It only happens once a year, but today is a highlight of the calendar for those who love weird treats: Shrove Tuesday.
Christian tradition dictates that Shrove Tuesday always takes place on the eve of Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent, so it varies from year to year.
As Easter is normally a time of fasting, the day was seen as a last chance to use up leftover “indulgences”, such as milk and sugar.
The name Mardi Gras comes from the word shrive, which means absolution. Shrove Tuesday is documented to have been celebrated in one form or another since around 1000 AD.
In recent years, ‘Pancake Tuesday’ has been celebrated around the world and recipes have become more adventurous and varied, while healthy options have also grown in popularity. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose the toppings and little extras that tickle your fancy.
The Belfast Telegraph caught up with Northern Irish chef and healthy food enthusiast Jen Curran to get the inside scoop on some delicious pancake recipes for this year’s Mardi Gras.
First up we have ‘Notella’ banana pancakes. This recipe will make seven pancakes – so it’s up to you how many people serve!
As for the ingredients, for the pancakes themselves you will need: 120g gluten-free oats; a teaspoon of baking powder; a teaspoon of vanilla extract; a tablespoon of chia seeds; a cup of milk of your choice (and more if needed); oil for cooking; and two bananas on top.
To spread the ‘Notella’ on it, you will need: 100g roasted hazelnuts; a tablespoon of melted coconut oil; two tablespoons of cocoa or cocoa powder; two tablespoons of maple syrup; and five tablespoons of boiling water (more if needed).
Now let’s get to cooking. For the “Notella” spread, blend your hazelnuts in a blender until they start to look like nut butter, then add all the other ingredients. If you want your spread to be thinner, add more water. When finished, store at room temperature.
For the pancakes, mix your rolled oats with the baking powder and chia seeds in a blender until they look like flour – the finer the better, the pancakes will hold together . Then, add it to a bowl and gradually pour in a cup of milk of your choice, whisking as you go. Once all the milk is in, add the vanilla extract.
Get out a good nonstick skillet and add a tablespoon of coconut oil before adding your pancake mix. Using a quarter measuring cup will give you seven pancakes.
Cook the pancakes over medium heat for a few minutes on each side. If the dough thickens as it hardens, you can add a little milk. Finish with your spread and bananas and you’re good to go.
Next, we have Jen’s “chocolate nut stack.”
You will need: 120 g roasted hazelnuts; 100g gluten-free oats; a tablespoon of chia seeds; three tablespoons of cocoa powder; a teaspoon of baking powder; two tablespoons of maple syrup; a shot of salt; and a cup and three quarters of milk (and more if needed).
For cooking, mix your rolled oats, 80g of hazelnuts, chia seeds and salt and baking powder in a blender until they look like flour. Again, the thinner the better your pancakes will hold together. Then add it to a bowl and pour in the milk gradually, whisking as you go, and once all the milk is in, add the maple syrup. Coarsely chop the remaining 40 g of hazelnuts and add them to the batter as well.
Now add a teaspoon of coconut oil to a nonstick pan and cook over medium heat for a few minutes on each side. Using a quarter cup measure, this will give you seven pancakes.
You can also top with banana, yogurt, nut butter, berries, or whatever tickles your taste buds.
Jen said: “I think what people really want is tasty food, but if you can add extra nutrients to it, why not! As long as you don’t compromise on taste and still enjoy the meal, it doesn’t hurt that it’s also good for you.
“For me, food should be an enjoyable experience first and foremost and Pancake Tuesday is a day for fun. No need to take it seriously. We’ve all returned a bad pancake or two afterwards – myself included.