Hanky Panky in Chester

Hanky Panky Pancakes, Chester 

Not that type of hanky panky, you bunch of deviants.  I’m talking about a great new pancake emporium in the city of Chester.  It’s a laid back, homely place with literally tons of tasty grub – all featuring pancakes in some form or other.

The Platinum family visited Hanky Panky pancakes recently whilst on a day trip to Chester.  If you know the town centre at all, you’ll know Commonhall Street.  For the uninitiated, it’s tucked away off Upper Bridge Street, but very easy to find.

We popped in for a mid afternoon break, and were happy to find a novel and delicious base for a spot of nourishment.

Basically, at Hanky Panky anything you can think of related to pancakes will be found.  Different types of pancakes, served either savoury or sweet – your choice.

On this visit, it was mid afternoon so I opted for something sweet: the amazing Rocky Road.  This consisted of pancakes adorned with chocolate chips, marshmallows, rocky road ice cream and chocolate sauce.  As an irredeemable choc fiend, this was pure ecstasy!

I enjoyed a Fentimans Cherry Tree cola with my treat, which was very good.

The rest of the family also enjoyed sweet pancake joy, though I can’t remember what they ordered.  Mine was the best, anyway.

Our trip to Hanky Panky was really appreciated by all of us.  We hope to make another trip soon – maybe next time I’ll go earlier and opt for a savoury choice.  The “El Matador” (chorizo and sun dried tomatoes) sounds incredible.

All in all, recommended for a different family treat food-wise in Chester, that you’ll want to visit again.

Hanky Panky Pancakes, 20 Commonhall Street, Chester CH1 2BJ.

01244 319225

The Hanky Panky website is here.

Food Quest: Piccolino, Chester

Piccolino, Chester

It was a hard slog of a shopping trip, but luckily there was a safe haven awaiting us.  Despite the crowds outside, a warm welcome would be found at Piccolino; a chance to recharge and enjoy some great food.

I’ve been to Piccolino before, but not for a while, so this lunchtime treat was very satisfying.  The staff were very helpful and we immediately felt relaxed.  All four of our party – including a six year old with fussy tastes – were looked after very well.

Here’s a brief over view of the food I enjoyed.

As it was lunchtime, we didn’t bother with starters as such, but ordered some garlic bread to share.  This Pane All’Aglio was served with tomato and basil – essentially a tomato sauce – and was delicious.  Especially popular with our youngest member.

For my lunch proper, I ordered Fusilli Puttanesca Con Pollo – a pasta dish, with chicken, tomato, olives, chilli, anchovies and capers.  I was looking forward to this dish, and I wasn’t disappointed – it was superb.  Not just any old thrown together pasta meal, this was exquisite.  I was very impressed, even better than expected.

Mrs Platinum Al ordered a pasta dish also – Farfalle Al Salmone (probably just because it had my name in it).  Joking aside, this was also very good – I had a sneaky try to confirm.  I would happily order this meal myself on my next visit, if not for the fact that my Fusilli Puttanesca Con Pollo was so damn fine.

The little ‘un had a cheese and tomato pizza – that’s a Margherita to us professionals – and she destroyed it.  The pizza proved very popular indeed.

I’d had a cheeky beer (Moretti La Rossa – excellent), and decided to splash out on a dessert.  This was not a mistake, no sir.

I was tempted by some ice cream, and made a radical choice.  Despite not being much of a fan of coffee, I chose the Affogato – Amaretto, espresso and vanilla ice cream.  This was presented more like a cocktail than a pudding, with the ice cream covered in Amaretto and a shot of espresso to pour over the top.  This was an amazing dessert – I still have dreams about it now! img_20161008_143441512

A fabulous time was had by all of our party at Piccolino.  The food was divine and service perfect.  To top it all, our little girl had a great experience and we’d happily return for more family fun.

Food Quest Test

  • Food: Enormous choice and delicious
  • Drink: Plenty to choose from, need to try more next time!
  • Service: Professional, friendly, hard working
  • Cost: Very good value for quality food

Piccolino, 33 Pepper Row, Pepper Street, Chester CH1 1EA

01244 312123

Check out he Piccolino menu here.

