip it over. Then cook it for another 2 minutes or so. Serve with nutella or sugar and lemon.

Perfect American-style pancakes

Excellent with sunflower seeds

Excellent  too with sunflower seeds

These are slightly more indulgent than their French brethren, but just as good. Make sure they’re cooked all the way through before you chow down.

Ingredients

75g self raising flour

100 ml milk

1 large tablespoon of butter

1 egg

½ teaspoon of baking powder

Whisk up the egg, then add the flour and baking powder. Whisk this together, pouring in the milk bit by bit (as if you were making a white sauce). Warm a pan on middling power and stick the butter on it. When it’s melted, pour this into the pancake mixture. Ensuring the pan is nice and hot, pour in about 1tablespoon of batter. Cook this for about 4 minutes, then turn/flip it over. Then cook it for another 3 minutes or so. Serve with maple syrup, bacon and blueberries.