Disabled Chef James Coke

Shrove Tuesday pancakes with disabled chef James Coke

In this article journalist Ian Cook talks to disabled chef James Coke to get his recipe for the perfect pancakes. Read on to learn how you can make your own this pancake day.

Shrove Tuesday is fast approaching. So who better to turn to for advice on how to make that perfect pancake than amateur chef and author of thedisabledchef.com, James Coke? In 2016, James famously took on professional celebrity chef Ricky Andalcio and beat him at his own game. In the BBC One Show, James’s Lancashire Hotpot was judged superior to Ricky’s hotpot in a  “Beat the Pro” cookery contest. 

Now, James has turned his thoughts to a recipe for great pancakes, and unsurprisingly, he has gone again for another traditional take on a classic dish, as he explains:

“I’m a bit of a traditionalist really. I always remember Shrove Tuesday as a kid. It was the only time of the year we had pancakes. My mum always made them thin with sugar and lemon juice and they were delicious. Over the years, I’ve learnt to evolve from my childhood days to use them in both sweet and savoury dishes.” 

Although James admits to being a bit of a traditionalist, he says he’s certainly not a perfectionist. “Throughout my cooking life, I’ve used the ‘toe in the water’ approach and I always use recipes as a guide rather than a definitive instruction. Subsequently, what’s available in my fridge or larder, what is cost-effective, and what works for me is normally the path I take.”

james head and shoulders.jpg

“My favourite pancake recipe is based on a dish I had in Canada once and is a combination of sweet and savoury. It involves two pancakes with crispy bacon and blueberries sandwiched between, with maple syrup poured over. The mix of sweet and savoury is ‘food heaven.’ The recipe is below, but I’ve adapted it a bit, swapping the maple syrup I had in Canada for honey which is cheaper and more easily available in the UK .”


  • 1 egg
  • 100 ml of milk 
  • 100 grams of flour 
  • 3 rashers of streaky bacon 
  • A cup (200-250ml) of water
  • A handful of blueberries 
  • 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt 
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • Honey to taste


Mix the egg, milk, flour, and sprinkle of salt in a bowl.

In a frying pan, add a cup of water then three rashers of good streaky bacon. Heat the water until it evaporates and then brown the bacon (the cooking process helps the bacon retain its succulence).

Once cooked, remove the bacon from the pan. Add a little oil to the pan and then cook half the pancake mix. Once it can slide across the pan easily (approximately 1 minute) toss the pancake, or turn with a spatula, and cook the other side before removing from the pan. 

Repeat with the second pancake but before removing from the pan add the chopped cooked bacon, the handful of blueberries, a tablespoon of yogurt, and a good splash of honey. Plonk the other pancake on top. Leave the sandwich to heat through before serving immediately. It’s so simple to prepare but ticks all those flavour boxes.

When it comes to tossing the pancake James says he doesn’t, “I don’t toss the pancake as I live with MS, and over the years the dexterity in my hands has got worse. Therefore instead of tossing the pancake, I use a spatula and a shallow frying pan to turn them over. The pancakes are normally quite easy to turn once they have been cooked a bit. Best bet is just to get your apron on.”

“Shrove Tuesday is an excellent opportunity to get the family together and have some pancake fun, so get cooking and enjoy.”

For James’s many other recipes see his website at www.thedisabledchef.com

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