On Tuesday I wasn't even aware that it was the Shrove one until I sat down in the evening to a slew of "Pancakes = Nomz" messages on Facebook, and by that point I was too knackered to go out again and didn't have the ingredients to hand (don't worry; this story has a happy ending).
Apparently pancakes are traditional on Shrove Tuesday because they're a good way of using up all of the naughty things that you shouldn't eat during lent. Not sure why milk, eggs and flour are so evil but never mind. (Oh... It's the Nutella - of course.) These three ingredients are supposed to be ubiqutous - who doesn't have a half used packet of flour at the back of a cupboard? Um, well, me! As you'll already know if you've tried to feed me in the last few years: I'm allergic to gluten.
At this point, whether you already knew that or not, you've probably got an "Aw, poor girl" look on your face. No, I can't eat normal bread or cakes or biscuits or pizza or pasta or croissants or muffins or cookies or sandwiches or toast or fish and chips (the batter) or even the great traditional February pancakes. Don't worry, your reactions (of pity and confusion: "what on earth does this woman eat then?!?") are totally normal, if completely misguided.
You see, I did suffer in the beginning - I didn't know what I could eat either. How can you eat lunch if a sandwich isn't involved? What do you order on a Friday night when pizza is out of the question? What should I replace my morning toasted bagels with? And what about Shrove Tuesday!?!?!? Well, at least I can answer the last question for you now:
This is my Shrove Saturday lunch; pancakes, plums and cream.
- The pancakes are made from a mashed banana, a beaten egg and a little coconut flour (desiccated coconut works as a substitute, but really you can just leave it out and you won't miss it - in the same way that you won't miss the flour at all).
- The plums were cooked in "some" butter until I got bored (I'm so scientific, me) then sprinkled with cinnamon. I've done this with apples and peaches too, or you can just pile strawberries on top.
- The cream is actually coconut cream (if you're going to fuss about with your diet then why not go the whole hog and cut down on dairy too?)
Even though my food photography skills are sorely lacking, this meal tasted so good that it inspired my second blog post in two and a half months. Those are some pretty good pancakes!
So, I guess what I'm really trying to say here is this; the next time someone tells you that they can't eat wheat products don't feel sorry for us. You should feel jealous of us! ;)
PS - almost all of the links in this post are to recipes that don't contain anything gluteny. Whether you give up grains or not is entirely up to you, but you'd be surprised how great it tastes being gluten free!