Waste Not, Want Not

Tuesday February 17th 2015
It’s Shrove Tuesday also known as pancake Tuesday and Mardi Gras. It is the day preceding Lent, the 40 day fasting period leading up to Easter. On either side of these Christian holidays is the allowable consumption of certain foods i.e. meat, dairy, eggs. Pancakes were a way to use up excess dairy and eggs so that they didn’t go to waste during this period.

Watch Your Language!
*Shrove is the past tense for the Middle English word ‘shrive‘ meaning to confess and to receive absolution
*Mardi gras is French for “fat Tuesday” (but you don’t have to take this literally!)

Pancakes are one of the oldest forms of bread and can be found in various forms throughout the world.

blini, crepe, pikelet, pancake, tortilla, chapati, lefse, banh xeo…

It is basically flat bread made by cooking batter on a griddle. Pancakes can be either sweet or savoury and are eaten as a snack or part of any meal. In the spirit of Shrove Tuesday and with multicultural inspiration, now is the time to creatively use up ingredients in your kitchen in danger of growing green fuzz.

Basic Pancake Batter

  • Equal parts milk and flour (1 cup each will yield about 12 pancakes of medium-size)
  • 1 egg (or appropriate vegan substitute e.g. chia/flax seed; puréed banana, applesauce or butternut squash)
  • 2 Tablespoons each of baking powder and granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil

Whisk milk, ‘egg’ and oil together. In separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients then add to the milk mixture. Oil a skillet or griddle pan (1-2 Tablespoons oil or butter) and heat. Add a heaping spoonful of batter and spread into circle. When it starts to form bubbles on the surface, it is time to flip to the other side. Continue cooking another few minutes until sufficiently browned.

  • Laissez les fruits rouler. Be inspired by the colours of King Cake and serve your pancakes drizzled with purple beet coulis, topped with slices of yellow banana and green kiwifruit
  • Kalinka cake. Go Russian with buckwheat pancakes spread with a thin layer of soured cashew cream and a vegetable mixture of zucchini, sun-dried tomato and raw red pepper.
  • Try a classic buttermilk pancake, popular in North America. Fluffy as a pillow, light and airy in texture yet laden with melted butter (vegetarian/vegan) and drowned in real maple syrup. Who needs dessert?
  • Classic crepe filled with nutella and bananas and drizzled with chocolate.
  • Potato pancakes using sweet potatoes and curry spice.
  • Try a Vietnamese inspired version, banh xeo, and fill with a mixture of bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, basil, garlic, green onion and tofu marinated in a soy/lime sauce.

See also,
International Pancakes Collection

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