So the shop is now open and my mother has decided to keep it as a greengrocer but with a twist. The twist being that she sold almost everything. By everything I mean tinned food, fresh bread to pickled walnuts – yes seriously and those old favourites, American tan tights and flannelette bed sheets!

Back to the love of bedding. Does this remind you of a certain program about a shopkeeper? We even had bargains of the week and the vicious till…

So, with a shop the size of a large living room on the corner of a street you had to be smart to get everything into the space. So the serving counter actually had a cupboard underneath that housed cakes and biscuits. To the left was a Lyons Maid ice cream fridge and in  the shop window was shelving to display the fruit. Behind us there was metal shelving from floor to ceiling the whole length of the shop for more fruit, vegetables and preserves etc. The space the other side of the counter next to the wall had shelves for the bread and 2 large chest freezer units. On the back wall beyond the freezers was more shelving for the tinned food and an open area which stored any orders customers wanted delivered. 

On a day to day basis any goods that customers ordered that they couldn’t carry home were put into boxes and empty vegetable bags the fruit and veg were delivered in so that they could be delivered later that day. These were stored on the floor at the back of the shop. When I look back we were pretty green as the only other things we used to pack the produce was old newspaper – for the potatoes carrots etc or paper bags. In those days everything was used and reused unlike the throw away culture of today. 

Even our delivery methods were green as we always had an errand boy on a bike with a basket on the front!! Supermarkets eat your heart out! This was however supplemented on a Saturday by me and my father doing a large delivery out the back of our old Toyota starlet estate with the boot open and me hanging out the back. Now we would be stopped by the police but in those days most shops used this method. Happy times.

As I have mentioned previously I was quite a fussy eater but along with my pickled onions and cucumber, fruit was also something I loved so consequently my mam’s fruit bill was always high. For some reason in her mind she thought that if she sold fruit and veg, I would start to dislike it?

Ooops, not going to happen again.

In fact it allowed me to indulge more and something always tastes nicer when it’s free. Poor mam there goes the profit out of the window. However, as we didn’t have chilled counters for the fruit we did end up with produce that couldn’t be sold because it was marked or had become too soft – mainly the seasonal fruit such as peaches and strawberries – victory tastes very sweet.

Sometimes there was so much left over that I would have to get inventive and make something. So this weeks recipe is for something that I would make and could be altered with whatever fruit you had. A big tip – this tastes at its best after a night out, so no questions ask, bank holiday, drinks and pancakes is the treat you really know you needed.

So this weeks recipe is a,

Pancake Surprise. 


Pancake mix

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
  • pinch salt
  • Other ingredients.
  • Vanilla Ice cream
  • Cream – squirty is best but normal whipped cream is fine.
  • Maple Syrup – this is my favourite but any sauce you like will do such as strawberry chocolate. – When I haven’t had a sauce in the house I have been known to melt jam and  add a little water to it and some lemon juice!! Also honey is fine to use 
  • Fruit of your choice 
  • Bowls.

Put 100g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the middle. Pour in about 50ml from the 300ml of semi-skimmed milk and 1 tbsp sunflower oil then start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. 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. Continue to add milk a little at a time and keep whisking until the thick batter becomes  loose. Then continue to pour in the rest of the milk using a steady stream whilst whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream.

Next you will need to heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Should produce a blue haze initially – the pan needs to be quite hot. When its ready ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Quickly pour any excess batter into the mixing bowl, return the pan to the heat.

Leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. 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. Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. 

  • Good tip – You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.
  • Now comes the fun bit. 
  • Take your fruit and cut it into manageable slices. Place some of the fruit in the pancake in a straight line doesn’t have to be perfect and as much as you think you would like to eat. When you’re happy, roll up the pancake and place on the side of your dish slightly curved around the edge. It should take up one half of the bowl. Repeat this process with another pancake. In the middle of the bowl add 1 or 2 scoops of Vanilla ice cream- again if vanilla is not your thing a flavour of your choice!
  • Add some fruit to the top of the ice cream followed by squirty cream piped diagonally across the whole length of the pancakes.Then drizzle with the maple syrup or a sauce of your choice and if you wish a srinkle of toasted nuts and another slice of fruit as decoration. Enjoy and like me watch the fat hit your thighs but what the hell we should have a treat from time to time. 
Posted by:eastcottsammy

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