Shrove Tuesday is 12 February, marking the day before Lent. Traditionally this was the time to use up all the fatty good things like eggs and milk before embarking on 40 days of fasting and abstinence before Easter. In these less Godly times, however, it’s more of an excuse to run around with a frying pan. Here are some of the events taking place this year:
Better Bankside Annual Charity Pancake Day Race
Teams of pancake flippers will run relays through Borough Market from 12.30pm (free), in aid of Paintings in Hospitals. If you’re not taking part you can buy pancakes from Baxter’s in the market and the Refectory in Southwark Cathedral, and Hayley Edwards will be making tasty toppings in the Demonstration Kitchen.
Great Spitalfields Pancake Race
Over at the Truman Brewery there’s more pancake relay racing, this time organised by Alternative Arts to benefit London’s Air Ambulance. Csaba’s Hungarian Creperie provide the pancakes, the Lost Marbles String Band provide the music and the E Team provide clowns. 12.30pm start, free.
Parliamentary Pancake Race
Members of the Commons, Lords and the media run flipping around Victoria Tower Gardens to raise funds for Rehab UK. Natasha Kaplinsky will start everything off at 10.15am, free to watch.
Poulters Company Pancake Race
The most colourful race will be at Guildhall Yard arranged by the Worshipful Company of Poulters. Featuring members of the City’s Livery companies in traditional or fancy dress, they’ll also bring symbols of their trade. Starts at 12pm, free.
Greenwich Market Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race
Greenwich hosts its first pancake race and raises money for Macmillan from 1pm, children’s races from 4pm. There are prizes for best fancy dress and of course, pancakes on sale all day. Free to watch.
Annual Breakfast Club Pancake Challenge
If your charitable streak runs more to eating than running, go to The Breakfast Club in Hoxton or Spitalfields from 7.30pm (register in advance) and try to eat 12 pancakes in 20 minutes. If you manage it, you get dinner and drinks for yourself and six friends. If you lose, you pay for your pancakes and the proceeds go to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity.
Fortnum & Mason
Find out how to make the perfect pancake at the posh people’s grocer on Piccadilly. Head to the demonstration kitchen on the 1st floor from 11am, free.
- 225g / 8 oz plain flour or all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
- 2 large, fresh eggs
- 600ml / 2½ cups/ milk
- 2 tsp melted butter plus melted butter for cooking
Makes 12 pancakes
- Sieve the flour into a large baking bowl,add the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and beat well until smooth and lump free.
- Add half the milk and the 2 tsp of butter, beat well. Add the remaining milk and stir.
- Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
- Lightly grease a pancake pan or frying pan with a little melted butter, heat until very hot and add a ladle of batter to evenly and thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden. Flip over (if you are really brave try tossing the pancake in the air, great fun) and cook on the other side for approx 30 seconds.
- Remove the pancake from the pan, place on a sheet of kitchen paper and keep warm. Continue as above until all the batter is used up.
On Pancake Day, pancakes are traditionally eaten sprinkled with sugar and a squeeze of lemon. However, serve as you like with jam, Golden Syrup, honey, chocolate spread; whatever takes your fancy.