I have always loved Pancake Day. Growing up, it was always my Dad who took over the frying pan duties (with much greater success than his days behind the barbecue). At our house, there were always enough pancakes to feed our family of six, six times over. Lucky really, as we always managed to collect extra people at mealtimes, when, as if on cue, hungry friends would knock on the door, always just in time for supper.
My Mum used to try to enforce the rule that we have ‘a proper dinner’ first, but in the end she admitted defeat and we were allowed pancakes followed by more pancakes, without a floret of broccoli in sight. After several attempts making various Blue Peter-inspired fillings, we always seemed to revert back to the delicious simplicity of lemon and sugar, which my siblings and I always liked the best, except when my older sisters were on a diet and tried artificial sweetener. Don’t try it at home. The pancakes bubble up and tastes like fizzy fish sweets – but not in a good way. You have been warned. As we grow up, tastes move on and, although I wouldn’t dream of turning my nose up at the classic lemon and sugar pancake, my mind has opened up to other toppings.
My gluten-free boyfriend and I can’t get enough of these rice flour pancakes. They are delicious with bacon and grilled tomatoes or ratatouille and also make an excellent alternative to pasta for roll-your-own ‘cannelloni’ – proof, if ever needed that gluten-free doesn’t have to be dull. But sometimes, just sometimes, only sweet will do.
My wheat-intolerant little sister always asks me to make her banana pancakes with blueberry syrup when she comes to stay, while my boyfriend prefers his with maple syrup and bacon. Personally, I like Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit on mine. This Pancake Day, I’m planning to eat pancakes in different guises at every meal. They are so versatile that sticking solely to the lemon and sugar would be a flipping shame.