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Pancakes for breakfast: not only on Shrove Tuesday

Sun, 27 February, 2022

The Pancake Day is coming or been and gone, depending on when you’re reading this. If it’s still time to whip up pancake batter using my fool proof recipe and fill them with spinach and blue cheese, like I do. There’s no reason on Earth why pancakes should be sweet, whether they are American pancakes, crêpes, buckwheat galettes, Scotch pancakes or drop scones. There is an amazing plethora of names for what originally was, basically, a kind of flatbread, judging only from the word itself. And if somebody should pipe up that it must surely be sweet then, being ‘cake’, I’ll sling back ‘fishcakes’ at them.

I wonder if you, like me, exclaim every year that pancakes can be made all year round, not just on Pancake Day? And then another year goes by without you making a single one again. Apart from the breakfast kind which commonly is the American style pancake - the mix closer in texture and taste to drop scones, aka Scotch pancakes. Which is lovely too and arguably easier to put together in the short time for breakfast than making a batch of crêpes. Unless you do like they do with waffles: make a big batch and freeze it, then heat up a couple at a time in a pan (crêpes) or a toaster (waffles).

It is, incidentally, a very good idea to have a generous breakfast so pancakes definitely should not be just for Shrove Tuesday. The old adage: breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper makes a lot of sense scientifically. I have even encountered a more radical version: breakfast alone, lunch with a friend and give your dinner to your enemy – how about that? It is all to do with metabolism of course: foods eaten earlier in the day are more easily digested, even if they are rich and/or carbs. That idea of cake for breakfast isn’t so daft, you see?

But it isn’t so clear cut, I think: some people (and scientists admit there’s nothing wrong with that) simply do not feel hungry before midday so force-feeding themselves porridge at 7 in the morning is pointless. They will eat as much at lunchtime anyway; I know because I used to be very much like that.

Should you be a breakfast person though, make sure you have varied and balanced brekkie diet, time and circumstances allowing. Cereal and toast, the most popular breakfast forms in the UK, would be very good if both were homemade, low on sugar and high in fibre. But a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties with (incongruously) skimmed milk or a slice of toasted Hovis White laden with jam are not the best options. What is? And it better be quick and easy to prepare.

Swap the Hovis for Vogel’s or a similar brand (they are not paying me) full of wholegrain, seeds and less processed wheat. Ditch the jam; better have a couple of slices of bacon cooked in a batch at the weekend and refreshed in a microwave, or a fried egg. It takes about 30 seconds to scramble an egg – probably as long as opening a packet of oversugared cereal. And if you stick a slice of tomato into that sarnie too, it will make a wholesome meal.

It takes only minutes of your weekend to mix homemade granola plus half an hour to toast it. It’s cheaper and you know exactly what goes into it both in terms of what you like as well as (no) additives and (less) sugar.

Prepare a bowl of overnight oats for the following morning even if you wouldn’t dream of making your own yoghurt. If you can programme your oven to come on in the morning, make a dish of baked buttermilk oatmeal – and another for the freezer. Oats are such a good thing for breakfast, your gut will squeal with delight.

Going back to the idea of cake for breakfast, it really isn’t so unreasonable. The French with their croissants and pain du chocolat know what they are doing: sweet pastry, if you must have it, first thing in the morning is undeniably better than last thing at night. So if you’re of baking disposition, make a batch of pistachio morning buns kept in the freezer and defrosted overnight in required portions.

And if you do have a few minutes of time in the morning and enjoy porridge as much as I do, remember it can be prepared in the saucepan the night before and sat on the hob while you are getting dressed. Classic oats porridge, millet porridge, semolina or even savoury porridge are all gorgeous breakfast options.

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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