Shrove Tuesday is one of the annual celebrations where the frugal cook really comes into his/her own for what could be more thrifty than a pancake? There are, of course, literally hundreds of recipes out there but here's a quick version of blinis* for you to try made with smoked mackerel rather than smoked salmon and caviar . . .
Serves 6 as a snack, 4 as a light supper
For the pancakes:
75g (3 oz) plain flour
75g (3 oz) buckwheat or wholemeal flour
1 level tbsp poppy seeds (optional but nice)
1 level tsp baking powder
1/2 level tsp fine seasalt
200ml (7 fl oz) full cream milk
2 large free range eggs
50g (2 oz) melted butter
For the topping:
2-3 peppered mackerel fillets, skinned and flaked
1 medium sized red onion very finely chopped
2 lemons, cut into 4 wedges
For the creamy dill topping:
1 142ml (5 fl oz) carton sour cream
1 150g carton unsweetened Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
To make the pancakes mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, leaving a hollow in the centre. Separate the eggs and mix the yolks with the milk and 25g (1 oz) of the melted butter and gradually pour into the flour, stirring continually. Just before cooking beat the egg whites until sift and fold into the pancake mixture.
Mix the sour cream with the yoghurt. Add 2 tbsp of the finely chopped onion, the dill and the salt and mix well.
Heat a pancake pan or non stick frying pan over a medium heat, dip some scrunched up kitchen towel in the remaining butter and wipe it round the pan. Put 4 tablespoonfuls of the pancake mix in the pan then when bubbles begin to appear on the surface (about 45 seconds) flip them over with a palate knife and cook the other side.
Place on a warm plate covered with a clean teatowel while you make the remaining pancakes, lightly greasing the pan between each batch.
Serve each blini topped with a a dollop of dill-flavoured cream, a few flakes of smoked mackerel and a sprinkling of chopped onion.
* Did you know that ‘bistro’ meant quick in Russian? Me neither.