Hello, again my beloved readers! I know that I do not usually post this frequently, but as this Tuesday was Pancake day and I finally managed to ‘celebrate it’, I decided to write about it.
Now, what is pancake day about and why do people make such big deal out of it? Firstly, pancake day started with the Christian calendar and the beginning of Lent (a period of 40 days which comes before Easter) and starts with Ash Wednesday. So, the day before Lent starts is known as Shrove Tuesday or PANCAKE DAY. So, what is Shrove Tuesday? According to the Telegraph: ‘The word Shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. Shrove day gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.’ There you go, a little bit of history before talking about the indulgent world of lovely, fluffy, delightful pancakes.
But, why pancakes? I will use the Telegraph again as a source. Pancakes were part of a pagan holiday, when people would eat rounded food, symbolising the sun and as eggs and milk were considered ‘rich and indulgent’ ingredients, pancakes were the perfect option to do that.
Therefore, British have their own way of making pancakes, the two most famous recipes (and I do apologise if you are from either Wales or North Ireland, no harm intended) are Scottish and English pancakes. Scottish are fluffy, not very large pancakes (like the American version of them) and for me, these pancakes are better served with sweet toppings, such as chocolate syrup, maple syrup, honey, Nutella, caramel, all types of jam. And if you are such a big eater like me, topped up with pieces of chocolate bars, M&Ms, biscuits and fruits (do not forget the five a day). English pancakes are quite different, the batter does not contain baking soda or ingredients to raise them. Therefore, they are slim and large (they look a little bit like a crepe, BUT do not say that in England or do not say to the French that their delicious crepes look like English pancakes) and I personally prefer these topped with savoury toppings, such as spinach, ratatouille, cooked aubergines. They also can be filled with bacon, LOTS of cheese and basically any savoury food that you like to eat with pancakes, but the traditional English pancake is served with some caster (and I have seen also icing) sugar and some lemon juice (and I must say, it is delicious).
As expected, here in London pancake day is a big day. The most interesting events (or at least for me) are the races, MPs vs journalists, people who want to participate and even bankers and business people (yep, politicians and business people do participate in these events too) competing against other teams in a silly buy extremely hilarious race where you must run as fast as you can whilst flipping a pancake in a pan. It does sound crazy, there are also challenges organised by different restaurants where you must finish a HUGE pile of pancakes and a LARGE milkshake as fast as you can. Sounds a little bit unhealthy (for those who like to keep it fit) but is a good fun AND you help charity, it is a win-win for me.
These races take place in different locations around London. If you are interested in attending one next time, or you will be visiting London and want to attend the places where you can see those are the following: Greenwich Market, Old Truman Brewery, Borough Market, the dinner on the Strand. But to be honest, these are the most famous ones, you just need to type pancake day events and there will be a long list of things to do.
Now, there are restaurants where you can have delicious pancakes all year long but you might want to have them during pancake day. My personal favourite is ‘My old Dutch’. There are three branches, one in Holborn (near to Angelo’s job, how lucky is this man? I will KILL to have a job in central London, such a good location), one in Kensington and one in Chelsea (surprise surprise). They have Scottish type pancakes and English pancakes. All type of toppings that you can imagine (including these kinds of ‘food porn Instagram thing’ toppings) AND you can ask for your favourite topping with gluten or dairy free ingredients. I arrived at 10 to 4 p.m. at the restaurant and started to queue. There were only twelve people ahead of me so I thought it was ok, but as it was their busiest day, you wouldn’t be able to get seated if your companion hadn’t arrived. When I got to the front of the queue, I had to wait 45 minutes until Angelo arrived (to be fair, I knew he finishes at 5, but I wanted to make sure that we will get a table). It was worthy, we got a table for two (some people had to share tables as it was PACKED) and ordered. I ordered a ratatouille English pancake with spinach and ‘cheese’, Angelo asked for the speciality of the house, the ‘Spicy Dutch’ with pepperoni, chorizo, cheese, red chillies and tomato sauce. All the photos will be at the end of the post but my pancake was AMAZING, so tasty and full of flavours! But OF COURSE, we must have a sweet one so we ordered Scottish pancakes with sweet toppings to share. My God, six pancakes topped with chocolate syrup, pieces of treat and M&Ms and a pot of Nutella, with two vanilla ice cream scoops. I strongly recommend this restaurant, plenty of options, very polite and amicable staff, nice cosy interiors and of course very delicious food. You won’t regret it!
I hope you enjoyed this post, have you celebrated pancake day? Do you like pancakes or are they not your cup of tea? I certainly adore pancakes. Enjoy the photos and thanks for reading! I am adding an article on TimeOut London where you can see other great pancake restaurants and I am certainly going to try them out at some point! But if you are interested in booking ahead (which I extremely recommend) I hope you find it useful! Bye!
our brews and the savoury pancakes
The scottish style delicious and perfect, sweet pancakes.