Spring is finally round the corner, and hopefully with it some warmth and sunshine so we can get outside to barbecue the way nature intended. Until then though, you still have patio heaters and fire pits to keep you warm if you fancy barbecuing on a colder day.
Pancake day comes rather late this year, on the 1st of March instead of mid-February (last year we had it on the 16th of February), but at least we’ll be edging closer to the longer spring days when it hits.
To take advantage of this late pancake day, in this blog we’ll be looking at how you can make perfectly barbecued pancakes with the right equipment. Did you even know you could make barbecued pancakes? Well, you do now!
Read on to find out more about pancakes, barbecuing them, and other upcoming spring treats – including what’s in season in the month of March.
So How Did Pancake Day Begin?
Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday as it’s also known, started off as the traditional feast the evening before Lent. Shrove comes from shrive, which means to gain release from guilt of one’s sins by confession or repenting. Shrove Tuesday was named after the Christian custom to be shriven, or forgiven for sins, before the start of Lent.
For many societies it became traditional to eat pancakes amongst other foods that were made with butter, eggs, and fat. The very kinds of foods that would be given up during Lent.
The specific British Christian tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday dates as far back as the 16th century, and with pancakes being so good, it’s easy to see why the tradition continues today.
Pancake Day in Other Countries
In other countries, pancake day is known as “Mardi Gras” which means “Fat Tuesday” in French. Fat Tuesday was named for the last night of filling up on rich, fatty foods before giving them up as Lent sacrifices and fasting throughout the season.
Mardi Gras is also known as the famously wild festival held in New Orleans in America, where they eat everything from seafood (crawfish and oysters) to po’ boy sandwiches, meat, dirty rice and red bean dishes. Plus, Bananas Foster, which is a dessert made of bananas, vanilla ice cream, brown sugar, cinnamon and dark rum.
They also have pancakes with food colouring that match the festival colours of green, purple and yellow. So if you want to make pancake day even more interesting, take some inspiration from Mardi Gras and add some food colouring to the mix.
It’s popular to wear masks at the New Orleans Mardi Gras Carnival, so you could even make some pancakes based on masks. It’s up to you to wear them, eat them, or both!
Whilst America doesn’t technically celebrate Pancake Day like we do in the UK. Every day is pancake day in the USA, it’s a breakfast staple in the American diet.
Why Make Pancakes Outside on the Barbecue?
Weather permitting, you’ll have nice cool fresh air to keep you at a good temperature while you hover over the hot barbecue. You can also flip the pancakes as high as you like without the limits of the kitchen ceiling, perhaps you can even make a fun game out of it with your friends or children – just make sure the wind doesn’t blow them away.
In fact, with Pancake Day there are also “pancake races” similar to an egg and spoon race but with flipping a pancake in a pan while running. This tradition is said to have originated in 1445 when a housewife from Buckinghamshire was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for service. She ran to the church, still carrying her frying pan and tossing the pancake to prevent it from burning.
Seasonal Foods for March and Sweet Pancakes
Amongst many fruits and vegetables, bananas and lemons are in season in March, perfect to go with your pancakes. Lemon and sugar on a pancake are all you really need to enjoy, but if you want a proper sweet dessert pancake then you can chop up some bananas or strawberries and add some vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce/spread.
According to BBC’s “goodfood” website, pork is also in season in the UK in March. Perfect timing for making some savoury bacon pancakes with maple syrup. You can make them thick and fluffy American style with the bacon on top, or sandwiched in between. You could also make them thin and turn it into a tasty wrap.
Since you’re barbecuing already, you might as well throw on some meat, beef steak and chicken. You can even add in some cheese, spinach and salt – like this recipe for a stuffed pancake here. You can also put these ingredients in some thin pancake wraps and you’ve got an excellent pancake day dinner.
Spring onions are also in season. For an alternative way of celebrating pancake day, you can have Chinese style super thin pancakes with duck, spring onions and some hoisin sauce. It’s actually a Chinese tradition to eat spring pancakes on a day called Lichun to celebrate the start of spring.
For another regional pancake variant, you have Russian blinis. Mini blinis have become popular in the UK, served with sour cream or smoked salmon. This party style food could make for the perfect appetiser at your next barbecue gathering.
For something completely different from pancakes; potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli is also in season, just in time for this barbecue side recipe.
Making the perfect pancakes should be easy with our multi surface barbecues. So break out the eggs (pun intended), bring the flour, milk, sugar and any other topping or way you want to make your pancakes, and get ready for a pancake day to remember.
But why limit it to just one day? Perhaps your successfully barbecued pancakes will start a trend to bring out the pancakes more frequently over this spring and summer.