We recently made a weekend trip to Holland to join Peter’s family for a get-together. The Dutch love camping, so it was no surprise that the venue was a camping site where everybody converged with their caravans and camping paraphernalia. We were the only ones who didn’t have our own little home-on-wheels and were put up in a tent attached to one of the caravans parked there. Although I’ve been on a camping trip, travelling in a campervan through the length and breadth of New Zealand, I was a bit apprehensive about the arrangement. However, my doubts were unfounded as soon as we got to the camping site.
It was a lovely secluded spot surrounded by woods with lush greenery all around not to mention the excellent facilities all around the site. At night, we lay in our little tent listening to the sounds of crickets and other nocturnal creatures outside, reminding me of home and Indian summers.
One of the highlights of our short trip was dinner at the pancake restaurant. The Dutch eat both sweet and savoury pancakes for dinner instead of breakfast. Apparently, pancake restaurants exist all across the country and are popular dining spots for families. So there we were, the entire clan, the old, the young, babies, and children all eagerly awaiting our hot pancakes from the kitchen.
The service was far from satisfactory given that it took over an hour for our food to arrive. But then again, the place was completely packed and busy, maybe that had something to with the delay 😉 I was curious to see whether these pancakes would live up to my expectations and make for a satisfactory meal. I’m happy to report that they were really large in size with a good quantity of toppings 🙂 It reminded me of ‘dosa’, a pancake made with a rice-lentil batter, a breakfast staple across south Indian homes and a favourite snack across the country. Imagine a medium-sized pizza with a real soft and thin base topped with salami or bacon, cheese and vegetables and a myriad other combinations. That’s Dutch pancakes for you. They’re best eaten with a generous amount of ‘stroop’ or syrup poured on top.
Inspired by the tasty pannenkoeken, we decided to make some ourselves for a mid-week dinner. We looked up a recipe online, made the batter and the pancakes with a topping of bacon and cheese. I must say that these are delightfully easy to make and a quick filling meal for busy week days.
Dutch Savoury Pancakes (original recipe here)
200g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 litre milk
butter to fry the pancakes
a pack of streaky bacon
grated cheddar or any other firm cheese (optional)
Make a batter by mixing together the flour, salt, sugar, eggs and milk. Mix thoroughly until you get a smooth batter. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Place a tiny dot of butter on the hot pan. Pour a ladle of batter and swirl the pan so it spreads evenly. As the bottom of the pancake cooks, place 1-2 strips of bacon on the top. Sprinkle some cheese. Using the ladle, move the batter around to cover the cheese. Flip the pancake over. Let the other side cook until golden in colour. Remove from pan and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Serve hot with maple syrup or any other condiment of your choice. Easy and tasty dinner…done!