Sharing my Gran’s recipe with you today. Why? Gran gained a Diploma in Baking back in the day. Pancakes (she could toss them high without them sticking to the ceiling) as well as her Sunday fruit cake, were the envy of all her family and friends.
Gran’s perfect pancakes: (If you’re making lots of pancakes, as I do, you might want to double the amount of flour and milk)
- 100g plain flour (4ozs ~ in old money)
- 2 eggs
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk (just over 1/2 pint)
- 1 tsp oil for frying. (Gran used solid white lard)
- pinch salt
- Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle. Pour in about 50ml milk. Start whisking/stirring from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, and milk. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
- Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. (Yes, I get lumps too…it doesn’t matter).
- Heat the frying pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper, or add a drop of oil. The pan should be really HOT at this point. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. If you’ve added too much mixture, quickly pour any excess batter into a jug, return the pan to the heat, then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. Pour the excess batter from the jug back into the mixing bowl. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to turn.
- Hold the pan handle, ease a palette knife under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against the base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 secs before turning out onto a warm plate (or FLIP into the air, if you’re brave enough). Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.
I’ll post photos of my pancakes on the day, so pop back. Better still, follow my website/blog and you’ll receive updates as they occur. I’m looking forward to hearing about your pancake experience.
February 13th, teatime at ours, and, I’m back in the room. A few photos of my pancakes 🥞 as previously promised. I doubled the flour and milk: we all love Granny’s pancakes! I made 8 pancakes 🥞 but I’m no good at ‘tossing’ them 😂 And by golly they tasted fantastical.
How did your pancakes turn out? I’d love to hear from you.
On a cold, not-so-sunny, winter’s morning, few sights lift my spirits quite as much as a robin hopping across the garden showing off its beautiful red breast.
Now and then it’ll fly up to a post and sing its delightful song, cheering me even more. I’m a sufferer of SAD (winter depression) so when creatures great and small visit my garden they always manage to bring about a warm smile to my face, and lift those winter blues and feelings of doom and gloom. I will quickly add, I’ve been taking a regular small daily dose of Vitamin D since March: (a) I didn’t get my usual October heavy cold and cough (b) winter depression didn’t kick in during October as it usually does, but, was delayed until December. In my opinion, this supplement has certainly helped me a lot.
Robins look to us for sustenance during cold spells, as their natural food of earthworms and other invertebrates can be hard to find. We feed birds all year round making sure the wild birdseed hanging containers are always topped up. Ours are squirrel-proof! Sorry if you’re a squirrel lover!
Most gardeners will agree, robins have struck up an extraordinary relationship with humans and will boldly perch on a bucket edge or spade handle ready to pick up worms that have been unearthed. They have such pretty eyes. These little birds are fearsome fighters with glorious voices and which, all too often, have a sadly short lifespan. They readily chase off blackbirds, sparrows, and tantalise my 2 cocker spaniels by hopping along the six foot tall wooden fence ~ chase me, why don’t you! My dogs love the banter too.
Our love of robins and habit of feeding them in our gardens goes back a rather long way according to legend.
Back in the sixth century, Saint Serf of Fife (most famous for slaying a dragon terrorising people near Loch Lomond) was apparently the first person to start feeding them.. His friends were so jealous they killed the bird, but fortunately it was brought back to life. I love a good ending, don’t you?
Stories about feeding robins are common because they are legendary for their tameness, and one of the few wild birds that will take food from the hand. I remember way back to when I was only about five or six years old, and my dad telling me to hold out my hand keeping my palm facing upward and flat. He would then place a few wriggly mealworms onto my hand. Well, as a little girl who loved to play in the dirt and have a strange fascination for huge long fat worms, that wasn’t a problem at all. I still rescue worms in the garden when they stray onto the patio. Yep, I pick them up by my fingers just as I did as a child and carefully put them back onto the garden. Some things never change. Teaching children to be kind to animals as well as creatures great and small was instilled into me at a very young age. My older brother would often rescue a frozen blackbird and bring it into the warm kitchen. Mother would make it a bed of straw or newspaper inside a cardboard box. Then, using a small glass dropper that she normally kept for putting olive oil into our ears to soften ear wax, she carefully applied a single drop of my dad’s best Christmas brandy onto its frozen beak. In no time at all, it’s eyes would open. Lastly, it’s wings would begin to thaw. I would always watch from afar: the bird would then hop round the warm kitchen delighted to be still alive. Only when it had thawed out fully would it be allowed back outside. The following day, we would do the same rescue for a frozen thrush or blackbird. I was five, and my brother would have been about eight at the time.
In the Twenties, former Foreign Secretary Edward Grey taught a robin to take food from his hand. He wrote about it in a best-seller, The Charm of Birds.
Recently, naturalist Hugh Warwick hand-tamed a robin in a few days. After a while, the bird would even come inside his home to beg for food, making him wonder who was in charge in their relationship. I could never do that…my eldest cocker spaniel is a bird fancier for all the wrong reasons!
We English love our robins. Two years ago it won a BBC television Springwatch poll to choose the UK’s national bird.
Robins used to nest in our evergreen holly bush, back in the fifties when I was a small child.
Another reason we connect robins with Christmas is that the early postmen wore red uniforms, and so were nicknamed ‘robins’. Anyone old enough to remember that? And, as the cards pop through your letter box over the coming days, note how many feature a robin! There are more than 300 different species in the family of birds known as old-world flycatchers and chats, including the redstart and the nightingale.
