Tuesday 24 July 2012

Herb Pancakes with Spinach & Tomato Filling


Now is usually the time of year when everything in my vegetable plot looks at it's best but not this year!  Sweetcorn plants are at least two months behind and unlikely to form cobs by the autumn. Even rocket which usually grows like a weed has been struggling to survive the cool, damp, cloudy days which have plagued us this year. 

As well as potatoes which have loved all the rain,  climbing french beans are thriving in the greenhouse.  But, as usual, one of the most reliable crops outside is swiss chard and it shows little sign of slowing down.

This has always been one of my favourite recipes to use up a glut of chard and spinach works just as well.  The pancakes are free from eggs and dairy and contain ground fenugreek and fresh basil but you can use any herbs you like.  Do give fenugreek a try though. It really adds something special to this dish.

For the pancakes
110g plain flour
25g semolina
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
300 ml unsweetened soya milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil (+ extra for frying)
small bunch chopped basil leaves

For the filling

250 - 300g chard or spinach 
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 pieces drained sun-dried tomatoes (optional)


First, make the pancake batter by placing the flour, semolina, baking powder, fenugreek and some salt and pepper in a bowl.

Whisk in the milk a little at a time until you have a smooth batter, then add the chopped basil and sunflower oil.

Transfer the pancake batter to a jug and leave in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.

Wash the chard or spinach, removing any thick stalks from the chard leaves. Lift the wet leaves into a large pan, add some salt and place over a medium heat. There's no need to add any extra water.

As the chard/spinach start to wilt and soften, use a pair of kitchen scissors to chop up and stir the leaves round so they cook evenly. 

Spinach only takes two or three minutes to cook whilst chard takes a little longer.

Drain through a metal sieve over the sink and press out any excess liquid using the back of a tablespoon.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and saute in a little olive oil in a wide based pan for about 3 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a few more minutes until cooked but not brown.

Stir in the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Chop up the sun-dried tomatoes, if using, and stir in.  Then add the cooked spinach/chard and season to taste.

When you're ready, make the pancakes.  Give the pancake mix a stir, then heat a little sunflower oil or trex in a pancake pan or shallow non-stick frying pan.

When the pan is really hot, pour in about a quarter of the pancake mixture and immediately tip the pan from side to side until the mixture thinly coats the surface.

Cook on both sides until golden brown. 

Turn out on to a warm plate and top with a generous spoonful of the spinach and tomato filling.

Roll it up and serve straightaway.
It makes a great lunch dish on it's own or serve with vegetables for dinner.

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