It’s Shrove Tuesday or ‘Pancake Day’ – a fabulous excuse to fill your bellies full of pancakes!
Not just an excuse to be a piggy on pancakes!
Unlike many newfangled food days that have sprung up recently, Pancake Day has an important religious significance for many Christians, Methodists and Roman Catholics. It’s the day of feast before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. A day to clean the soul, confess sins and receive forgiveness before 40 days of abstinence begins leading up to the Easter celebrations.
Lent is sometimes likened to the Muslim observance of Ramadan as there are a number of similarities between the two. The Quran says a month of fasting from daybreak to sundown is obligatory for all Muslims, with a few exceptions (2:183-185). The Bible, although not stating fasting as compulsory, does say that Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness (Mt 4:2), with his disciples criticized for not fasting (Mk 2:18-20). This led to some devout Christians choosing to fast during Lent, although unlike Muslims, not time specific. What has become more commonly practiced is a change in diet. Christians tend to give something up for 40 days e.g. meat, eggs, sugar or fat. Both Ramadan and Lent end in celebration – Ramadan with a day of fast breaking (Eid or Bayram) and special prayers and offerings given to those less fortunate. Lent ends with Easter, the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, a feast with sugar and the giving of chocolate eggs and sweets.
Pancake Day in Turkey – Head out and enjoy some Gozleme Today (Turkish pancakes)
Pancake Day isn’t traditionally celebrated in Turkey, although you will find a few restaurants frequented by foreigners will have crepes on the menu today. The Turks do love pancakes – although they are not the same. Gozleme is the Turkish pancake equivalent and a very common street food you find all over Turkey. Head over to street markets like Fethiye Market today and you will see the local women making them in the covered make shift cafes. Gozleme tends to be filled rather than topped with additions. Normal fillings are savoury e.g. a mix of ‘lor’ (like Feta) with parsley or herbs, mince meat and onion, or yellow cheese and mashed potato. Head along and try some, it’s available all year and remarkably tasty.
Traditional Foolproof Pancake Recipe (Crepe Style):
Pancakes are quick and easy to make and perfect for cooking up with the kids. Whether you observe the religious significance of the day or not, Pancake Day is a great excuse to whip up a quick batter and get flipping! Here’s a quick recipe for foolproof, easy flip pancakes. It makes around 10 and you can choose the topping – lemon and sugar, honey, chocolate sauce or bananas are always popular, or try the beautiful fresh fruit and strawberries available on the local markets around Turkey.
100g Plain Flour
Pinch of salt
Vegetable Oil/butter for frying.
Your choice of sweet or savory toppings.
Pop eggs, milk, flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl or large jug and blend until well combined and a smooth batter forms. Some will say to let it rest for 20 minutes or so but you can also use the batter straight away if you wish (there’s not much difference).
Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Brush a little cooking oil or butter around the pan until melted.
Slowly pour or ladle a little batter into the centre of the pan and twist the pan around until the batter spreads in a thin layer covering the bottom of the pan. Place back on the heat and wait for around a minute or until you see small bubbles start appearing in the batter.
Shake the pan to free the pancake (it should move easily of cooked). Either flip the pancake over using a utensil, or try your hand at tossing it over using the pan.
Serve warm with your choice of toppings.
Are you celebrating Pancake Day in Turkey? Do let us know and comment below.
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