So, I am sitting here in bed in our hotel room in Spain, nursing a sick child sadly 😦 She is watching TV to distract her from the fact that her nose is stuffy and sore from blowing and she has a mild temp so I am taking the opportunity to catch up on some blogging!
Next celebration for us will be Shrove Tuesday or more commonly known as Pancake Day. Phillipa wants to know why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and this is the best explanation I found:
Pancake day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) is the last day before Lent in the Christian Calendar. Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up, and so Shrove Tuesday is the last day to indulge yourself, eat things that are not allowed over lent and use up any leftovers that are forbidden. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs, all of which were forbidden during lent.
Other names for Shrove Tuesday…
United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia – Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday
Brazil – Terça-feira gorda – Fat Tuesday – the final day of Brazilian Carnival.
Greece – Apocreas, which means “from the meat” since they don’t eat meat during Lent, either.
Sweden – Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday).
USA In Catholic and French-speaking parts of the United States this day is called Mardi Gras.
Germany – “Fastnacht” (Also spelt “Fasnacht”, “Fasenacht”, “Fasteloven” (in the Rhine area) or “Fasching” in Bavaria.)
In France they call it Mardi Gras, which means Grease or Fat Tuesday.
In Iceland the day is known as “Sprengidagur” (Bursting day).
For me, the fabulous thing about pancakes is their versatility. You can have them thick like scotch pancakes, thin like crepes, colourful to make them fun for the kids, sweet, savoury, hot, cold, stuffed or just plain… endless options. They are great finger foods, or almost gourmet and can be kid-friendly or grownup-friendly too! Let the kids have a go and deciding on their own stuffings or toppings – pancake buffet? And for those who don’t have the time to make pancakes from scratch, remember that there are always the ready made options on hand at your supermarket 🙂
Here are 2 recipes for pancakes:
Scotch Pancakes or American Pancakes (small and thick): This recipe is by Louise Carter from the bbcfood website
- 135 g/4¾oz plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp castor sugar
- 130 ml/4½fl oz milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) or olive oil, plus extra for cooking
- To serve
- Maple syrup
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and castor sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
- Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.
- Serve with lashings of real maple syrup and extra butter if you like (or just some delicious honey and fruit puree for a more healthy option :)…)
English Pancakes (plate sized and thin): Here is a Delia Smith recipe from the bbcfood website
- For the pancake mixture
- 110 g/4 oz plain flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 200 ml/7 fl oz milk mixed with 75 ml/3 fl oz water
- 50 g/2 oz butter
- To serve
- castor sugar
- lemon juice
- lemon wedges
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs – any sort of whisk or even a fork will do – incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
- Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don’t worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the 50 g/2 oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake.
- Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you’re using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7 in pan. It’s also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it’s tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife – the other side will need a few seconds only – then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
- Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of grease-proof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.
- To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and castor sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.
And here are some of my favourite healthy stuffings and toppings:
- Smoked salmon and light cream cheese
- Spinach, ricotta and a touch of nutmeg
- Mexican-style minced beef with diced avocado, tomato, spring onions and creme fraiche
- Grated cheese and diced tomatoes and peppers with a sprinkle of paprika
- Light cream cheese and chives
- Sour cream and caviar (for bitesize blini style pancakes)
- Mixed fruit salad with plain greek yoghurt and honey
- Honey, mixed nuts and plain greek yoghurt
- Fresh fruit salad and frozen yoghurt
- Frozen yoghurt or greek yoghurt and homemade passionfruit curd
- Greek yoghurt and Nutella
- Stewed apples with Greek yoghurt, honey and chopped nuts
Some other creative ideas…
Add some colour to the day like Catholic Icing has done with these Festive Mardi Gras Pancakes
If you don’t like artificial colouring agents, I would experiment with substituting some of the liquid ingredients with fruit puree (like raspberry coulis, blueberry or blackberry puree and mango puree for sweet pancakes or pea or spinach puree, tomato pesto or mashed beetroot and mashed sweet potato or butternut for savoury options) Just remember that you don’t want the consistency of the batter to change.
Or, how about these rainbow pancakes by i am baker…
How about a very hungry caterpillar – Organic yoghurt pancakes by Greenwala…
And lastly, how about a Pancake Sammy Lunch box by The Allergic Kid…
I hope that however you choose to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, that you have fun and enjoy a delicious, easy, tasty meal and that some of these ideas prove inspirational.
Lots of love x