Pancake Day (also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday) was traditionally a day of excess and indulgence before the strict fasting of Lent set in. Today, though, it’s really just an excuse to stuff our faces with pancakes because we can. You can be clever, though and save money on Pancake Day by clearing out your cupboards.
Rather than a day of excess, you can use Pancake Day as an excuse to save some money by using up all those odds and ends that are lurking at the back of your cupboards or at the bottom of your freezer. Wrapping food in a nice, cheap, easy-to-make pancake is also a great way of bulking up a main meal for the whole family.
Don’t shy away from being experimental with your leftovers either. A recent survey from Morrisons has shown that one in ten Brits like their toppings strange, such as gravy, fried eggs or fried liver and sausages. Londoners are the most adventurous and those in the North East are more likely to enjoy their pancakes deep fried. However if you fancy something a little healthier you can always use wholewheat flour to make it even more nutritious.
If you want to make the day lots of fun for the kids, check out Activity Village. They have loads of great ideas not just for recipes, but for all kinds of games and activities you can all enjoy together.
When is Pancake Day?
Pancake Day 2020 is on Tuesday 25th February.
Savoury recipe ideas
Although they’re so simple, pancakes are actually incredibly versatile. If you’re ready to branch out and make a whole meal of it, you can whip up some savoury pancakes using:
Ends of cheese left in the fridge mixed with sauteed vegetables.
Any solitary eggs that have been left in the fridge egg rack. Bind them with bacon bits, chopped peppers and some cream or milk if you don’t have any cream.
You can also use up that wholemeal flour you never use in the batter, which will make your savoury pancakes healthier.
Don’t scrimp on condiments:
Dig out some frozen turkey left over from Christmas and team it up with the leftover cranberry sauce that you’re never going to use.
Or have leftover curry sauce with some chicken, yoghurt and salad in a curry pancake.
Have the remnants of the plum sauce bottle with duck crepes.
Use any mustard that’s been untouched for months to make a creamy mustard sauce. Then all you need to add is chicken or pork and to finish it off, dip your pancake in any old apple sauce you have lying around.
Use up leftover wine
Make a white wine bechamel sauce to bind any ingredients you want to put in your pancakes together, just like an authentic French crepe.
You can add a bit of red wine to a bolognese sauce using any leftover veggies, old tomato puree from the fridge door and mince from the bottom of the freezer. You can then stuff your pancakes with the sauce, cover them with cheese and pop them in the oven, making a dish to feed the whole family.
Here are a further two pancake recipes that contribute towards your five a day courtesy of Canned Food UK.
1 x 395g can apple pie filling
1 x 425g can custard
250g plain flour
4 medium eggs
650ml semi-skimmed milk
5 Devonshire toffees cut into chunks
75g caster sugar
2 tbsp Calvados (optional)
Sunflower oil, to fry
Pinch of salt
To make the pancakes, sift the flour into a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and a little of the milk. Whisk together until well mixed.
Whisking continuously, add the remaining milk, the sugar and Calvados. Heat a 25cm non-stick frying pan and lightly oil the base. Add enough batter into the hot pan to cover the base.
Heat for 45-55 seconds on each side, until golden. Keep the pancakes warm.
Pour the apple filling into a pan, add the toffee. Heat gently until just simmering but not boiling.
Pour the custard into a small pan and heat gently for 2-3 minutes until just simmering.
Spoon the custard onto half the pancake and top with the apple filling. Fold the pancake over and serve.
Mini Dip Pancakes
125g self-raising flour
5ml (1 level teaspoon) baking powder
1 medium-sized beaten egg
145g can processed peas, drained
165g can corn niblets, drained
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbs Greek yoghurt
Make a ‘well’ in 125g self-raising flour and 5ml (1 level teaspoon) baking powder. Add 1 medium-sized beaten egg. Gradually add 150ml milk and mix to a smooth batter.
Carefully mix 1 x 145g can processed peas and 1 x 165g can corn niblets (both drained).
Heat a non-stick frying pan and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Use a tablespoon to drop a spoonful of the mixture into the pan.
Cook each pancake for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
How to serve: Serve with halved cherry tomatoes, and a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt mixed with diced cucumber.
Sweet recipe ideas
That’s the main course out of the way; now on to the fun bit:
Use up all those leftover bits of ice cream or any frozen fruit or abandoned tins of peaches from the larder by having them with your pancakes.
Have fun with the kids and use up leftover packets of cake decorations, sprinkles, dried fruits or glace cherries by decorating pancakes before you gobble them up.
Clear out the larder by spreading jams, jellies and spreads on your pancakes, but perhaps not all at the same time.
Get the Nutella out with some sliced bananas and a scoop of ice cream and you have the real thing!
Need more inspiration?
If you’ve only got a bizarre combination of dill pickles and sardines and you really don’t know what to do with them,
If pancakes really aren’t your idea of a gourmet feast, all these tips (probably except those for the sweet pancakes!) work brilliantly with omelettes.
Have fun thinking up some weird and wonderful combinations and save money at the same time.
If you can’t be bothered to cook your own pancakes, try a pancake restaurant such as (in London) Dudley’s Pancake House and My Old Dutch.
Book your meal through OpenTable.co.uk to be sure you get a reservation on the busiest pancake event of the season and earn extra points towards your next OpenTable meal.
How to save and make money during Lent
Even if you’ve been good and used up all those odds and ends that would have gone to waste, the money saving doesn’t end on Shrove Tuesday. Lent is a great time to give up things you don’t really need in order to save some money, pay off any debts you have from Christmas or just contribute to something you might be saving up for.
All the standard things to give up will of course save you a packet.
No Starbucks for 40 days will save you at least £80.
If you’re willing to take on a bit more of a challenge, like giving up alcohol, you could really save loads of money.
If you’re a frequent restaurant-goer, why not give up meals out for 40 days? Make staying in the new eating out. It’s only just over a month and by saving £70 a week for you and your partner to go out for dinner, you could have enough to go on a mini-break together to celebrate the end of Lent.
If you’re struggling to find odds and ends in the house, buy from Tesco’s Value and Asda’s Smart Price ranges.