Like its cousin, the nightingale, robins often sing at night – especially in cities, where permanently lit street lamps fool them into thinking the sun is about to rise.
I see robins everywhere: especially in my beautiful Devon garden.
Buy my books on Amazon (and major online bookshops) Click the cover
I’m ready. Are you? Ready for some homemade mince pies!
Shopping’s done. Freezer’s topped up. Christmas cards are in the post. Grandchildren’s prezzies are wrapped.
A couple of Christmassy pictures🎄
For those of you who are still searching for that special #ChristmasBook for the kids stocking… here’s one I wrote earlier ⛄️🎄⛄️📚
“The Christmas Circus” is Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’s third seafaring adventure set in pretty #Brixham Bay. Buy the book: The Christmas Circus
Merry Christmas everyone.
Sunny walk in #Brixham Bay with my 2 cocker spaniels, Lucy and Rosie. There’s a winter chill in the air. We’ve enjoyed a crisp hour long walk and amazing sea views. Photos by moi 💕
Great blog by Jessie Cahalin…
Introducing the engaging, children’s writer, Caz Greenham and her collection of seafaring adventures. Who doesn’t love Eric Seagull? Dear readers, I’m delighted to present an extract from my third children’s book in “The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’” 3-book-series. ‘The Christmas Circus’. The extract below is taken from one of the many short chapters, making…
I write a lot inside my head while out walking my 2 cocker spaniels, Lucy and Rosie. I don’t plan out whole chapters, but, I do hear complete conversations between my characters. It’s no wonder I smile a lot when I’m walking near my home in South Devon.
By the time I get home, prepared a light lunch and feed the dogs, I quickly get those thoughts down on paper, before they fizzle out of my brain: scribbled on one of my many notepads ready to add to my ms later. Mind you, once I boot up the Applemac computer, the ideas and notions that buzzed around inside my head while walking the dogs usually flood back with no effort at all.
My books are set in Brixham where I live, which mean I do my research into place names etc. I often get through a thousand words or more a day.
One of the views from my office window
So where is this place I’m inspired to write the next best seller? Brixham o’course. (photos by me)
Our sunny terrace
Our garden has many visitors of the feathery kind. Sparrows, wood pigeons, the occasional robin, blackbirds. Living near the sea, it’s inevitable to see the occasional seagull or three. Often on next-door’s flat roof. They wouldn’t get away with perching on ours…the dogs wouldn’t allow that! Oh no! I love flowers, don’t you?
A few shots of my ‘borders’ below. Taken by moi!
I love living in Torbay. Only a short stroll and I’ve got the most amazing sea views. (Husband in the red shorts, by the way)
At precisely 8pm each evening we can hear the church bells ringing out at St. All Saints Church, about half-a-mile away. The poem (put to music) ‘Abide With Me’ ~ there’s so much history here in Brixham.
Of course I had a huge amount of inspiration for my three books “The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’” (click the link for more about my books) right here in Brixham Bay. Most seagulls here are called Eric! I wonder why?
Click the cover to buy my books! You know you want to…
I’m currently writing book 4. It’s not an Eric Seagull book, but I can tell you it’s for children from 9 – 14, also set here in Brixham Bay.
When I’m taking a break from writing, I go with my husband or family to one of our favourite restaurants overlooking the sea. I love eating out. No cooking!
My dogs Lucy and Rosie are never far from my side. They sleep in a big armchair a step or two from my (quite posh) leather swivel chair and minty green glass desk. Yes, I do like comfort when I’m writing, don’t I? And why not! When I take a photo, I’ll add it here. So drop back here for a look!
When I was at school, yonks ago, ‘she loves to daydream’ were the usual comments written at the bottom of my school report. And to that, I say, ‘well, hasn’t that daydreaming come in handy, Teacher?’ I still enjoy daydreaming. How else would I have managed to write 3 books? Nuff said.
I do, however, get a lot of writing done: my husband brings me tea and biscuits and peeps over my shoulder making sure that I’m actually writing, and not wasting time on twitter or facebook…
Isn’t he stunning? I’ve named this garden visitor Vic. Well, I say visitor loosely. ‘Vic’ lives in the middle border of my garden enjoying the best coverage with ‘Creeping Jenny” an evergreen ground covering plant. He shares his home with frogs 🐸 big and small. Readers: Does anyone know if Vic is a toad or frog. I think toad. He doesn’t leap or hop. He struts! And boy oh boy can he strut his stuff!
I’ve adored frogs ever since I was a child. Our family garden was ‘alive’ with newts, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, enormous 🦉 owls: the owls lived at the bottom of the garden and would fly in for the bacon 🥓 rind my mum hung in the trellis outside the kitchen window. We kids would wait in the kitchen, lights off, and in he would swoop! Beautiful creature.
🐭 Mice! Now that’s a different matter. I’m scared of the little blighters. And that’s the very reason I created 🐭 Mouse Herbie. He appears in all my books. You can see more about my books here:
The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ 3-book-series, set in beautiful Brixham Bay! Click the cover for more detail.
Thanks for dropping by today.
I read somewhere that there’s a story behind the photo. And so it goes… Harper Collins UK made this postbox so that those who work in the building could post kind notes to each other: to coincide with publication of that little book on kindness. A lovely idea, don’t you think?