Today is Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent starts. In England, it is called "Pancake Day" even though most people don't recognise Lent. The funny thing is, because people don't follow a religious calendar, everyone forgets about this day until the Sunday or Monday or even the Tuesday itself. Then Facebook erupts with posts about pancakes and at 9:00 this morning I even got invited to a last minutes pancake dinner. Now, Simon and I are not the type of people to forget about pancakes or Lent, and we had invited our friend Rachel and our neighbours to pancake dinner tonight. It's becoming a family tradition. We had Rachel over last year, too.
I went shopping yesterday for ingredients. Note that the supermarket had erected a helpful floating frying pan to remind us all about the day. I waited for these people to move but they spent forever looking at the display! From left to right, the display shows pancake mix, cooking spray (not a common product in the UK), vanilla sugar, pouring syrup (just corn syrup. Maple syrup is available but expensive), pancakes (English pancakes are what I would call crepes), and lemon juice. The most traditional way to eat pancakes in the UK is with lemon juice and a dusting of icing sugar. As you can see, you can also use vanilla sugar or syrup.
Simon and I tend to have some form of savoury crepe/pancake because it just makes more sense to have it for dinner in a weeknight.
The proportions in their batter recipe are exactly the same as the ones in other cookbooks I have: 100 g plain flour, pinch of salt, 1 medium egg, and 300 ml milk or milk/water mixture. I doubled the recipe today and had about 18 smallish, thin crepes. I remember when i moved here I was amazed that you could get cartons of medium eggs or mixed size eggs (usually cheaper) and that the standard UK egg is brown but they sell special cartons of white eggs.
I'm really proud of how well the pancakes turned out this year. I fried them early which was really helpful. I hate spending the whole time in the kitchen when we have people over! I also hate how the smell of frying pancakes clings to everything, and getting the frying done early means time to shower and air out the apartment before guests arrived.
For the savoury filling, I roughly chopped portobello, chestnut, and button mushrooms, and sautéed them with red onion and thyme. Then I added walnut pieces and "Greek-style salad cheese," which tasted better than it sounds, but not as good as feta. I will not buy it again.
Do you ladies have Shrove Tuesday traditions?