Stray Kitchen is our column all about food written by renowned local produce expert, food writer and chef, Stephanie Moon. Stephanie is a champion of food produced in the UK and particularly in Yorkshire and the Harrogate district.
Us Brits have loved pancakes since the 15th century and as a nation we devour over 53 million eggs on pancake day.
I think we are all happy to go a bit barmy on Shrove Tuesday, or so called ‘Shrive Tuesday’ because people would confess to their sins.
This is an excuse to go flippin’ crazy on Pancake day – anything to bring out a smile and a flash back to our childhood. I can more or less guarantee it, perhaps even a belly laugh if you try the tricky to master pancake art!
Art in a pancake is not as weird as it sounds and there are varying ways to do this. You can make a basic pancake batter and pour it into a squeezy bottle, then pour into the pancake pan in an artistic fashion. Chocolate cocoa pancake batter gives you more defined outlines alongside the basic mixture, and there are plenty of fun videos on the web to guide you.
Most people can eat at least two or three Pancakes and as a young girl my mother would cook us pancakes the traditional way, with sugar and fresh lemon juice. If we had not eaten the first one before the next one was ready, we had our noses dusted in soot from the fireplace. She explained this was an old tradition – although I have never heard or seen this since so I’m pretty certain she was playing a joke on us – but it did make us hurry up and eat our dinner!
Who gives a toss? Well, the highest recorded pancake toss was 31ft which is vertically impressive and I’m glad if I can successfully manage 2ft! if you are braving the toss always remember have a little extra batter ready for the ones that end up on the floor!
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So many countries have their favourite pancake batters: the Americans their pancake stacks, the French their crepes, and the Indians their dosas. As for Russia, I can honestly say I have tried Blinis in Moscow where I went to do a battle of the batters cook off in the kitchens of the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. The chefs were fiercely proud and their Blinis and Yorkshire puddings really did match up well (even though Yorkshire Puddings are technically not pancakes if you make them right!). Thankfully, we where declared equals by the general manager.
The batter for pancake day is amazingly simple and only really needs three main ingredients: milk, flour, and eggs. As a dairy farmer’s daughter, it’s no wonder it was a big day in our house!
Everyone has a pancake batter mix that is their favourite, but my top tip is to cook the pancake in melted bubbling butter instead of oil, unless you are trying pancake art then plain vegetable oil is better to see the outlines of the pancake art.
So get your pancake groove on and serve with fresh lemon juice and a spoonful of sugar, fill savoury pancakes with a rich prawn double cream and cheese mix, pack a pancake full of Nutella and bananas or try your hand at pancake art. Whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed as much fun as you can have in a frying pan!
Happy pancake day!