Buckwheat is a great non-wheat flour to combine with other flours, or use on its own for creating gluten-free blinis and crêpes. As it is a pseudo-wheat (it's a seed) it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels and is a good source of magnesium.
When it comes to raising agents, less is better on all fronts. For one quantity of baking powder, use two quantities of bicarbonate of soda. If you want to make traditional blinis though, you’ll need to use yeast.
Even without the toppings, pancakes are good for you. Eggs + milk (or any alternative) + flour is a winning combination of nutritional ingredients. Eggs are rich in protein and vitamin B and omega 3. Organic flour is a pesticide-free source of carbohydrates that are essential for the body's production of energy and milk is a great source of calcium, whilst buttermilk also provides the health benefits of being low in lactose and full of probiotics.
I get inspiration for topping from all sorts of places, but I guess the classic ones are Ottolenghi, Alice Waters and of course, my customers. My favourite savoury topping is avocado, thyme roast tomatoes, plenty of herbs, preserved lemon and a beautiful olive oil. I also love the sweet and savoury combination of bacon, blueberries and maple syrup.
The most common way that people go wrong? The heat of the pan. Get the pan going on a medium heat, then add butter or oil the base a little and immediately pour in the batter - as long as it’s cooked to a beautiful golden colour on both sides - and the batter has a fair balance between eggs, flour, milk (1 egg, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk, tiny bit of salt) you can't fail.
The easiest way to make a perfect pancake is to stop looking for perfection. The most satisfying pancakes are those which you just whisk up in a few minutes - maximum feel good factor in a short space of time, especially when you're rushed in the morning. A perfect way to start the day.
You can sample Patricia's pancakes for yourself at her restaurant, Where The Pancakes Are, near London's Borough Market.