With Shrove Tuesday coming up, or pancake Tuesday, it is a great opportunity to get children helping in the kitchen. American-style pancakes are lovely and fluffy. We make these a lot at home. You have two raising agents: self-raising flour and baking powder, and I like to add a little bit of lemon zest and vanilla extract into the pancake mixture.

We are using bananas but I love some streaky bacon and maple syrup, and raspberries too. A little tip: remember to allow the batter to rest.

The crêpes use plain flour with no raising agent. Flour, eggs and milk – that’s it.

Shrove Tuesday was traditionally a day that you used up your left-over milk and eggs and whatever you had in the cupboard (read more about this on P13). These crêpes are nice and thin. The most important piece of kitchen equipment you’ll need to make perfect crêpes every time is a really good non-stick frying pan, as it makes flipping so much easier.

Make sure your frying pan is properly heated before you start cooking. You can test this by putting a small spoonful of the batter into the frying pan – it should turn golden on the underside after about 30 seconds.

I am serving with berries and yoghurt but you could use some nice smoked trout or smoked salmon, a little bit of cream cheese mixed with some pesto and a little bit of salad and you have a wonderful savoury crêpe. Or a little bit of baked ham would work very well

Happy cooking,


American-style pancakes with bananas and maple syrup

Serves two

100g (4oz) self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 large egg

About 6 tbsp buttermilk

Butter, for frying

Sunflower oil, for frying

2 large bananas, sliced

About 4 tsp maple syrup

Icing sugar, to dust

For the vanilla and lime yoghurt:

4 tbsp vanilla yoghurt

Finely grated rind of ½ lime

  • 1 Place the vanilla yoghurt in a bowl and stir in the lime rind. Set aside while you make the pancakes.
  • 2 Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Sieve the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl and make a slight dip in the middle with a fork. Break in the egg and add a little of the buttermilk, then beat until smooth, adding enough of the rest of the buttermilk to make a smooth, thick batter.
  • 3 Add a knob of butter to the heated frying pan with a tiny splash of sunflower oil, then spoon in heaped tablespoons of the batter. Once bubbles begin to appear on the pancakes, turn them over using a metal spatula and cook for another minute or so, until golden. Keep warm on a plate while you cook the remainder.
  • 4 Arrange the pancakes on warmed plates in stacks with the sliced bananas and then drizzle over the maple syrup. Add a dollop of the vanilla and lime yoghurt to each one and give them a light dusting of icing sugar to serve.
  • Crêpes with fresh berries and yoghurt

    Makes 12

    100g (4oz) plain flour

    2 large eggs

    300ml (½ pint) milk, plus a little extra if necessary

    1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for cooking

    Fresh berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and halved strawberries

    To serve:

    Thick Greek yoghurt


  • 1 Put the flour, eggs, milk and sunflower oil in a bowl and whisk to a smooth batter. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes if time allows, but up to two days is fine, covered with cling film in the fridge – just give it a good stir before using, and if you find it has thickened up a little, then loosen it with a splash of milk. But if you’re in a hurry, you can cook the crêpes straight away.
  • 2 Place a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and wipe it with some oiled kitchen paper. Once hot, ladle in a thin layer of batter and cook for 1 minute, until golden. Once the crêpe is cooked underneath, give it a little shake and it should move easily.
  • 3 Tip the crêpe to the edge of the frying pan and three, two, one, flip! Remember, practice makes perfect – it’s about having a confident flick of the wrist (the same action as you would use when making a stir-fry in a wok).
  • 4 Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, keeping the crêpes warm in a low oven as you go. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  • 5 If you’d prefer to make the crêpes in advance, allow them to cool and then layer up between non-stick baking or greaseproof paper and wrap in cling film. They will keep happily for two days in the fridge, then reheat later in a low oven or in the microwave (they can also be frozen for up to two months).
  • 6 Fold each crêpe into quarters and arrange on plates with the berries and a good spoonful of the yoghurt, then drizzle over the honey to serve.