American Pancakes

by Cookery Correspondent Fanny Sprocket

I carried the recipe in my wallet for years and made friends all over the world with this truly scrumptious treat. Make sure you buy real maple syrup though! And use any fruit you fancy.


•           2 teaspoons Baking Powder

•           2 Large Eggs

•           30g Melted Butter

•           300ml Milk

•           30g Sugar

•           225g Plain Flour


Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl.

Create a well in the centre with the back of your spoon then add the eggs,  melted butter and milk.

Stir together until smooth.

Heat frying pan and use butter or olive oil. You don’t cook these hot, medium is good. I use a ladle to pour into pan; you can make them any size. Cook the pancakes on one side for about 1-2 mins or until lots of tiny bubbles start to appear and pop on the surface. Flip the pancakes over and cook for a further minute on the other side.


I like Maple Syrup and bananas but you can use any fruit and even cook crispy bacon for a real USA breakfast. This amount will serve 4.


Beef Emperor

Beef Emperor

Chinese style home cooking favourite from the Sprocket household.


300gm Beef, I usually use rump

2 medium onions

A thumb size chunk of ginger cut in thin strips

As much garlic as you like

Any vegetables you have and/or, you can use one packet of Waitrose “Water Chestnut and Bamboo Stir Fry” which makes it super Chinese.


Dice onions into strips

Fry initially high temperature until sizzling

Add ginger

Allow to cook at a lower temperature

Cut meat into strips and add with garlic and pepper to taste. Turn heat up again and fry at high heat until brown.

Add vegetables, put lid on saucepan and turn heat down to a simmering low that won’t burn anything.

Leave for at least half an hour, maybe longer.

You will end up with vegetables gently steamed with water content there-from mixed with juices from meat and onions. Salt to taste.

Serve with rice or noodles. I always use Basmati rice.

Dish Philosophy

You can do this dish with any vegetables but they need to be chopped up Chinese style and if I don’t use the Waitrose veg I also add some fresh chopped chilli, but you will have to experiment coz chillis can be mild, hot and middling and it’s hard to know what you are buying so tread carefully! Also when cutting fresh chillis don’t rub your eyes – I have done this – bad idea….it burns! At the time of writing, the Waitrose “Water Chestnut and Bamboo Stir Fry” costs £1.60 and has just the right amount of chilli in it so no need to add chilli.

The Chinese think chilli should be eaten in the winter months because it is really good for the upper respiratory tract and lungs. Northern Chinese cuisine has lots of warm, thick broths with chilli.

And Soy Sauce is always good to have around for this.


2, 3 at a pinch using the “Water Chestnut and Bamboo Stir Fry”. If you chop up lots of veg you can make it go further. We often double everything up when friends come over.



Sugar Free Scones

Makes 5-6 large scones, 9-10 medium size


230g/8oz white spelt flour and brown spelt 50/50 (You can experiment to see what you like – some go 100% brown. I like 70 white/30 brown)

1 tablespoon or 2 dessert spoons baking powder (not heaped – kind of flat)

Cinnamon powder – as much as you like

40g/1.5oz butter

150ml/5floz milk (I use water) 

1 handfuls raisins or sultanas. I also use half a banana cut into small pieces sometimes and blueberries but they tend to be a bit messy.

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

Sift the flour into a large bowl (or just throw it in)

Add the baking powder and cinnamon and stir well

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs (it never looks like breadcumbs to me but just make sure butter is well mixed)

Add the raisins or sultanas and stir well (add more or less depending on how fruity you like your scones) (I often use banana and have tried blueberries and other fruit but always go back to sultanas and banana)

Pour in the milk or water and stir with a spoon until all the liquid is incorporated

Flour your hands and knead gently into a soft dough

Sprinkle a surface with flour and roll the dough out to about 2.5cm

Cut out with a 7-9cm pastry cutter (use larger or smaller or shapes for different size scones) (I use a glass)

Pick up the remaining dough and knead together to roll out again until all the dough is used

Place on a lightly greased/oiled baking tray

Bake for about 19 minutes (in a fan oven, you may need longer in regular oven) or until risen and golden brown

Place on a cooling rack 

Best eaten cut in half and spread with butter while still warm!


