Pancake Day comes once a fortnight in House Dad Towers. The kids love to make them and it gives me a rest from cooking. And in my humble opinion, our tried and tested recipe can't be bettered.
All you need for 8 pancakes is:
100g plain flour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
A pinch of salt.
Then whisk everything together until you have a batter the consistency of single cream. Next, add a drop of oil to a pan over a high heat, then swirl round a lade-full of batter mixture, cook for 30-45 seconds, flip over with a palette knife (or, if you're feeling brave, toss), then serve. Easy peasy, with a little sugar and a lemon squeezy!
Like I say, can't be battered Once a fortnight, with grated cheese, torn ham and a few florets of steamed broccoli. Dinner: sorted!
But that's not what this post is about. For this Shrove Tuesday (March 4, in case you didn't know), I'm breaking away from the pancake norm with this porcine twist on the classic Chinese crispy duck recipe.
The cucumber batons are the same, the shredded spring onions, too. But the pancakes are the thin, rice variety you buy from big supermarkets or Oriental food shops (if you can't get hold of them, you could use tortilla wraps), and the 'duck' is replaced with slow-cooked pulled pork.
Makes enough filling for 10-14 small pancakes or 8 wraps
1 kg boneless pork shoulder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Teryaki sauce
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp Chinese 5-Spice powder
1-2 red chillies, de-seeded (optional)
You'll also need some string and a slow cooker or casserole pot with a tight-fitting lid.
1. Untie the string around the pork, lay the meat skin side-down on a chopping board and using a very sharp knife, make deep incisions into the meat to open it up like the pages of a book.
2. Add all the other ingredients to a pestle and mortar, and pound them into a rough, thick paste. Massage this paste deep into the flesh of the pork. Tie up with another piece of string.
3. Transfer the pork and the water mixtures into a slow cooker or a casserole dish with a lid. If using a slow cooker, cook on LOW for 5 hours until the meat is pull-apart tender. If using a casserole dish, cook in a very low oven (120C) for approx. 3 hours, but check after two hours to check the tenderness of the meat.
4. Once cooked, carefully remove the meat with a spatula or slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Cover and either keep warm in the oven, or put in the fridge. You can keep it in the fridge overnight and re-heat it the next day when you're ready to cook.
5. When ready, preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and wrap the pork in tin foil. Heat through in the oven for 15-20 mins. Transfer to a chopping board. Cut off the outer layer of fat and discard. Take two forks and pull the meat apart until it is shredded.
6. Serve with cucumber batons, shredded spring onions and a dollop of hoi sin sauce on pancakes.
Happy Shrove Tuesday!