As most of you will know, today is Shrove Tuesday or as it is more commonly known, Pancake Tuesday. I adore pancakes, I really do, however, very rarely do I make them aside from on and around Pancake Tuesday, when I have no shame or qualms about consuming vast quantities of pancakes.
When my sister and I were younger we used to thoroughly enjoy the annual pancake day races in the garden. Adults and children alike took part in this, racing down the garden, jumping over the obstacles, flipping the pancake at assigned spots and racing back to pass the frying pan on to the next team member. It was great fun, however, the best part was always afterwards when we finally got to eat the pancakes. My all time favourite topping was and still is, lemon and sugar. Although I used to love experimenting when frying them by adding ingredients such as apple slices and bacon to the batter and then drizzling the piping hot pancakes with maple syrup before devouring.
Ever the one to make the most out of food events and festivals, I started my Shrove Tuesday celebrations early by making my friend and I a royal breakfast of American style blueberry pancakes, with maple syrup on Sunday. These gorgeously fat pancakes were so easy to make and they tasted delicious; just the thing to eat before heading out into a miserably cold February drizzle.
Aside from the home-made versions, my favourite place by far to eat pancakes in London has to be the Riding House Cafe. They really and truly make the most scrumptiously fat, fluffy pancakes served with fresh berries, vanilla clotted cream and maple syrup. And every now and again I allow myself a well deserved indulgent weekend treat.
That said, pancakes are most certainly not only good when served sweet. I recently discovered a divine savoury recipe; stuffed ricotta and spinach pancakes with tomato sauce. This dish is so simple to make and it tastes absolutely beautiful. To start you fry a chopped onion and garlic in butter, once caramelised add the spinach and cook until wilted. Take off the heat and leave to cool during which time you can make the pancakes and a simple tomato sauce. When everything is ready, add the ricotta to the spinach mixture, season and add a little bit of lemon rind and grated Parmesan shavings, mixing it together. Spread half the tomato sauce on the bottom of an oven proof dish, place a dollop of the ricotta mixture on each pancake, roll them up and put them side by side on the tomato sauce. Once all the pancakes are in the dish pour the remaining tomato sauce on top, grate some Parmesan on top and place the dish in the oven at 180 degrees to bake for 25 minutes. Once ready, serve straight away and enjoy.
So in light of my excessive fondness for pancakes I have decided to endeavour to make them more frequently and try out more savoury versions throughout the year, not just on and around Shrove Tuesday.