If you are related to me, in the past few days you will have been bombarded by images and updates on Facebook and Instagram of a trip I took with Matt, our semi-adopted Australian son. Matt’s real mother celebrated an auspicious birthday on 15th November, and we were invited to join her in Las Vegas, a city we hadn’t visited before. For reasons which only Matt remembers now, it was decided that Matt and I would drive to Vegas from New York City, and after an overnight visit to friends in Philadelphia, we set off on Sunday, 9th November. We drove through 13 states in total, drove 2,816 miles (roughly 4,500 km), three time zones, several temperature changes, and arrived at the airport on the appointed day, at the appointed time! It was a tremendous adventure and one I am thrilled to have had. Tom told me that I am no longer allowed to discuss this trip and so I will simply post some previously unseen highlights and memories, and keep my mouth tightly closed – maybe.
Birds flocking in western Tennessee as they start their migration
Windmill in the panhandle of Texas
Crossing the Mighty Mississippi into Arkansas
The Grand Canyon
Looking down from the Hoover Dam at the Colorado River
At the risk of upsetting Tom, let me just say that I will never forget the autumn colours of Virginia and Tennessee; the utter flatness of Arkansas between West Memphis and Little Rock; the dead untouched pig on the highway somewhere in Tennessee; the flat mesas of New Mexico; the drive from Flagstaff to Las Vegas; and the utter superficiality of Las Vegas.
I’m back in New York City now and it took a while but I’m finally back on the same time zone as everyone else. Matt has gone back to London, and life is back to normal for all of four days until Thanksgiving. When we got back here, I only wanted to eat at home. I was very tired of eating out, but Matt of course was still on holiday. So I decided to spoil him. I had bought some blue corn flour in New Mexico and so made pancakes for him two (2) [TWO] mornings running. It won’t happen again. It required a degree of organisation that doesn’t come naturally to me first thing in the morning. On the second morning, I even made the batter before I went to gym – seriously, that cannot happen every morning without a breakdown. I don’t think that blue corn flour is easily available in the UK, but apart from the colour it was the nuttiness of the pancakes which was so appealing. I think, therefore, that corn meal would work just as well. Anyway, I followed a recipe on the first day, but it didn’t work the way I wanted because the batter was too thick. The second day, I changed the recipe and the pancakes were much much nicer. I used a US recipe and so was using cups. I don’t like using volumetric measures because I find them too imprecise. I have therefore converted the recipe to grams, but have left the cup measurements as well. These are of course imperial cups.
Blue Corn Pancakes
(Makes 6 large pancakes)
- 1.1/4 cups / 160 g plain flour
- 1 cup / 130 g blue corn flour (or whatever other flour you like. Italian polenta is cornmeal)
- 2 tbsp / 30 g sugar
- 1 tsp / 5 g salt
- 2 tbsp / 30 g baking powder
- 1 cup / 240 ml milk
- 1.1/2 cups / 360 ml buttermilk
- 8 oz / 250 g butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Mix together the wet ingredients.
Combine the two mixes but don’t over beat. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Leave for half an hour. It will rise a surprising amount so make sure that your bowl is large.
I put a small amount of coconut oil in a small frying pan, added a ladle of mixture and cooked the pancakes. I used coconut oil because the only other oil I had was olive oil and I knew that wouldn’t work, but the coconut oil worked so well that I’ll definitely use it in the future. The pan was on a medium heat.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with maple syrup.
Bubbles start to form as the base cooks – when there are bubbles all over the surface, turn the pancake
These are my day one pancakes – the mixture was far too thick.
These are my day two pancakes – much better consistency, but too much icing sugar!