Looking to organise a WinterFest pancake party? WinterFest volunteer Jevon Ellis, the inspiration behind the parties, has some top tips. There are links to recipe ideas and an invitation template you can download at the bottom of this article.
Basic ingredients : you'll need about a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk and a bag of flour, self raising makes slightly lighter pancakes, whilst plain makes slightly stodgier ones, three packets of butter, pancakes are best cooked in real butter.
Pancakes are best served freshly cooked and I have found using three pans is best, four gets too frantic.
Have more people than chairs. Whilst one or two people may need a seat , most of us can stand and circulate and will gladly give up a chair to someone needing to eat a pancake.
Check in advance on any special dietary needs. You can buy gluten free and vegan pancake ingredients or mixes locally in Brightlingsea or in larger supermarkets, just add vegan"milk" of your choice and have cooking oil ready.
You could serve a choice of fillings buffet style, include savoury. Consider lemon slices and other citrus fruits, honey, Nutella, Marmite, cheeses, white and brown sugar, coconut, ketchup, cream etc. It is best to serve them in a different room from where the pancakes are being cooked, unless you have a huge kitchen it would get too crowded too easily.
Kids and adults could have a go at making pancakes and particularly "tossing" them, ensuring children's hands are protected by oven gloves. I always say there's a special prize for the first one on the floor or stuck to the ceiling and have a bag of sweets at the ready. I like to encourage guests to have a go and much laughter can ensue.
As it's an odd day for a party and many guests will be going to work the following day, most people don't drink large amounts of alcohol. I only provide soft drinks, but welcome guests to bring a tipple if they wish.
Encourage people to circulate and talk to lots of different folk throughout the evening. The emphasis of the party is the wellbeing aspect of WinterFest. Invite neighbours, family and friends from around the town and spread the idea to others for next year. Some of my neighbours tell me they now meet up regularly, having got to know each other at my parties.
As it's a family friendly party and kids will have school the next day I've found starting from 6pm seems to works well, usually around 6.30pm it gets into full swing, with some people arriving later.
I usually put on very quiet background music to ease any awkward silences before the place fills up, but not too loud for conversation.