Chef keeps it simple for the perfect pancake

Bicester Advertiser: Paul Bellchambers with his finished pancake Paul Bellchambers with his finished pancake

FLIP them if you’ve got an audience, but be prepared to get egg on your face.

That’s the advice of chef Paul Bellchambers to anyone looking to wow Shrove Tuesday dinner guests.

Mr Bellchambers, who runs catering business The Late Chef and organises the Wallingford Food Festival, has revealed his secret for cooking the perfect pancake.

“For me it is all about keeping it simple,” said the 55-year-old, who lives in Moulsford, near Wallingford, with partner Carolyn.

“Your recipe doesn’t have to be awfully complicated, just make sure you have good, fresh eggs, fresh milk, and don’t worry too much about the flour.

“The secret to flipping is always be prepared to sacrifice your first one – you will invariably put it in when the pan isn’t hot enough.”

Mr Bellchambers also advises using a lighter oil, such as sunflower or groundnut, for the best results.

“Don’t try to pour your mixture from the jug,” he said. “Instead, use a ladle, half fill it, and spread the mixture around the pan.

“Leave it for a minute-and-a-half or until it starts to smoke just gently.”

And when it comes to tossing the pancakes, the chef says he would rather impress his guests with his flavours than his flair.

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  • Start with fresh eggs and flour

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  • Mix in the milk

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  • Ladle in some of the mixture

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  • Turn gently

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  • Serve with lemon and sugar - ENJOY

Pancakes have traditionally been cooked on Shrove Tuesday before people fasted for Lent.

Chloe Horner, 36, owner of the Oxfork cafe in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, said: “We make pancakes every day, so our method is tried and tested. We always have things like bacon and halloumi, but on Pancake Day we do American-style stacks with banana and chocolate, strawberries, and lemon and sugar.”

Catering firm Elegant Cuisine, which runs the Farmhouse and Lakeview restaurants at Millets Farm Centre, Frilford, is also embracing the day.

Manager Michael Ashton said: “I always cook pancakes all day to order.

“It’s a bit different and a bit of fun. We always sell a lot of them every year, even people who come in not thinking they will have one, end up getting one.”

Mr Ashton said he is selling one special offering this year – a cherry pie pancake, served with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

He said: “We had a competition on our website where people suggested their favourite pancake filling.

“I chose this one as the winner because it seemed like it would taste really good. The woman who suggested it is hopefully going to come in and have one.”

Not everyone is participating in the Pancake Day festivities.

Max Mason, owner of Oxford’s sausage and mash diner The Big Bang, said: “We’re going to put the batter to its best use. Throw the pancakes out of the window and make Toad in the Hole instead.”

Paul's five favourite fillings 

  • The classic – freshly-squeezed lemon and caster sugar
  • Freshly-squeezed orange juice and a little Grand Marnier
  • Apple compote with a little Calvados s Chicken, mushroom and ham in a little white wine and tarragon
  • The vegetarian – make a ratatouille with tomatoes, aubergines, onion and courgettes, chopped finely. Cook in a little white wine and tomato puree, then spoon it into the pancake as it cooks.

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