Shrove Tuesday, which heralds the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, is not far off…… This year it falls on February 17th. Traditionally, it is the day when Christians indulge in rich foods and use up the contents of their larders in preparation for the fasting and religious observations of the weeks leading up to Easter. It is now commonly known as ‘Pancake Day’ and is celebrated with all things pancake, whether Christian or not!
Although we mainly make, flip and eat pancakes, we also seem to have a thing for ‘racing’ with them. This involves attempting to out-run fellow pancake racers whilst holding a pancake in a frying pan and trying not to drop it. Pancake races are held across the country in schools and towns, both for fun and to raise money for charity.
As for traditional pancake flipping, I confess that I am no good at all….. My past incompetence has only lead to disastrous breakages, sticky ceilings and pancake carpets, so I tend to stick to turning them with a spatula…… less fun I admit, but it saves a lot of grief!
Gluten free pancakes are actually pretty easy to make and can be knocked up with a whole variety of flours alternative to wheat. This particular batter is made with home-ground oat flour which if you can tolerate it (some coeliacs can be sensitive to the protein Avenin found in oats), makes for a really healthy pancake.
If you are Coeliac and can eat oats (we are lucky enough to be able to), make absolutely sure your oats are certified gluten free to avoid cross-contamination issues. You can buy oat flour ready ground, but to be honest it is so easy to make (and far cheaper), that I always home-grind and store a stash in an airtight container.
Oat pancakes have a lovely wholesome texture and go well with both sweet and savoury fillings. I am a big fan of savoury pancakes……… they are fantastically versatile on the filling front and can be stuffed with all your favourite ingredients. Mine were filled with sliced baby leek and button mushrooms which had been gently fried until golden, mixed with warm Tuna and topped with a sprinkling of salty Parmesan cheese.
Best of all, these pancakes are a really fun way to get kids to eat a healthy meal. We ate them as a DIY pancake night! My daughter loved the simplicity of making the batter (which only contains good stuff) and really enjoyed cooking them with me, then filling her own pancakes with her favourite sausage, cheese and sweetcorn.
I am sharing my pancakes as my third and final offering to January’s Family Foodies challenge with Lou at Eat Your Veg and Vanesther at Bangers & Mash. These pancakes are very nutritious and make the perfect canvas for your healthy kids to fill with lots more good stuff.
Oat Pancakes (makes 6 pancakes)
- Blend or whisk together the flour, salt, eggs and milk until airy and smooth. Blending in a blender gets best results.
- Leave to stand for about 45 minutes.
- Blend or whisk again for 10 to 20 seconds and pour into a jug.
- Drizzle a tiny amount of oil into a pancake pan/small frying pan and wipe off any excess with kitchen towel. Heat the pan over a medium-high heat allowing to get good and hot.
- Pour a little pancake batter into the pan and tilt the pan to swirl it round so that it covers the base.
- Cook for a couple of minutes and when the underside is golden, turn the pancake over using a silicone spatula (or if you are really clever, flip it!).
- Cook the other side for a couple of minutes and then either eat straight away or transfer to a heat proof plate. Cover with another plate to keep warm or cover and place in the oven on a low heat setting until you are ready to eat.