A modern reason to love Shrove Tuesday
Confession time: I absolutely love pancakes. I don’t eat them so often these days but that’s mostly because if I could I’d eat them every way, every day. I like them sweet with Nutella or honey, sharp with lemon and sugar, fruity, savoury, mushroomy, cheesy, topped with asparagus and white sauce…
Coming from the UK, one of my favourite parts of spring has always been pancake day! As a child I loved the excuse to eat a big stack of golden pancakes for breakfast or dessert but as an adult I came to appreciate this day for a new reason.
Pancake Day is more correctly called Shrove Tuesday and it marks the first day of lent, when Christians would begin their 40 day fast. Shrove Tuesday was the last chance to use up ingredients such as eggs, milk and fats and the perfect way to do this was by making delicious pancakes.
Nowadays, fewer of us participate in Lent itself, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Pancake Day. In fact, I think this day is as important as ever but for a very modern reason: we waste considerably more food than our ancestors did. Let’s use this day to assess our cooking and eating habits and make waste-free resolutions for the rest of the year!
And eat a big stack of pancakes or course!
A basic pancake recipe for every day.
- 100 6 Plain flour
- 2 Eggs
- 300 ml Milk
- 1 tbsp Vegetable or Sunflower oil (plus extra for frying)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, milk, eggs and oil. You want to create a smooth batter.
- If possible, leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes. You may wish to transfer your batter to a jug to make it easier to pour or even large-nozzled squeeze bottle if you’re cooking with kids.
- Heat a little oil a frying pan to a medium heat and your oven to a low heat.
- Add your first lot of batter to the pan and cook until golden on each side. You can tell when the bottom side is cooked as the pancake should move easily in the pan and the top side will have air bubbles in it.
- If you want to eat all of the pancakes at the same time, transfer each one to the oven when it is cooked. Otherwise, serve and eat immediately.
- The pan is often too oily at the beginning, so the first pancake might not come out well. In my house we call this the “dog pancake” as it was traditionally fed to the family pooch but now is more commonly devoured as a ‘test pancake’ by whoever is doing the cooking.
- Instead of oil for frying, you might choose to use butter.