Approx cost: €2.50
Approx calories (per pancake): ~680
Approx preparation and cooking time: 20 mins
F irstly I’d like to tell you all about a little adventure I had on Saturday. While doing a bit of “spring cleaning” on my web hosting I noticed a redundant database – let’s call it “database3″. At any one time I often have various databases running, as well as different installations of WordPress. A testing area of my blog so I can be sure that updates and changes don’t wreck things, other little projects I like to tinker with and so forth. Let’s call the database where all the data for FiveEuroFood.com is stored “database1″. So, anyway – I notice a redundant database and I think “ok, I’ll delete all the data from this one, but won’t bother deleting the database itself, and then I can use it for my next little pet project I’m working on”. So I click on “database1″, access the web admin panel and drop (delete) all the tables from inside the database (can you see where this is going?). A wave of terror hits me – “Oh my God”… I hammer in “fiveeurofood.com” into my address bar. “Error: Unable to connect to database”. Yes – I’d deleted all data for my site. Thankfully, I’d made a backup just 2 days previously, so I could restore everything minus a few comments (if you notice one of your comments suddenly disappeared this is why! ) and the most recent post which I could re-create quickly thanks to Google’s cached version of my site (Thank you Google!!), but what have I learned from this? Backup, backup, backup. I’m now going to be backing up my main database every time I make a post, and if you run your own WordPress installation I’d advise you to do the same, because you just never know! Ok, now on to the “main event”
If you ever get a chance to visit France make sure you do not miss a visit to “crêperie”. Sure – you can get crêpes almost anywhere these days, and definitely make them yourself, but a real, French crêperie is something else! To sit and choose from a menu with so many different varieties of pancake on it is tremendously fun, and don’t think that they’re all sweet. In a crêperie you’ll often have the “galettes” first, sometimes called “galettes de sarrasin” (buckwheat pancakes) or “crêpes salées” (salted/savoury pancakes) which will be similar to this recipe. A large pancake, made with buckwheat flour and then fried, and folded over a filling which can be pretty much anything, although frequently involves cheese (hey, it’s France!). You usually take a light buckwheat pancake as a starter – maybe it will have just cheese, or ham and cheese, or perhaps even a fried egg inside, then a more substantial one as a main course, and then finally you select your “crêpe” for dessert. I won’t lie – these are often the star attraction, especially crêpes brought to your table swiftly followed by a waiter with a small pan filled with heated alcohol which they set alight and then tip all over the crêpe. One of the most famous of these particular pancakes is the “crêpe suzette“… oh my:
Crêpe Suzette is a French dessert consisting of a crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier or orange Curaçao liqueur on top, served flambé. The most common way to make Crêpe Suzette is to pour liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) over a freshly cooked crêpe with sugar and light it. This will make the alcohol in the liqueur evaporate, resulting in a fairly thick, caramelised sauce. In a restaurant, a Crêpe Suzette is often prepared in a chafing dish in full view of the guests.
Some years ago, my wife and I used to have a favourite crêperie – this place was really “old-school”. The whole restaurant was about the size of a small living room in someone’s house, with one corner set aside for a tiny preparation and cooking area, heck, the place didn’t even have a toilet. There were faded prints on the wall, old pizza peels and copper pots hanging there and best of all were the husband and wife owners of this tiny little establishment – always so warm and welcoming. They rarely had customers which meant that the place was dark and quiet and romantic – our little place.
We used to go there so often – perhaps more than once a week, it certainly wasn’t pricey – before taking a stroll home in the cool night air, but after some time we really had felt like we needed a bit of a break from crêpes. As the weeks wore on we decided to once again revisit our beloved restaurant, only to be met with a dark restaurant and a small sign taped to the door letting us know that the kind old man had passed away not one week previously. It saddens me that we never had a chance to see him again, to be welcomed by him and his wife into their lives for an evening, because eating there was really like sharing a meal with a family. Friends and readers – cherish the company of those whom you care about, whomever they may be – you never know when things may change!
For the pancakes
- 60g Buckwheat Flour
- 1 egg
- 120ml Milk (or half milk, half water)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 20g Butter
For the filling
- 1 large or 2 medium Onions
- 1 green Bell Pepper
- 100g Cheddar Cheese
- 4 spicy sausages, such as Merguez
- 2 tsps Olive Oil
- Start off by mixing the buckwheat flour, salt and egg together using a small whisk. Once mixed well, gradually pour in the Milk or milk and water, whisking well between each addition until you have a fairly runny batter. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Meanwhile, place the sausages under the grill or broiler so they will be ready by the time the pancakes are!
- Next, peel and chop the onion and core and chop the bell pepper finely.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and when hot, add in the onion and bell pepper and fry through, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn, for about 4 or 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in a bit of salt and pepper if desired and then remove from the heat. Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside.
- Set a large frying pan onto the heat and allow to heat up for a minute or so. Divide the butter into two chunks and place one chunk into the hot frying pan, moving around with a fork or other implement to ensure the base of the pan is well coated. When sizzling nicely pour in half of the batter mix. Note that if your pan is not sufficiently big you may need to make more than two pancakes. One half of the mixture should thinly coat the whole pan – you’ll need to tilt the pan a bit to run the batter to any “blank” spaces.
- Fry for a minute or two until browning on the bottom and then flip the pancake over, either using super-awesome pancake flipping skills or a wide spatula :p. Cook for about a minute and then start arranging half of the onion and bell pepper in the centre and then half of the grated cheese. Fold up the corners to create a square shape and press down gently for a few seconds to ensure they stay down, sealing in the centre. Carefully transfer to a heated plate and arrange the sausages on top and then repeat the process for the second pancake. Enjoy!