Courgette pea and mint soup

Fanny Sprocket’s Courgette, Pea and Mint Soup

I had this soup in a posh restaurant and loved it. I like it even more because it is so easy to prepare.

Serves: 4
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon butter
• 3 medium courgettes, grated
• 300g frozen garden peas
• 1.5L water or vegetable stock
• 10g fresh mint leaves
• 6 tablespoons crème fraîche

In a saucepan, soften the onion in butter. Add the grated courgettes and peas and stir to coat in the butter. Add the stock and bring to the boil until peas are tender. Add mint to the pan together with the crème fraîche. Heat through then blend with a hand held liquidiser. Salt and pepper to taste.


I don’t bother too much whether liquid is water or vegetable stock. It tastes great either way. Also if I don’t have crème fraîche or sour cream – who cares!


Mediterranean Cabbage Soup

Rachel’s Mediterranean Cabbage Soup

Eat Right With Rachel 

Hope you all keeping well in this lockdown times!

Here is a simple tasty soup that is very easy to make & smells wonderful !

Serves 3/4


1/2 white cabbage ( 20cm width approx )

1 medium white onion

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup tomato purée

1 can ( 400gr)chopped tomatoes

1 can/ cannelloni beans

1 tsp aniseed seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 bay leaf

*1tsp brown sugar (I always add to take the acidity of the tomatoes)

*Salt and pepper

*Lemon juice

*1.5 ltr Chicken or veg stock


Rinse the canned beans in a colander set aside.

Slice the cabbage into thin long stripes set aside

Chop the garlic to thin slices

Set aside


Chop the onions into small cubes and fry with olive oil in a deep

soup pot on low heat.

When softened but not browned add the bay leaf, cumin & aniseed seeds.

Stir until you smell the aroma-add the sliced garlic & fry further 20 seconds, add the cabbage, cover stirring at times until cabbage softened a little.

Add the tomato purée & stir until mixed well. Add the chopped tomatoes and gradually pour in the stock to the level of liquid you want.

I like the soup with less liquids. I measure the stock about 3cm approx above the cabbage.

Cover and simmer for 5 min on low heat. Add the can of beans, cover and simmer further 2/3 min.

Adjust seasonings salt pepper sugar & lemon juice as you like.

Serve hot on its own or with Brown bread. I like to serve this soup with side dishes like Humous & warm pitta.


Rachel’s Lasagnetta

Rachel’s Lasagnetta

Eat right with Rachel

Hi everyone!

I thought to share my unique Italian lasagnetta with you. Serve as a starter or main course. For vegetarian option don’t add bacon use veg stock.

Serves 2/3


3 large Leeks

4 streaky smoked bacon/ or pancetta

6 medium button mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

2 handful of fresh spinach leaves 

or 3 cubes of frozen spinach, defrosted

250gr Ricotta cheese

2 medium potato

Pinch of oregano

Black pepper & salt to taste

250ml of veg or chicken stock

6 sheets of lasagna

Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

To prepare the leeks I make a small length cut in the middle. Rrinse any mud from the green leaves and the top of the white stem.

Slice thinly approx 1/2 cm width, put aside.


In a large deep pan fry with a little olive oil the sliced mushrooms on high flame – when coloured set aside.

In the same pan add thinly sliced bacon (or pancetta) and cook slowly on lower heat until bacon is crispy brown. Put aside with the mushrooms keeping as much bacon fat in the pan as you can.

Add the sliced leeks to the bacon fat stir and cook slowly on low heat until leeks soften a little.

Add the mushrooms, bacon, chopped garlic, spinach leaves, 250gr ricotta cheese & oregano. Stir well. 

Add  the warm stock slowly as needed until the mixture becomes creamy but not too watery! 

When done turn off the gas.

Adjust seasoning. Salt pepper.

Turn oven on gas mark 7

Slice the potatoes thinly approx 2mm thickness, put in a bowl with cold water to prevent from browning.

