My son is a mad keen cook and loves helping (!) in the kitchen. His speciality is pancakes, a messy exercise and oh how he loves it!

On mornings when I am feeling ropey, having him ‘help’ almost tips me over the edge. To save chaos, my husband will smuggle into the pantry my ultimate contraband – instant pancake mix. How I hate it! It’s food’s answer to fashion’s fake Prada handbag – it looks OK but it’s really 100% synthetic. Sure a kid in the kitchen is guaranteed to cause mess on a mega-scale, but I take comfort that at least he is learning about ingredients, measuring, weighing, whisking and egg cracking.  All important elements to teach him how to eat really well.

After searching around for an easy recipe that we all actually want to eat, I found this one. It’s from the Rose Bakery cookbook Breakfast Lunch Tea (a brilliant book for salads, soups and cakes by the way). These pancakes are of the fabulous, fluffy variety and delicious. I have substituted a few of the ingredients for healthier ones and left out the sugar, (I have my kid’s teeth and my Chloé jeans to consider). I have also added oat bran, the new ‘superfood’ which helps digestion and fills you up until lunch.

Oh, and the BIG secret to faking the perfect pancake? Don’t over love the batter. When you combine the wet ingredients with the dry, turn the batter over with a large spoon no more than eight times. GO HUGO!


Hugo’s Pancakes

(adapted from Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carani)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted plus a little for cooking
  • 190g of wholemeal flour
  • 3 tablespoons of oat bran
  • half teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder


  • In a bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and melted butter and put aside.
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour with the salt, sugar and baking powder.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour and stir very lightly until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.
  • Rub a small frying pan with a little butter, heat the pan to hot and pour in 3-4 tablespoons of batter.
  • Tilt the pan so that the batter covers the base evenly and then turn the heat down to medium.
  • Cook until a few bubbles come to the surface and then turn the pancake over.
  • Cook for about another minute.
  • Continue making pancakes until all the batter is used up, adding more as necessary.
  • Serve immediately. Eat hot… and often.

Here are some fab, healthy toppings to experiment with too. Hugo is keen to know how to use a knife (!) so for practice, he chops and prepares the following… in a fashion.

To satisfy a table of picky eaters, offer a few different options, present on a platter and let everyone look after themselves.

Topping ideas

  • Organic peanut butter, sliced banana, and maple syrup
  • Bacon and maple syrup
  • Honey, blueberries and natural yogurt
  • Apple and cinnamon compote
  • Compote of apricot and vanilla and natural yogurt
  • Sliced strawberries, walnuts and greek yogurt