Get new posts by email:

Registered Associate Nutritionist

Registered Associate Nutritionist

Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)

 This year, Pancake Day falls on Tuesday 21 February – Shrove Tuesday always takes place a day before the Christian observance of Ash Wednesday. That in turn marks the start of Lent, the Christian season supposed to replicate the Biblical story of Jesus Christ’s withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Traditionally, this is a period of abstinence, with many non-Christians still getting into the spirit of the season by giving up a particular treat. With the bleak prospect of 40 days of discipline looming, it was perhaps inevitable that Shrove Tuesday would become an occasion to gorge oneself and cram in as much frivolity as possible. The day before Lent started became the ideal time to make pancakes as a means to use up leftover eggs, milk and sugar. In French, the date became known as “Mardi Gras”, or “Fat Tuesday”, for this reason, and the label has been adopted in other nations too, most notably the USA. Pancake Day gives us a chance to indulge ahead of the season of Lent .

There is much debate over the best pancake toppings, from lemon and sugar or chocolate spread to more savoury options.

But all of that is irrelevant if you do not get the batter just right, so it pays off to give the mix the most attention.

 Below are some tips from some of the UK’s most respected cooks.

Jamie Oliver’s pancake recipe Jamie Oliver’s recipe calls for three eggs, 125g of plain flour and 250ml of milk to make eight pancakes. He recommends using a blender to mix the ingredients and says you can trade out some of the white flour for wholemeal, to give the pancakes more texture.

 “Take this versatile crepe recipe in a sweet or savoury direction, depending on what you fancy,”

Oliver says. If you prefer thicker pancakes Oliver also has an American-style recipe, which requires you to separate the eggs and add baking powder. “Blueberry pancakes are great but you must try corn pancakes,” he says. “On one condition – you must use fresh corn.”

Mary Berry says of her version. The recipe requires self-raising flour and baking powder, as well as orange zest, and the national treasure recommends serving the pancakes with butter, maple syrup or honey, Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit.

 Gordon Ramsay’s pancake recipe If you are feeling particularly indulgent, Gordon Ramsay has a buttermilk pancake recipe that should scratch your itch. You’ll need 300g of buttermilk to make these, as well as some vanilla extract. Top these with syrup, powdered sugar and blueberries, or even add bacon if you’re after that fully American feel.

Ainsley Harriot’s recipe for pancakes involve banana and toasted pecan nuts. Below is the recipe for this:

Ingredients: 100g plain flour, pinch of salt, tsp of caster sugar, 2 eggs beaten, 300ml whole milk and 30 grams melted butter or tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for frying

For the sauce, banana and pecans: 200g granulated sugar, 85g butter, 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes, 125 ml single cream, 2 bananas, peeled and sliced, and handful of toasted pecans, roughly chopped. 

A study of 2,000 adults revealed the top mishaps people have experienced with their batter – and expect to suffer from again this year. Among the top flops were lumps of flour or eggshell being in the mix, pancakes sticking to the pan, and running out of ingredients. It also emerged that February 21st will see an average of five pancakes made per household, but 19 per cent of them will not be a success. Based on the number of homes in the UK, this will result in 25,133,195 pancakes being classed as inedible. Nearly a third (32%) claim the first pancake they make is always the worst and 23% consider it the practice run. The research, commissioned by Utilita Energy as part of its Bill Busters series, also revealed 19% make too much batter. To fight waste, the supplier worked with chef Jamie Oliver to create a pancake calculator. Archie Lasseter, Utilita Energy’s sustainability lead, said:

“It’s ironic that a day that was traditionally created to use up leftover ingredients, has now resulted in a lot of waste, and all the while, the cooking costs will be adding up. “It’s always a fun event, testing out our flipping skills and getting creative with toppings, but this year more than ever, people will be wary of the cost. “To help households budget after answering a few basic questions, our smart calculator reveals the exact ingredients required, and how much each pancake will cost to make and cook.”

The research also found when people experience a mishap with their pancake, it’ll likely end up in the bin (38%), while 29%  eat it no matter what and 11% will feed it to their pet. British residents only rate their flipping skills a five out of 10 on average and typically make two lots of batter before it’s “right”. But 46% think mishaps are part of the experience of pancake day.

In relation to nutrition, Pancakes are not the greatest to consume on a regular basis unfortunately. They are made with white flour, which means that the fibre contents in them can be low. So a great alternative would be to make pancakes with wholemeal flour, as the fibre content in them would be greater, which can help with the support of the bowel. As you can see from my picture below, I try to add healthy toppings like strawberries, blueberries etc to increase the vitamin/mineral content of the meal. I believe that any meal can be adapted to make it more healthier. 

Regardless of the research the aim of Pancake day is to celebrate this with loved ones, enjoy and learn with experience. Over time we will get better and better. My pancake below is not one of my finest experiences, however this is something that I am constantly working on!