Put each lasagna sheet in warm water for few seconds to soften when layering.

Prepare lasagna oven dish  

I use bread loaf size baking dish but you can use smaller personal size dishes also.

Start layering with the leek mix first/ grated parmesan then lasagna sheet. Repeat the layers until you have used all 6 pasta sheets. Make sure the top layer is the leek mix.

Layer the cut potato thinly.

Drizzle 2/3 tbs of stock on the sliced potato, grate more parmesan or cheddar cheese – put on the potato.

Cover with tin foil & bake for 45 min gas mark 7 middle oven. when done uncover and put under grill for the cheese to brown.

Serve hot with the rocket and sun-dried tomato salad topped with balsamic vinegar and capers.

Bonapetito !


Creme of Mushroom Soup

Rachel’s Creme of Mushroom Soup

Eat Right With Rachel

This is the first recipe from guest blogger Rachel Kashi who specialises in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food; often quoted as being the healthiest in the world. Here’s Rachel:

“Hi my name is Rachel I grew up in the Mediterranean I just love the different cuisines: Algerian salads, Moroccan lemon chicken, to french Qoq au vin. Healthy eating is tasty eating! I love herbs and I use many spices. I hope my food will Inspire you to cook and try new dishes. My first dish today is heart-warming soup which will be great on a cold winter day for lunch or dinner.”


Two packs or 15 medium chestnut mushrooms white or brown

2 Shallots

3 medium potatoes

50ml Single cream or 1/2 cup of milk for less calories

4 ltr Chicken or veg stock

2 Garlic Cloves

1 Boiled Egg for each person

2 tbs All purpose flour

5 Allspice

2 Bay Leaves

1/2 Pinch fresh or dried Taragon

Salt and black pepper to taste

Fresh parsley to garnish


Slice mushrooms thinly keep aside

Slice potato into small cubes (1 square cm )and keep in cold water so not to brown. Slice shallots.

Put olive oil and one table spoon of butter to the deep soup pot

Fry shallots on low heat and cover with lid for half a minute. Add the cubed potatoes, chopped or sliced garlic,herbs & sliced mushrooms, toss and simmer on low heat until mushrooms cook a little 2 min or so.

Add the stock cover and cook for further 8-10 min until potato cubes done. Boil the eggs until hard keep in the warm water.

Add flour easiest is to put flour into a cup add cold water, mix until no lamps showing and pit into the soup stirring faster until flour dissolved. to thickness you like.

Half a cup of single cream or the milk stir add salt and pepper to tase

Serve hot

add the egg last to each bowl.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley

Cut large rustic bread of any kind


Serves 4

Preparation time: 15min

Cooking time: 15 min

Suitable for vegetarians

Serve with rustic bread


Fegato Alla Inglese

Fanny Sprocket’s English Style Italian Liver


  • 200gm liver of choice
  • 3 pork & bramley apple sausages. If regular sausages cut up half a small apple into small squares (the fruitiness really helps)
  • 5 medium to large onions
  • Splash of available wine


  • Dice onions into strips
  • Fry initially high temperature until sizzling then down to lowest possible temperature
  • Put a lid on and leave at least half an hour and even better one hour
  • Cut liver into bite size strips
  • Cut sausages into small chunks
  • Add flour if you want juice thicker
  • Empty pot of onions and then add liver and sausages
  • Fry high temperature for 2 minutes until done
  • Empty into same container as onions
  • Add splash or three of available wine to absorb residue from frying. Some scrapping may be necessary. If no wine carry on – it’s still good.
  • Put onions and meat back into pot and simmer for at least 10 minutes
  • Add flour if you want juice thicker
  • Salt, pepper and whatever else you fancy to taste

Dish Philosophy

This is a version of popular Italian dish: fegato alla veneziana which is often served with sauteed potatoes. The apple (you can try other fruits) balances the taste of the liver. I serve with mashed potato and lots of vegetables al dente. It works with just about everything though: rice, pasta, couscous, cold vegetables, salad, etc, etc.