Autumnal hot chocolate

Last night we got back from the fireworks display at Warwick Racecourse, and Damyanti suggested making some hot chocolate, having found a recipe in ‘delicious’ magazine which included double cream, vanilla paste and Frangelico liqueur – none of which we had, and the last of which we’d never heard of. Frangelico turned out to be a hazelnut liqueur.

So I improvised and came up with this alternative (amounts for one mug):

  • Hot milk
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Nutella
  • 1 shot brandy (depending on how you like it – just under a shot and I’d say you won’t get the brandy flavour, but you will know there is alcohol in it)

Adding the Nutella seemed to help mellow out the brandy, and make the drink just the thing for a chilly autumn night.

Sour cream pancakes

We love to have American style pancakes as a weekend breakfast treat. Until recently my favourite recipe was one I found on (no longer operational) Google Knol by Scott Jenson – luckily the recipe is preserved in several places online, including this site called Tastebook.

Because we don’t always have buttermilk in the house I’d occasionally played around with alternatives, and had a bit of success mixing yoghurt and milk – but I found if I got the proportions wrong in this mix, the flavour was a bit off. Then one day I had some left over sour cream, and used that, mixed with milk, in place of buttermilk. The result was the tastiest and fluffiest pancakes I’ve made:

Wet ingredients

  • About 100ml sour cream mixed with 200ml milk. The amounts are quite rough here, because I tend to use whatever sour cream I’ve got, and top up with milk (and rarely note exact measurements). I try to be a bit conservative with the milk – you can always thin the batter with some more milk later.
  • 1 egg
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1-2 tsps vanilla extract

Dry ingredients

  • 125g strong white flour
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix the wets and drys separately, then mix them together and let them rest for few minutes for the raising agents to start working. The resulting batter should be a bit lumpy. How thick you make the batter is up to you – if you make it on the thicker side you’ll get thicker pancakes that will need to cook a little slower to cook all the way through in the pan.