Our devotion to the snowdrop, as it stoically sees us through the winter, then there’s the daffodils that steal our hearts in March, crescendoing with the mania that happens when the tulips arrive- it’s all a delicious build-up of the spring that we love, and adore. And yet, none of these loves of ours is native. Long before any bright-blue Muscari was held in our highest spring-time regard (they’re weeds in most other countries), it was the sweet-faced primroses and pretty wild violets that heralded spring to all the hills, dales, and downs of England.
The banks are now covered with soft yellow rosettes, the woods too, are a paradise of primrose. Primula Vulgaris- first rose; our garden is full of them, and the wild violets that climb the meadow beyond the house, weaving their way through cowslips and bluebells, are so small and so dainty it would be easy to miss them. I couldn’t sleep the other morning, waking to the birds in their frenzied dawn chorus, desperate with their amorousness, their songs pierced through my curtains with palpable rousing force. Not able to return to rest, I rose and wandered into the garden. Pyjamas, coat, and boots (not yet warm enough to venture barefooted), the mist had not quite lifted and I stood to watch the flowers wake.
A handful of our native wildflowers, the edible, delectable primrose and violet, made their way back indoors with me and were pressed into pancakes- a morning luxury to make up for my lack of sleep.
The violets stay purple, but the primroses turn translucent, leaving just the most delicate impression of a flower on the pancake. This recipe would work wonderfully with bright, cheerful violas too.
- A handful of Violets and Primroses (or other edible flowers)
- 2 Eggs
- 100g of plain flour (I used Dove’s Farm Gluten Free)
- 300ml Milk
- Approximately 50g Butter for the pan
Brush the flowers clean. And remove all of the stalk and as much of the green. You want them to be as flat as you can make them. Have them ready by your pan.
Crack the eggs into sifted flour. Add the milk and whisk. I like the consistency of my mix to be that of double cream. Melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan. Tilt the pan until the butter covers the whole base. One ladle of batter mix goes into a medium temperature pan (you don’t want it smoking, but bubbling is good).
Tilt the pan until the mixture covers it. Take off the heat, to have enough time to press the flowers into the wet batter mix. Press them in, so their backs are flush on the mix, but their faces are clean. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the underside is golden, and all the batter is dry on top. Flip, remove from heat and let it sit cooking for roughly half a minute.
Serve. I had mine with maple syrup, but sometimes all you need is a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar.