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March 2011 Recipes - (provided by Sarah Mellersh)

Crêpes Suzette

For the crêpes

  • 100 g plain flour
  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 large egg
  • 300 ml Whole Milk
  • 25 g butter, melted, plus extra for frying
  • 25 g caster sugar

For the sauce

  • Juice of 2 medium oranges, plus strips of orange zest, to garnish
  • 100 g butter
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Mix together the flour, sugar and orange zest in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and break in the egg. Beat the egg with a wooden spoon, gradually adding half the milk and drawing the flour into the centre as you mix. Once all the flour has been incorporated, beat the mixture for 2 minutes until smooth.

Stir in the remaining milk and the melted butter to make a smooth, shiny batter that coats the back of the wooden spoon. Pour into a jug.

Heat a knob of butter in a 20cm heavy-based frying pan or deep pancake pan until foaming. Pour in a little batter, tilting the pan to coat the base as thinly as possible. When the batter turns slightly darker and feels firm, flip it over with a large palette knife to cook the other side. Transfer the crêpe to a warm plate, cover with clingfilm or a large saucepan lid and continue with the remaining batter to make 8 crêpes.

To make the sauce, mix together the orange and lemon juice, lemon zest and liqueur in a bowl. Place 2-3 tablespoons of this mixture in the frying pan with the sugar. Heat gently over a low heat until the sugar has melted, then boil for 1-2 minutes until it turns a light toffee colour.

Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the pan, swirling over a low heat until the butter has melted. Stir the remaining citrus mixture into the pan and allow to bubble for 2-3 minutes until smooth and shiny.

Fold each crêpe into quarters and slide them into the pan, basting with the sauce. Heat through for 1 minute. Take them to the table, quickly pour over the brandy and carefully ignite with a long taper or match. When the flames have died down, serve the warm crêpes and sauce garnished with strips of orange zest and dusted with icing sugar.

Cook's tips

The crêpes can be made (to the end of paragraph 3 of the instructions) several hours ahead of serving. Stack them on a plate and cover with clingfilm. They can also be wrapped in foil when cool and frozen for up to 3 months. Simply continue from paragraph 4 to serve. Don't worry if the caramel becomes solid in the pan when the citrus sauce is added, as it will soften and dissolve as it cooks. Use a long taper or match to ignite the brandy, and stand well back until the flames die down. Rum or whisky can be used in place of brandy, if you prefer.

Apple Pancakes with Toffee Sauce

Makes approx 16

  • 50 g butter
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 175 ml buttermilk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 175 ml full-cream milk
  • 500 g Bramley apples
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Greek-style natural yogurt, to serve

For the toffee sauce

  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp double cream

Toffee sauce.

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a small saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until thick. Stir in the cream, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Clarify some butter by melting the butter in a pan. Remove from the heat and stand for a few minutes. Pour off the clear butter into a bowl and reserve. Discard the milky-white solids at the bottom of the pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the buttermilk, eggs and milk. Whisk until smooth and thick. Peel, core and coarsely grate the apples and measure out 300 g. Stir into the batter with the vanilla.

Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the base with a little of the clarified butter. Add 4 large spoonfuls of the batter, spaced well apart, and cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on top of the pancakes and they are golden brown underneath. Flip and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest.

Pile the pancakes on to warmed plates, top with a large spoonful of yogurt and drizzle with the toffee sauce. Serve immediately.

Tip: Apples discolour quickly when peeled, so drop the pieces into lightly acidulated water (water and lemon juice).

Dill and Lemon Blinis

Makes 20

  • 60 g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 1 heaped tsp of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, together. Make well in centre. Add egg and milk to well. Gradually draw in flour and mix to a smooth batter. Stir in herbs.

Brush a frying pan with oil. Working in batches, drop heaped teaspoons of mixture into the hot pan. Cook until bubbles appear and underside is golden, approx 3 mins. Flip over and cook for another 2. Brush pan between batches with oil.

To serve:

Top with either crème fraiche or cream cheese. Both of these can be flavoured to suit the topping. Hot smoked salmon is good folded into the cream cheese. Can then be finished off with a twist of smoked salmon, a little bit of caviar if feeling generous or a grinding of black pepper and a sprig of dill.

Drop Scones

Makes 24

  • 100g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 11/2level tsps cream of tartar
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 5floz milk

Sieve the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and sugar into a mixing bowl. Make a hollow in the centre of the flour mixture and crack in the egg.

Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the milk. Stir thoroughly from the centre of the bowl, gradually drawing in the flour from around the outer edges.

Place in a large, heavy, flat bottomed frying pan over a moderate heat to heat thoroughly. Rub over the surface with a piece of kitchen paper dipped in a little oil. Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on to the hot surface – only about three or four at a time, spaced apart.

When bubbles have risen to the surface and the underside is brown, loosen the underside with a spatula and turn them over. Cook for a minute or so on the second side, then remove from the pan and cool between folded clean tea cloth.

Rub the surface of the hot pan with the oiled paper again and continue to make the scones until all the batter is used up.

Serve with butter and jam.

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