Tag Archives: kale

Recipe: Kale, Asparagus and parma ham pancakes

I’ve realised I’ve a tendency to post recipes after the event which probably isn’t that helpful. So festive treats after Christmas and Valentine’s Day three days late. In keeping with that trend, here’s what I made on Shrove Tuesday. Which is known as Pancake Day in the UK so guess what we ate?

My niece and nephew came over at lunchtime as it’s half term and we decided to make big fat fluffy American style pancakes, drowned in maple syrup. Because they’re 10 and 5, a plain pancake wasn’t nearly good enough so they attacked my cupboard of weird things I’ve used to decorate cakes with in the past and decided that we should make half with neon sugar and the other half with chocolate chips. What they hadn’t realised is a) mixing neon sugar into the mix would make the pancakes a gorgeous sludgy green colour and b) the chocolate chips were 70% cocoa solids. So they put neon sugar on top of their maple syrup to make them look pretty and my nephew left half of his chocolate chip pancake because even with syrup, the taste of the chocolate was not nearly fun enough. You live n learn, eh? It’s OK, I took them to Shaketastic the next day for brightly coloured milkshakes so all is forgiven.

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After that much fat pancake-ness at lunch, I decided that it made much more sense to be a little bit more sophisticated for dinner with the wino. My adult pancakes (which sounds decidedly filthy) recipe is below. Really quite delicious – and made far too much so we have stuffed pancakes (also wrong) in our freezer for another day.

 Parma Ham, Kale and Asparagus pancakes

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For the crepes (makes about 8 crepes)

  • 30g butter, melted and cooled a little
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 325ml milk

Whisk together the milk and the egg then pour it into a well in the flour. Stir till smooth, then add the butter. I then pour this back into the measuring jug as it’s easier to make the pancakes. Heat a nonstick frying pan (whatever size you’ve got), pour in a couple of tablespoons worth of batter and swirl the pan so you get thin layer across the bottom. Check the bottom to see when it’s cooked by lifting an edge with a palette knife then flip (or just turn them with the palette knife if you’re not feeling fancy). Once both sides are cooked (literally 30 seconds per side), remove and repeat till the batter is finished.

For the filling

White sauce

  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter over a medium heat then add the flour and cook through for 2 mins. Remove from the heat then add the milk, slowly, whisking all the while to ensure no lumps remain. Once you’ve added all the milk and it’s silky smooth (mine wasn’t) return to the heat and bring up to the boil, still stirring. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, till the sauce has thickened up. Turn off the heat, add the salt and pepper (don’t add too much though as the filling is quite salty) and leave to one side. At this point, preheat your oven to about 170C.

The filling

  • 300g kale, thick stalks removed and finely chopped
  • 6 asparagus spears (I should really start measuring asparagus by weight but this is so much easier), sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 x slices of Parma ham

Blanch the kale for a couple of minutes in boiling water to soften its flavour. I also blanched the asparagus – accidentally – but it helped cut down on the cooking time and didn’t ruin the flavour so feel free to follow my mistake. Drain and leave to one side. In a frying pan, heat a tsp of olive oil and add the garlic – don’t let it brown so add a pinch of salt to it.

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Add the vegetables and Parma ham and lightly fry it all together for 3-4 minutes. Once your vegetables are cooked, add them to the white sauce with 50g of blue cheese and stir it all together so you have a big unctuous mess of vegetables and sauce.

Now grease a baking tin well. Take one pancake and spoon a small amount (say 1.5 tbsp) of the filling onto it, not getting too close to the edges. Fold in the short edges then roll the pancake around the filling so you’ve got a neat package of pancake stuffed with vegetables. Repeat this process until all your filling is used up. This amount of filling was right for six of the pancakes. I also had some slices of Parma ham left over so put those into the pancakes too, under the filling.

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Arrange the stuffed rolled pancakes into the baking tin and sprinkle over 50g of parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes until the parmesan is golden and crispy.

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Remove from the pan and eat whilst hot with a green salad (which we didn’t have but I’d imagine it’ll help to cut through the white sauce and the earlier lardy pancakes we ate.)

If I do say so myself, they were delicious (although I probably could have cooked the pancakes a few seconds longer as they looked quite pale and I’d maybe reconsider the garlic as with the Stilton it was all quite a party in my mouth for days afterwards) and definitely something I’ll be making again for an easy midweek supper, even if it’s not pancake day. However, right now, I think I’m going to give up pancakes for Lent as I’ve definitely overindulged.

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Getting juiced

I’ve never been that good at being healthy. I’ve never found an exercise routine that keeps me motivated and I’ve never been good at eating in moderation. And I’ve got a sweet tooth that would have been delighted if Marie-Antoinette had told me to just eat cake. Bring. It. On.

Over the last four weeks, I’ve been on gardening leave. That’s another story that can only be told five months from now. Prior to that though, I’d think nothing of having a croissant at 9am or a large packet of Minstrels to myself in the afternoon after a gigantic baguette and a packet of cheesy Wotsits for lunch.

However, being on gardening leave has made me realise that my life is far too sedentary to maintain this sort of diet and that I really need to focus on what I’m putting into my body unless I want to buy a forklift truck to move me from sofa to fridge in the future.

I’ve just entered the last year of my 30s which has been a particularly indulgent decade and I’m keenly aware that if I don’t start making some changes now, getting older is not going to be a fun process – and after the year I’ve had, I’m desperate to bring the fun back.

Inspired by a green smoothie a friend made for me when I visited a few weeks ago, I’ve been spending the last few weeks getting healthily juiced. I haven’t completely cut out all the sugars and any Instagram followers will know that I’ve eaten a heck of a lot of cake recently (birthdays innit) but a daily juice or smoothie has helped me feel much more energised and able to take on the world.

Below are a few of my favourite recipes which are easy enough to replicate. I find it peculiar writing ‘recipes’ there as there’s no specific amounts of each – ‘a handful’ or ‘a few’ is about as detailed as it gets. To be honest, don’t really think any of these are particularly mind-blowing, they’re just good to try if you, like me, feel you need to stop eating crap and care about what’s going in to your body.

Pear, kiwi, plum and ginger juice. Recipe exactly as the name. Really simple but utterly delicious and if you do them in the juicer in an order, you end up with a pretty rainbow as per below. Admittedly, slightly sludgy in colour after you stir and pour.

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Cantaloupe melon, celery and ginger. 

I love celery, I like its weird alkaline flavour and slight tang. It’s the perfect foil to a melon that may or may not have been much too ripe because it had been forgotten about in the fruit bowl. Coupled with the ginger, it took away the sweetness and made for a much nicer drink. I used three sticks of celery for a whole melon but use to your own taste.

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Strawberry, banana, raspberry smoothie. 

This was my first smoothie, made from fruit that was about to go off with a dollop of yoghurt added for bulk. And it was possibly my favourite so far. I usually only like bananas as actual bananas (for example, I hate banoffee pie) but they work so well in smoothies and means you don’t have to add honey for sweetness.

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Today’s smoothie, that I’ve yet to make, will include kale, ginger and I’m not sure what else yet. I’m hoping to find inspiration from the gorgeous Leon smoothie recipe book that I got as a birthday present, but would love to hear what you shove in the blender of a morning!