If the children are getting excited about pancake day, this perfect batter recipe should help you out. Just add their favourite toppings, stick a pancake to the ceiling, drop a few on the floor for comedy value and you'll have a happy family!

This great pancake recipe comes from The River Cottage Family Cookbook and does the job well:


Plain flour, 250g
Pinch of salt
Free-range eggs, 2
Milk, 500ml, and then a little more
Sunflower oil for frying

(Hugh reckons you should keep a dedicated pancake pan that you never wash, just wipe out with kitchen roll when finished, but we haven't gone that far yet).


1. Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl. Make a crater in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into the crater.

2. Pour in half the milk and start to mix the eggs and milk with the balloon whisk, whisking in the flour from the edges a little at a time. Add the rest of the milk and keep on whisking until there are no more lumps of flour. Pour the batter into the jug. You may need to whisk in a little extra milk to get the right consistency - not quite as thick as single cream.

  3. Put the frying pan on the hob and switch on to not quite full heat. Add about a tablespoon of sunflower oil, swirl it round the pan and then pour the excess into the cup so that just a film of oil stays in the pan.

4. When the oil is hot but just before it smokes, pour a little of the batter into the pan. How much you pour really depends on the size of your pan but you need to leave plenty of room for the pancake to spread out (use a ladle if it helps you to judge the right amount of liquid each time). Immediately tilt and rotate the pan so that the batter runs across the base and doesn't sit in a big lump in the middle.

  5. As the pancake sets, loosen the edge of it with a palette knife. Shake the pan gently so that you know the pancake hasn't stuck (a bit of work with the knife if it has; the first one often does). Flip the pancake over with the knife and cook the other side for a few seconds - the second side is much quicker to cook.

6. Slide the pancake out of the pan and onto a warm plate. Cook the rest of the pancakes remembering to pour a little oil into the pan before each one, swirling it round the pan and draining it away into the cup as before.

Eat with sugar, lemon, maple syrup, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate - or whatever takes your fancy. Yum!