Questions #9: On Toast

What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast?  A simple question, yet this one offered a lot of interest and whole load of suggestions.

Toasted bread is a very simple idea (even I can cook that) – but it’s appeal is massive, judging by the response to this question.  Some of the suggestions I received are obvious, some sound delicious – others are a matter of taste.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast?

Nathan: coleslaw

Matt R: bacon

Sian: bacon & sausage

Terry: Bacon

Jamie: butter and tomato sauce

Iain: peanut butter and jam

Sam: marmalade

Jayne: bacon

Mike R: salmon & scrambled egg

Mike Stone: mushy peas

Nick Jones: melted cheese

Mark “Hungry” Harper: peanut butter (smooth)

Lindsey Over: butter

Dan Graham: sardines

Irene Thomas: peanut butter, honey & banana

Annette Evans: spaghetti hoops

Steph Cottam: tomato puree, sliced tomatoes, sliced bratwurst, cheese (grilled)

Sarah Docherty: Branston pickle and cheese

Colin Pugh: sausage, fried egg and tomato sauce

Greeny: apple sauce

Adam Halliday: black pudding and cheese

Andrew Redman: strawberry jam & butter (on white bread)

Lisa Lord: Tomato puree, mature cheddar, Henderson’s relish and black pepper

Sarah Fickling: Dairylea and cucumber with a little black pepper

Claire Bujeaud: beans

Jayne H: sardines

Snips: Runny poached egg, fresh ground black pepper and Anglesey sea salt

Ade Cappadona: cold chilli con carne

Neil Calloway:  poached egg and lashings of marmite

Cheryl Jones: pot noodle

Mark Dutton: crispy bacon and marmalade

Adam Butler: butter

Brian Hall: HP sauce

Matt Barnes: lard

Michaela Jjones: peanut butter and raspberry jam

Laura Jones: Marmite with a poached egg and cheese on top, sprinkle of salt and pepper

Vanessa: cheese and beans

Belinda Spry: Vegemite (+ cheese)

Peter Higginson: thinly sliced haloumi with sliced green olives, dash of black pepper

Zoe Cullen: beans and cheese

Corrine Bufton-Sales: peppered mackerel

Mandy H: cheese and tomato

Donna: cold caviar on piping hot toast with Dom Perignon

Bryn: bacon lardons, red onion and cheese

Mike W: bacon and cheese

Richard Pearson: roast dinner

Me: peanut butter (crunchy) and chocolate spread

There you have it: some excellent ideas.  Some very simple suggestions – like good old butter – we often forget how good that tastes.  Then there’s the Full English options, right the way through to some that sound like they could be on a menu.  I’m also partial to sardines on toast, so nice to see that crop up a couple of times.  One or two of these “favourites” may well be jokes, but I’m not sure…

Sweet or savoury, there are some great ideas here that I would like to try.  I’ve not picked a winner, I hope this fun exercise has given you some “food for thought”.  But – roast dinner on toast?  Regular readers will be able to guess what I think of that…

Questions #6: The Ultimate Burger

We’ve just installed a new burger grill at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Here’s the deal: you get one super supreme grilled burger, inside a quality bun.  You can have four toppings of your choice on your burger – anything you like, but only FOUR.

Now we’ve got lots of toppings to choose from.  The obvious to the obscure.  What would you choose?

The only freebie you get is sauce – whatever sauce you want, it’s not one of the four toppings.

Q: Which four toppings would you like on your Ultimate Burger?

