Cost: less than £1, but mostly storecupboard ingredients – ideal Low-Ceilinged food because the restaurant dish that I wanted to copy is around £10, but this is both quick and easy to make.
The sweet-salty combination that works so well in popcorn, pulled pork and salted caramel anything is wonderful here. It feels indulgent, but isn’t as calorific as it sounds – by using whole grains and low-fat yoghurt, the pancake batter is still very light but with an extra flavour dimension, and the addition of bananas, which soften into a fragrant caramel, means that very little sugar is required. Finally, cooking bacon is not only much cheaper than normal bacon, but it is pre-chopped into little nuggets which means a little goes a long way so you don’t need quite as much – it’s more of a seasoning than a main ingredient, but it does its work in providing salty, savoury bass notes of flavour, as well as a meaty, crisp-edged textural contrast to the cloudlike pancake doused in maple syrup.
Recipe: Bacon and Banana Pancakes
This pancake batter is from Smitten Kitchen’s blueberry yoghurt multigrain pancakes, and as she says, they can be made in advance and kept on a baking parchment-lined tray in a low oven until serving, but for two I don’t bother.
Serves 2, generously
1 banana, peeled and cut into 0.5cm coins
About 120g cooking bacon
120g low-fat plain yoghurt (1/2 American cup)
1/4 tsp lemon juice (bottled is fine)
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
60g plain flour
30g whole wheat flour
1Tbsp rye flour (or whole wheat or any other whole grain e.g. barley, if that’s what you have)
2 Tbsp caster sugar (I like the unrefined/golden caster sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
2-3 Tbsp milk
Maple syrup, to serve
1. First thing, whilst you are getting the ingredients together, cook the bacon in a dry pan over a medium heat until cooked and crispy at the edges. Reserve the bacon and melt the butter over a low heat in the frying pan and leave to cool with the heat off.
2. Whisk the egg in a large measuring jug (for easy pouring) to incorporate air into it, then add the yoghurt and whisk until smooth.
3. Add the melted butter, vanilla and lemon juice and whisk.
4. Sift in the flours, sugar and baking powder and stir in until fully combined. There might be some lumps but don’t worry about it, it’s better to under-stir than over so that the pancakes are fluffy rather than rubbery.
5. Add a splash of milk, enough to get a dropping consistency rather than a stiff dough, and mix in.
6. Heat the pan (still slick with the melted butter – you might need a little more, or some cooking spray, in between pancakes) and when it is hot, pour in a third of the batter and cook the pancakes over a medium heat – I like to make one big pancake rather than lots of little ones, but opinions differ! As soon as the batter is in the pan (you may need to smooth it out with a spatula) press the coins of banana into the batter – they should be about the same thickness. When lots of bubbles have risen to the top of the pancake (a few bubbles will rise quite quickly, so wait until there are lots), loosen and carefully turn over.
4. When you turn the pancake, add a third of the cooked bacon to the pan so it can heat up whilst the pancake cooks.
5. Serve pancake, topped with bacon and lashings of maple syrup.