I wonder how many children today know the meaning of Shrove Tuesday, or adults for that matter. The tradition of using up your rich foods the day before the start of Lent seems to have been forgotten about and replaced with Pancake Day which now feels to be more of a marketing ploy by supermarkets to boost sales in a slow first quarter. Cynical? Perhaps.
Along with the genuine meaning of day, Shrove Tuesday for me also symbolises the start of spring. Or at least the promise that it is just around the corner. This year, it seems to have crept up incredibly quickly, and spring seems a long way off.
However, to brighten our Tuesday this week, we shall be enjoying pancakes in the spirit in which they are meant. It helps that pancakes are a daily feature on the breakfast buffet at the hotel we are currently staying at!
Today’s pancake recipe is one that I learned when I was 10 years old. I reached the finals of a national cooking competition where pancakes formed part of the dessert I produced.
Prep in 5 minutes, rest for 20 mins, cooks in 10 minutes
Ingredients and suggested quantities:
600ml whole milk
8oz plain flour, sieved
pinch of salt
1 tsp sunflower oil, plus additional for greasing the pan
1. Blitz the eggs, milk and tsp of oil in a blender, then add the flour and a pinch of salt, until it is a smooth batter. Leave to rest for 20 mins
2. Now prep your fillings, whatever they may be
3. When ready to eat, heat a crepe pan or a non-stick frying pan. Using some kitchen paper towel, wipe the pan with some oil
4. When piping hot, pour in a small amount of batter and rotate the pan so that the batter covers the base of the pan. When the edges of the batter start to curl up, use a pallet knife to check that the underside is golden before turning, or flipping if you are brave, to cook the other side. These are best eaten immediately. Repeat the process until all the batter is used up.
A point of note – the first crepe usually sticks and can be chucked.
Pancakes are the perfect vehicle for sweet and savoury meals, snacks and treats. I love a simple lemon juice and sugar topping. In the competition, I made a Greek yogurt, double cream and lychee concoction to fill the pancakes with. The following year, I was asked to be on Blue Peter for Shrove Tuesday to show my pancake making skills. For this I make a butterscotch sauce with sliced bananas for the filling. Also very good witht the addition of vanilla ice cream.
Please excuse the quality of the image below… we were not quite in the digital age back then. The image on the left is a cutting from our local paper and the photo on the right is the image of my meal used in the cookery book about the competition.