This year, St Valentine’s Day and Shrove Tuesday are only two days apart so I have made this a pancake-themed week. There is sweet and savoury and each are delicious any time of the day, or for a breakfast in bed if you are lucky enough.

I like the combination of the sweet fruits and mango and banana go well together. Or you might like to try blueberries or strawberries. A little bit of lemon zest or vanilla added is gorgeous. Use some good Irish honey, or you could try maple syrup, and serve with creme fraîche or yoghurt. Every child loves to flip pancakes and with a little supervision it is great fun.

Smoked salmon is delicious in a crêpe. These will be thinner than the pancakes as there is no raising agent. I visited the Burren Smokehouse for Seafood Trails which was shown recently. They are lovely people who make a great product. We got some nice feedback and thank you for that. These would also be great with Goatsbridge Smoked Trout. Sometimes instead of fish I use some Brady Family Ham and Drinagh Cheddar Cheese which is a very tasty combination.

You can make the batter up to two days ahead and keep in the fridge. And remember for pancakes and crêpes don’t expect to get the first one right. I rarely do.

Happy cooking,


Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals is out now, published by Gill


Fluffy pancakes with mango and banana sauté

Fluffy pancakes with mango and banana sauté. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

Serves four

For the pancakes:

150g (5oz) self-raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder

tiny pinch of sea salt

1 large egg

250ml (9fl oz) buttermilk

a little sunflower oil, for frying

natural yoghurt, to serve

For the mango and banana sauté:

25g (1oz) butter

1 large, firm, ripe mango, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large bananas, peeled and thickly sliced on the diagonal

1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

juice of 1 lime

  • 1 Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Make a slight dip in the middle and crack in the egg, then add the buttermilk and mix until smooth with a fork or small balloon whisk.
  • 2 Put a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little sunflower oil, removing any excess with kitchen paper. Spoon 3 tbsp of the batter into the heated pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, until little bubbles rise up to the top.
  • 3 Using a spatula, carefully flip over and cook for another minute or so, until golden on both sides.
  • 4 When the pancakes are done, transfer them to a plate and cover with foil to keep them warm. Wipe the pan with kitchen paper and add a little more sunflower oil. Continue to make pancakes with the rest of the batter.
  • 5 You should make about 12 pancakes. Once all of the pancakes have been made, wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper and add the butter. Once the butter is melted and sizzling, tip in the mango and bananas, tossing to coat. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until heated through and just beginning to caramelise. Drizzle over the maple syrup or honey and lime juice and continue tossing until evenly coated. Arrange three pancakes on each serving plate. Add a spoonful of yoghurt to each one and spoon over the mango and banana sauté to serve.
  • Smoked salmon and watercress crêpes

    Serves four

    For the crêpes:

    100g (4oz) plain flour

    2 eggs

    300ml (½ pint) semi-skimmed milk

    1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying

    1 tbsp snipped fresh chives

    finely grated rind of 1 lemon

    a pinch of salt

    To serve:

    200g (7oz) smoked salmon slices

    150g (5oz) crème fraîche

    100g (4oz) watercress, well picked over

    lemon wedges, to serve

  • 1 To make the crêpes, sift the flour into a large bowl with a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the middle, then pour in about 4tbsp of milk and 1 tbsp of oil.
  • 2 Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. Once all the flour has been incorporated, beat vigorously until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it’s too stiff to beat. Gradually pour in the rest of the milk and add the chives and lemon rind, then whisk to loosen the thick batter – you should end up with a batter the consistency of single cream, so you may not need all of the milk.
  • 3 Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin, even layer. Quickly pour any excess batter back into the bowl. If the temperature is right, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 seconds. Flip it over and cook for another 30 seconds. Continue with the rest of the batter, folding the crêpes into quarters and covering with foil to keep them warm. Repeat until all the batter has been used – it should make eight crêpes in total.
  • 4 Place the plate of crêpes on the table with a separate plate of the smoked salmon, bowls of crème fraîche and watercress and a little dish of lemon wedges. Allow everyone to help themselves while the crêpes are still warm.