We woke up early (don’t we always?) and I got to work in the kitchen cooking pancakes, as we do every weekend. Stanley helps me to mix the batter and watches as I cook each pancake, before running to his little table to scoff them down and returning for the next one. His little brother can usually eat just as many pancakes, so they are a big weekend tradition in our house that both the boys seem to look forward to and enjoy.
This weekend, however, I decided to give them a twist with a dash of food colouring. We made these “rainbow pancakes” with exactly the same recipe we always use, before dividing the batter into different bowls and adding a dash of natural food colouring to each (our natural colourings are from Waitrose). We only had green, yellow and blue in the house – red would’ve made our stack much more colourful as we could have made both red and purple, so that’s something to add to the cupboard for next time.
Here’s the recipe I use every weekend for perfect batter:
2 cups of self-raising flour (add a teaspoon of baking powder if you only have plain flour)
2 cups of full fat milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)
Dash of natural food colouring (optional)
1 teaspoon of butter for the frying pan
Simply whisk it all together, heat up the butter in the pan, and then use a tablespoon to add the batter to the pan. I use three spoonfuls for each pancake, always adding the batter to the centre of the circle and allowing it to spill out to make sure it’s nice and round. I always throw the first one away (I think this is the law of pancakes) and after that, they are perfect every time. You only need about 30-60 seconds on each side, before flipping over, and they are ready to scoff (we eat them with maple syrup and blueberries.
After eating our pancakes at the crack of dawn, we had a lazy morning watching films and reading books, before piling into the car at 11am and heading over to Fairmont The Palm to try their BreakSlow Friday Brunch with my friend Simone and her family.
For those of you that haven’t visited Dubai, brunch is a bit of a Friday tradition. It means more than a late breakfast as it does in the UK; these things are grand food celebrations, with people dressed up like they’re attending a wedding, food buffets as far as the eye can see, and lots of entertainment for kids. We’ve tried a fair few of them in the last 4 years of living here (sometimes with the kids and sometimes without), but what I find hard about these events is that they are always at lunchtime – which means over-tired children who have missed their nap. Not fun for anyone.
Fairmont The Palm solves this problem with their brilliant BreakSlow Brunch, which starts at 11.30am. Better still, there’s a fantastic kids’ club at the hotel, so we could drop off Stanley and his friend Charlie for 90 minutes while we sat down and ate, before picking them up and feeding them their lunch – and still managing to get home in time for them both to have a nap.
The brunch itself is focused around breakfast (unlike most brunches in Dubai, which offer everything from lobsters, to sushi, to steaks, to noodles, to chocolate desserts, to whole rooms full of cheese, and literally everything in between). The other difference is that you don’t have to leave the table if you don’t want to, with a menu of breakfast options to keep ordering from the staff – and other bites regularly coming around on trays to your table. This makes the whole thing a lot more relaxed and works much better with children.
If you fancy a bit of a wander, there are buffet stations to help yourself from, including a pork section, juice bar, salad bar, dessert station, ice cream selection, and cheese buffet. I got up to take pictures and get my dessert, but generally preferred the table service concept, ordering myself a Salmon Eggs Benedict, Croque Monsieur, glasses of Bucks Fizz, and Cappucinos over the course of the 2 hours we were there.
We decided to sit inside, but there is plenty of seating outside too if you prefer to dine al fresco. Fairmont The Palm looks back at Dubai Marina (our hood!) and the views are pretty nice (I wondered out to take pictures and was quite jealous of all the holidaymakers enjoying a whole day on the beach.
All details of the BreakSlow Brunch are here. I really recommend it if you have small kids – the earlier timing of the brunch makes it very toddler-friendly – and the relaxed ambience and addition of the kids club facility made it the perfect Friday outing for the family. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we had already decided we would be heading back soon before we even got two tired little men in the car to come home.
After all that, we were egg-xuasted. Get it? I’ll try harder with the jokes tomorrow.