Jon

  1. Smoked bacon
  2. Goats cheese
  3. Jalapenos
  4. Chorizo

Terry

  1. Extra burger (!)
  2. Lettuce (!!)
  3. Onions
  4. Tomatoes

Jamie

  1. Chorizo
  2. Cheese
  3. Bacon
  4. Onion rings

Sian

  1. Cheese
  2. Onions

Matthew

  1. Extra burger
  2. Bacon
  3. Cheese
  4. Gherkin

Sam

  1. Bacon
  2. Cheese
  3. Chicken nuggets
  4. Chicken noodles

Nathan

  1. Chilli con carne
  2. Cheese
  3. Onions
  4. Chorizo

Iaian

  1. Cheese
  2. Chorizo
  3. Chicken breast
  4. Jalapenos

Me

  1. Cheese
  2. Chilli con carne
  3. Tortilla chips
  4. Chorizo

There you go – just a few ideas for you.

The burger grill is on.  When you’ve had a couple of virtual drinks and a soak in the virtual hot tub, slink on out and head over for a virtual burger.  Your Ultimate Burger, your way.

Let me know what four toppings you would choose – leave a comment below.

* All burgers, drinks and hot tub are purely virtual…

Pasta Sauce recipe

Here’s a recipe for pasta sauce. I would recommend this sauce to be served with meatballs (and pasta of your choice).

Now I’m not one for bragging, but my pasta sauce is gaining quite a reputation as a fine example of the art. And what’s the key ingredient?

AUDACITY.

Do not be afraid, be bold – and this sauce will create itself. The more daring you are the better the results will be.

Pasta Sauce 

  • Onion
  • Green or red pepper
  • Chopped tomatoes (tin of)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic paste
  • Tomato puree
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chilli powder
  • Olive oil
  • Mixed herbs (including Oregano)
  • Sugar
  • Optional: Salsa sauce

Heat some oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, chop the onion and pepper and put in the pan. Stir and cook the onion and pepper, add some salt and pepper to season.

Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer. After a few minutes, add the tomato puree. Then add Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce – as much as you dare. You will need to add the garlic paste (about half a teaspoon) next, not forgetting to flow the salt and pepper too.

Now is the time to add the rest of the ingredients as you like. Be liberal with your chilli powder – if you dare – and add more Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. If you have some salsa sauce (try Lidl) or dip, throw a bit of that in. I also like to add a squirt of tomato sauce. Some folks like to add a teaspoon full of sugar, to counter act the acidity of the tomatoes – this is up to you. This is a very simple recipe, I’m sharing it as the message is to play around and see what works. You will notice that I’ve not stated any measurements above as this is the fun part – experiment and see what you can add.

Finally, don’t forget to add the mixed herbs. A generous amount of Oregano will develop an authentic Italian aroma.

Simmer the sauce for a good ten minutes. You will have cooked your meatballs in the oven by now, add them to the sauce when ready.

Prepare the pasta of your choice, and serve together with the meatballs and sauce when ready. Finally, finish with some parmesan cheese.

I hope you enjoy the pasta sauce. Do not be constrained by exact quantities with this recipe – fly free like the brave eagle over the plains, and the joys of exquisite pasta sauce shall be delivered to you.

Questions #3: Pizza Toppings

What three toppings would you pick for your favourite pizza?

A basic Margherita (base, with cheese and tomato) is all you get to start.  You choose three toppings only.  If you want Barbecue sauce base, for example, that counts as one of your choices.

Here’s what we came up with:

Q: What three toppings would you choose for a pizza?

Terry

  1. Ham
  2. Pepperoni
  3. BBQ Sauce

Ashley

  1. Spicy Beef
  2. Spicy Chicken
  3. Pepperoni

Ben

  1. Spicy Chicken
  2. Bacon
  3. Onion

Mark D

  1. Chocolate
  2. Marshmallow
  3. Space Dust

Wolfie

  1. Pepperroni
  2. Jalapenos
  3. Red Onion

Woody

  1. Chicken
  2. Pepperoni
  3. Ham

Jamie

  1. Pineapple
  2. Ham
  3. Mushroom

Joe

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Jalapeno
  3. Sweetcorn

Dan W

  1. King Prawn
  2. Chorizo
  3. Chicken

Me

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Anchovies
  3. Meatballs

It’s nice to see that mushrooms weren’t a popular choice.

What are your three choices for a great pizza?  Reply below and let me know.