Shrove Tuesday

Possum is 6 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 7 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

 

Did you know that Shrovetide is actually the two days before Ash Wednesday?  It is the end of the Carnival season that started at Easter (from Latin carnelevare, indicating abstaining from meat during Lent)?  No, neither did I.  You can read more about it here: http://www.fisheaters.com/customsseptuagesima2.html 

I just wanted to remember what “shrove” meant.  It comes from the archaic verb to shrive or to confess, recalling the old custom of confessing sins prior to Lent.

What I do know that we eat all those pancakes to try and use up all the goodies that we used to have to fast from for Lent.  Dietary requirements are not so strict these days, but the spirit is the same.

And so I make pancakes.  And pancakes.

I made so many pancakes that we ended up with leftovers.  And tummy aches.  I was looking forward to Ash Wednesday by Tuesday evening!

So what did our menu look like?

This year it was necessary for me to forgo our usual blinis.  DH and I fell in love with Russian blinis back in 2004.  I find them so much work to make, so I tend to only do them once a year.  But by the time I have made all the milky crepes, filled them, folded and rolled them, fried them in butter… well I wasn’t getting up that early this year.  (How do those Mamushkas make them every morning??)

Instead we had American-style, apple pancakes for breakfast.  Well, not DH.  Even they were a bit slow making it to the table for him before work (besides, fighting the vultures children off to get one, was a bit gruesome.)

I thought about a German pancake for lunch, but with the dinner plans I just knew that I needed something else to eat instead.

Dessert first.  I made two different kinds of English-style pancakes (you know, like a crepe only a bit thicker and cooked on both sides).  The first were the plain ones that were brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar prior to rolling.  These were ready for toppings of choice: maple syrup, lemon and sugar, cinnamon sugar…  The second were my classic chocolate pancakes – made with a cocoa batter.  I normally serve these rolled and filled with lingonberries and whipped cream, but had to substitute blackberry jam for the lingonberries and really it wasn’t the same.

But now…. drum roll… my piece de la resistance… (drum roll)  Peking Chicken!!

Yes, it is a dish of my own invention, if inspired by another, slightly more famous dish.

I started with a bbq chicken from the supermarket (needs must, and it wouldn’t have happened any other way),  I brought it home and made a quick marinade of (approximately):

  • ~ teaspoon raw castor sugar
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ~ 1/8 teaspoon ground star anise
  • ~ 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Good, healthy slurp of sherry ~ 1/4 to 1/3 cup (let’s hope it was the cooking sherry – I can never remember which one is mine for cooking and which one is DH’s posh drinking sherry.  It tasted good either way!)

I slopped this all over the chicken and whacked it back in the oven to crisp up.  (After a little I pulled all the skin off and put the skin back in so that it could go really crispy without drying out the meat too much.)

Then there were the mandarin pancakes.  I am not sure how I would manage these next time.  I ended up needing to use a LOT of flour to roll them out and they had a floury taste because of it.  Perhaps practice would help with this!

Manadrin Pancakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • sesame oil (a whole lot more than you would think!)
  • flour to stop it sticking to the bench in a gluey mess
  • So, really tricky here, mix the flour and water into a dough and knead it a little.
  • IMG_7330
  • Roll it out to about 5-7mm thick.
  • IMG_7332
  • Cut in circles with a scone cutter (about 10cm across)IMG_7333
  • Brush one side of the circles with sesame oil and put 2 circles together – oily sides together.
  • Now roll them again, nice and thin.
  • Dry fry the pancakes (in a non-stick pan if possible).  It is about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 on the second.
  • IMG_7334IMG_7335
  • When they are done, you can peel the two pancakes apart.
  • IMG_7337

Voila!

IMG_7336

Now, roll these up with chopped shallots, hoisin sauce, chicken meat and a bit of crunchy skin.  In our case we added in a bit of lettuce, too.

Super yum.

In fact, so yummy that I forgot to take photos of the finished item before we gobbled them all up!  Oops.

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