GUEST BLOG #15 - by Parveen Ashraf, aka The Spice Queen SaveCo Online Ltd


It’s Ash Wednesday next week which is the first day of lent but before that there is of course Pancake Day. So I thought I would share a pancake recipe and a family story with you. One question that I am often asked is “do you cook other food or just Indian food?” Well, yes I do - I cook all types of food. Being a British Asian, I am obviously most confident cooking South Asian and English food. However, I frequently combine flavours from both cuisines, ending up with ‘East Meets West’ types of dishes. For example, even with pancakes I like to add a little spice…No, I don’t mean ‘spicy spice’ I mean flavoursome spice. Not all spices have to have heat, some just add flavour and aroma.

I have been making pancakes for years - as a busy working mum of 3, I never had time to make pancakes on school days, so it became a weekend ritual instead. The kids would sit around the kitchen table, waiting with bated breath, Nutella in hand, eager to spread it on their hot pancakes. I remember that I would always have two pans on the go…However even with my ambitious ambidextrous pan-action, I could barely keep up with the appetites of the ever-ready little Ashrafs.

Decades on, my children are now all adults, but things haven’t changed quite that much. When they come home and I make pancakes, they ceremoniously take their usual places at the kitchen table and out comes the Nutella. However, their childhood favourite chocolate spread is now joined by other, a tad more sophisticated toppings such as organic peanut butter, pure Canadian maple syrup, fresh blueberries, pecans, whipped cinnamon cream and sometimes a decadent home-made caramel sauce that my daughter Sherine makes. It’s absolutely divine! Sometimes when I want to make my pancakes a little special, I make vanilla flavoured fluffy scotch pancakes and serve them with sliced banana, crushed pecans, drizzled in caramel sauce with a big dollop of Chantilly cream – I call these my banoffee pancakes. They are not as naughty as a banoffee pie but definitely as nice!

Myself and my children love to experiment with different exotic and wonderful toppings, then along comes my ‘no nonsense’ engineer husband who has his with just lemon and sugar….simple. He thinks I am way over the top when it comes to food…Really, after all these years does he still not know me!? ☺ 
Only joking, anyway whatever your topping, try this pancake recipe and let me know how you get on. 

Happy cooking and please look after yourselves.


Serves 4 people | Preparation Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes




  1. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, then add the sugar, vanilla extract, milk, baking powder and whisk everything together. Now add the flour a little at a time and mix together until you have a smooth batter. Set aside and allow to rest for 10 mins. 
  2. Use a good quality non-stick large frying pan. Heat your frying pan and brush lightly with ½ tsp oil. Spoon approx 1½ to 2 tablespoons of batter to form each pancake. Use the tip of the spoon to shape the pancake into a circle using a swirling action. 
  3. Cook on a medium heat for 1 to 1½ mins on one side. When small bubbles appear then flip them over. Cook for 1 min on the other side until your pancakes puff up and are lightly golden in colour. 
  4. Wipe your pan clean with kitchen towel and make the rest of the pancakes. Serve with sliced banana, pecans and your home-made caramel sauce or maple syrup. 


Recipe For Home-Made Caramel Sauce 

Serves 4 people | Preparation Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes



  1. Heat sugar and butter: Using a heavy bottomed pan, heat the sugar and butter on low heat until the butter has melted. Turn the heat up to medium-high until the sauce starts to bubble a little making sure to continually stir so you don’t get clumps. Now turn the heat down to low. 
  2. Add cream: You should have a smooth dark coloured amber liquid with no grains by now. Slowly add the cream (be careful as it can splash at this point) and keep whisking until you have a smooth caramel sauce. If the sauce is too thin you can turn the heat up to medium-high and keep stirring until it has thickened up. 

Treat yourself to all of Parveen's recipes with her step by step guide to cooking authentic Indian Food.


Parveen Ashraf


Parveen The Spice

 About the author

Parveen Ashraf is a passionate foodie, author, TV chef and entrepreneur and newspaper columnist. Her humorous and relatable writing style is always a winner with SaveCo customers and her recipes and blogs are amongst the most viewed pages.  

For more recipes please visit:, follow her on Instagram and subscribe to the Youtube channel.  
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