Batter is the world for a mixture of ingredients before they are cooked into cakes, biscuits, tempura, fried fish, pancakes and so on. There is no need to be afraid of it as long as you follow the recipe more or less religiously. Once you get the hang of it, though, you should be able to whip up a basic batter which you can adjust to make pancakes and crumpuets or fry fish or vegetables.
If you have muffin tins (cheap and a good investment) you can make a muffin batter and use it to make warm breakfast muffins through the week.
Yes, you can keep a muffin mixture in the fridge for six weeks, just not the one in this recipe. Once you’ve mastered the basics and found out where to buy buttermilk, the internet is full of six-week muffin recipes.
Muffins can be sweet or savoury and once you get the hang of it you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to change flavours.
Investing in a muffin tin is a good idea but if you haven’t got one, you can go with paper cups.
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Preheat the oven – yes, you really do need to – to 180 degrees Celsius.
2 In a bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, including the egg. In a bigger bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
3 Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix using a wooden spoon until just combined. (You can just mix everything at once, but things don’t always work out so well ...)
Note: You don’t need an electric mixer for muffins, and using one could result in them being over mixed.
4 Grease the muffin tin and pour the mixture into each individual holes until half full. Bake for 20 minutes.
5 To this recipe you can add fruit, such as berries or chopped banana, nuts, chocolate chips. For savoury muffins you can add ham, cheese, herbs, spices, sun-dried tomatoes, bits of bacon or sausage, salami or other cured meat – wherever your imagination takes you.
Basic fish/chicken batter
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
4 medium sized fish or chicken fillets, bones removed
vegetable oil for frying
1 Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and water. The trick is to add the liquids little by little and mix after each addition so you don’t get lumps. Once everything is mixed, let the batter stand for an hour.
2 Heat the vegetable oil in a pan. Dip the fish or chicken into the batter and shake it gently to remove any excess. Place gently in the pan, and fry until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to drain excess oil.
3 For more adventurous meals, you can add flavours to the batter, e.g. chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp garam masala/curry powder, 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
You can use the same batter to make dessert (although not in the same meal as too many fried things aren’t good for you).
Our favourite is to chop banana or apples into bite-sized pieces, dip and fry, then serve with a mix of castor sugar and cinnamon, and/ or ice cream.
These are sure to start an argument if you’re living with people from different nations. Some like them thick, others like them thin, some like them sweet and others think they should have no taste of their own. Oh, and everyone seems to call them something different: flapjacks, crumpets or hot cakes.
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil – you can use olive oil, but it might give the pancakes a strange flavour
1 You guessed it: mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet so that no lumps are formed.
2 Heat a pan to a medium heat on the stove. Use a little butter or oil to make sure the pancakes don’t stick. Pour little dollops of the mixture into the pan. As they cook, they will form bubbles on the surface. Once those bubbles are popped, turn the cake over to cook the other side.
3 Pancakes can be served with a wide range of fillings, but sometimes the best is just some lemon juice, cinnamon and caster sugar.