Hallelujah! It's pancake day again. I've been craving pancakes since I realised Shrove Tuesday was upon us again... yesterday.
I raced home this evening, dreaming of all the guilt-free Nutella I could eat, with bananas all chopped and folded up in a gloriously stodgy yet fluffy pancake. During dinner we had a small incident with some questionable pasta sauce, but I didn't let that deter me. After I'd tidied away I set about making pancakes, using the three vital ingredients that every cupboard has: an egg, plain flour, and milk.
I take pride in the fact that I do not require a recipe for a batter mix - it's all about getting the right consistency. If it's too thick, you add more milk; too sloppy: more flour. So I popped my penultimate Clarence Court Burford Brown egg into a pyrex jug, and started pouring out the flour. There were a lot of large crumb-like objects in the packet which I assumed were just larger clumps of flour, and among the noise of the butter sizzling in the pan and the extractor fan, I said to my boyfriend 'I didn't know flour had a best before date?' after seeing that the packet in my hand read '2012'. Then, after giving the nearly-empty bag a good shake and more 'crumbs' falling out into a heap on top of my beautiful (and expensive) egg, I looked down and realised that the flour was spotty... and had weird seeds in. All this was done with a narrative to my boyfriend, until I suddenly realised that these 'seeds' were grey and wriggling. In an instant, I shoved the jug into the sink and ran into the bathroom in terror to wash my hands and make sure I hadn't accidentally inhaled a whateverthatwas or had one crawling up my arm.
By the time I returned (in washing up gloves and outdoor boots) the boyfriend had disposed of the flour and egg contents, so I spent the subsequent half hour emptying out our food cupboard and binning anything in open packets or that we hadn't used in months (lentils, pearl barley, paella rice). I also interrogated the boyfriend who insisted that the rice, icing sugar, raisins and dry pasta would be safe as weevils (what a disgusting word) don't like dry or sweet stuff and they don't have the amino acids that flour has. I then phoned my Dad for secondary guidance who advised that if I got the pan hot enough I wouldn't have to worry about weevils - they'd provide extra protein, followed by a call to my mother for some sympathy - who suggested SIEVING out the weevils. Sometimes I think I'm adopted.
So back to square one, feeling traumatised and seriously considering living a gluten free lifestyle thanks to the flour fiasco. After deciding that I really did want pancakes and that it was worth using up the last posh egg, I dug out a Kilner jar of flour - probably even older but with a trusty seal to deter any creepy crawlies - and started again. Making the batter went smoothly this time, sans hiccups, and it was all starting to look quite promising... until I set fire to the kitchen.
I added some mixture to the hot, buttery pan and swirled the mix around. The first pancake came out quite thin and crispy, so I added a bit more mixture on the second go. As I was twirling the pan around - very gently - half the pancake suddenly stuck to the pan so I gave it a small nudge and before I knew it, the other half had slopped right over the pan and across the entire hob, like pancake vomit. I let out a short scream, prompting the boyfriend to check from the safe distance of the sofa if I was alright. So far, things were still under control if a little messy, so I replied 'no, no.. It's fine' whilst scraping the batter mix off with the spatula. Then suddenly, the melted butter used to grease the pan - which had also slopped onto the hob - set on fire in such a comical way, and all I could do was scream a bit louder and stand there waving an empty frying pan madly at the hob as the flames quivered on the glass hob - leaving me utterly speechless, and remembering something about using a damp cloth to put it out. Thank goodness the boyfriend had sense to take on board the seriousness of me becoming speechless with stifled yelps and rushed over in time to guide the pan directly onto the flames to put it out.
The pancake mixture lay in a horrible splatter across the stove and there was now a giant burnt crust forming on the stove and bottom of the pan. If you had been there at that moment, you would not have believed that on a 'good' day, I am quite the talented chef. The remains looked like a pancake slaughter session or the aftermath of a food fight, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I ended up doing both. At the same time.
It took the boyfriend a while before he could see the funny side... He was more bothered about the glass stove, our security deposit, and scraping off the gloopy mess from the hob, whilst I was sad about wasting my last two Clarence Court eggs. We opened the kitchen windows for the first time in months to rid the room of the billowing clouds of smoke that would invariably set the fire alarm off (fortunately we were relieved of that calamity), and attempted to scrape the burnt batter off the hob ring which arguably made the damage look even worse. Boyfriend then got annoyed because I'd promised to cut his hair that evening and pancakes had taken priority (duh), and if I couldn't cook a simple pancake without setting the house on fire, why would he let me go near his head with a pair of scissors? (Like cooking, I am extremely skilled in the art of men's hair cutting... just not this evening it seems.)
Suffice it to say, there was no hair cutting this evening... And I ended up skipping the lonely cold and crispy pancake and having a banana with Nutella instead, feeling like I had the opposite of the Midas touch. I am also mentally scarred at the idea of any form of cooking now, thanks to the culinary catastrophes I experienced in the space of two hours, leading me to believe that maybe I should have given up and gone to bed after the pasta sauce debacle. There is a lesson to be learned here about flour, the importance of Kilner jars, and the dangers of making pancakes.
the crazy happenings in my life