Dill and buttermilk pancakes

I’m not really one for pancakes at breakfast or brunch time.

This is largely because they generally come with a huge amount of sweet things. Don’t get me wrong, I like the odd blueberry or raspberry with my muesli, or ladle of rhubarb compote with my yoghurt and granola. I just find the lashings of syrup that almost invariably come with fluffy pancakes to be one step too far towards a massive sugar low 45 minutes later.

It’s also because I feel they’re just a bit too much effort for that time of day.

But that latter feeling is incorrect. On the rare occasion I make American style pancakes, I’m reminded that it really does just take a minute and a very relaxed stir or two to sort the batter, and maybe just two or three more ticks to cook to golden and puffing perfection.

The former sticking point is (obviously) evaded by pushing the savoury route. Add a good pinch of salt to the batter and herb them up too.

Take, for example, these dill and buttermilk hobbies (the buttermilk adds a pleasing touch of acidity, but is mainly involved because it sets of the baking powder and ensures a great rise).

Place some decent smoked salmon on the side. Maybe a courgette, dill and pink peppercorn salad too, if you can be bothered. Definitely a spoon of creme fraiche or yoghurt. Plus a wedge of lemon too.

Lovely stuff. And no diabetes.

Dill and buttermilk pancakes, courgette and pink peppercorn salad

For 4 (makes 8 pancakes)

For the pancakes

  • 125g plain flour
  • 6g baking powder (1 heaped teaspoon)
  • 1g sea salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 5g caster sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • 250g buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 20g finely chopped dill (3 tablespoons)

For the courgette salad

  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 2g dill fronds (from approx 2 stems)
  • 1g pink peppercorns (2 teaspoons)
  • Juice from ¼ lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Make (but don’t dress) the salad first as the pancakes are best when the batter is very fresh.

Take a potato peeler to peel ribbons from the courgettes. Work round the courgette as if it had four sides. Take 3-4 ribbons on each side – until you see the seeds.

Use the back of a knife to crack and flatten the peppercorns. Add, with the dill fronds, into the courgette ribbons. Just before you eat, toss with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil, ensuring all the ribbons are coated.

To make the pancakes, put the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Create well in the centre, and pour the egg (already whisked) and buttermilk into the middle. Mix all that together with a large spoon. Don’t overwork it – or you’ll create stronger gluten bonds and the pancakes will be heavier. This all takes just a minute or two, when you’ll be left with a thick wallpaper paste consistency.

Heat a large non stick frying pan, add butter and let it start to froth. Plop four small ladles worth of batter in the pan, and let the pancakes cook for a couple of minutes. Push the sides in with a spoon or small palette knife – to ensure the pancakes are relatively round.

When bubbles start appearing at the top and stay flip the pancakes over and cook for 30 seconds to one minute more.

You can keep this first batch warm in a 100C oven for 5 minutes whilst you cook a second batch of four.

Serve with the courgette salad, salmon, lemon and crème fraiche.