As a fallen angel Church of England girl, pancake day – or Shrove Tuesday – is one of my favourite observances on the Christian calendar. Pancake day is a joyous observance, a day of fun and feasting before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, a time traditionally set aside for reflection and self-sacrifice. Something most faiths have in common is, among the more austere observances, a celebratory time that is usually marked by fun and food – Purim on the Jewish calendar, Eid on the Islamic calendar, Diwali on the Hindu calendar. And the wonderful thing about living in a multicultural society is that we can learn about all sorts of celebrations and join in the fun – and, of course, the food.
So today’s fun is all about pancake day. I’ve been a bit under the weather these past couple of days with an upset stomach, so I am still deciding what pancake concoction I will come up with this evening. Last year, it was pancakes with blueberries, lemon and coconut – which might well happen again this year.
Since we’ve been doing Munching Matilda, I have shared a few sauce recipes that would work well for pancake day celebrations. Here are the links for those sauces:
- The espresso martini raspberry sauce is especially indulgent – and pancake day is all about feasting and fun. If you don’t want to use alcohol or it’s a bit of a faff to obtain or mix an espresso martini, a dash of strong black coffee (or indeed a shot of espresso) will add a nice kick.
- Salted caramel is utterly addictive – the salt takes the edge off the cloying sweetness of the caramel. My salted caramel ice cream sauce works just as well on pancakes.
- Chocolate sauce is always a winner on pancake day, so here’s the basic choccie sauce. It’s really easy but it will please a crowd.
- This is a recipe for a honey cake but the blueberry glaze can be made separate to the cake and used on pancakes.
- Ice cream is great with sweet pancakes. If you’re feeling energetic, here’s an easy way to make your own ice cream without the need for an expensive ice cream machine. This recipe provides a rich, creamy base that won’t crystallise in the freezer – then it’s up to you how to flavour it. It takes about six hours to set properly so do bear that in mind before you start whipping up a storm.
And let’s not forget the savoury pancakes. Sam and I have come up with plenty of savoury sauces that are usually reserved for meat, meat alternatives, vegetables, or pasta. Just as the blueberry glaze can be made separately to the aforementioned honey cake, the savoury sauces can be taken from these recipes and added to pancakes. Here are a few links for some savoury ideas:
- My seduction pasta sauce works really well on pancakes with some smoked salmon pieces, ham, prawns, diced bacon, chicken pieces or vegetables, especially asparagus.
- For a hearty pancake day celebration, Sam’s delicious Latvian beef can be easily adapted for pancakes.
- A close relation of seduction pasta, creamy garlic mushrooms are a great pancake accompaniment, especially if you’re going meat-free. Others that work with or without anything meaty or fishy include the perky pink beetroot pasta sauce and Sam’s leek and blue cheese pasta sauce.
- A rich, red-purple concoction, the red wine and red onion marmalade works well on pancakes with most meats or vegetables.
Finally, a few words about the actual pancake batter for pancake day… If you’re busy, tired or simply cannot be arsed, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a premix pancake batter instead of making the pancakes from scratch. If you look at my pancake day recipe from last year, do not feel obliged to mess up the kitchen with flour and eggs if you don’t want to – it is perfectly fine to make life as easy as you need it to be. Nobody is going to judge you if you take the simpler option. All you need to do this Shrove Tuesday is enjoy your pancakes.