Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PS: Happy Pancake Day (or Day of the Kaken, as Matt would call it)!

Athenian Jug from about 480BC;
harpies stealing food from a blind Phineus.
A perfect example of what Lenten sacrifices can drive you to.

Almost forgot to mention:

Happy Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras / Day before Ash Wednesday /

Great time of year to be feeling Catholic / Christian guilt and dredge up some reasons to give up this, that, or the other thing. I'm still not sure what / if I'm giving up anything this year (by the looks of this post, I should give up back-slashes), but I'm sure you'll hear all about it if I do.

I would encourage everyone to cook pancakes (of any nationality) for dinner tonight to celebrate in true British style! And if you're not up for that, then at least put on some beads and shake it up in your living room for five minutes. (Notice how I assume you have about as much of a life as I do :) )

I wish I were back in Venice playing drinking games with cheap red wine on the Piazza San Marco...Alas, alack.

Never mind my nostalgic dalliances...though Venice is an Italian city, like Rome, which was the epicenter of all Classical activity, only after Athens, which reminds me of Ancient Greece, my favorite subject ever (besides food)...
Ok, ok, I'll get to the point!

In honor of pancake day, I'm going to post a very special recipe (one that I haven't actually tried myself, which is a little shady on my part / goes against the grain of what I usually post) which I found this weekend with Matt while perusing the lesser-used members of my London cookbook collection.

About a year ago we bought a REALLY cool cookbook at the British Museum (yep, the one with the amazing and controversial Elgin Marbles): The Classical Cookbook by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger.

It's a cookbook described as "History to devour" because it contains recipes from the ancient wrold. We have still never used it, but while flipping through it, several things caught our eyes.

We were particularly intrigued by the page that boasted a recipe for pancakes. They sound a little heavier than what American or British pancakes are like, but the addition of honey and sesame seeds was enough to make me want to slap on a diadem and lounge while eating a bunch of grapes! Even if you don't sympathize, at the very least, it's a cool way to celebrate pancake day and another good excuse to break out the Whole Wheat Flour...

Here it is - I am bound to try it now - let me know if you do too!

* * *

Pancakes with Honey and Sesame Seeds
from The Classical Cookbook

Serves Four


4oz (1 cup / 120g) Flour (come on Whole wheat!)
8fl oz (1 cup / 225ml) water
2 Tbsps (60g) clear honey
Oil for frying (I would go with olive oil here, since it is a Greek recipe)
1 tbsp (15g) toasted sesame seeds


1. Mix the flour, water and 1 tbsp honey together into a batter.

2. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a frying pan and pour a quarter of the mixture into the fat. When it has set, turn it two or three times to give an even color.

3. Cook 3 more pancakes in the same way.

Serve all 4 pancakes hot with the remainder of the honey pour over and sprinkled with sesame seeds!

Check this page out for other's experiences with this recipe and stay tuned for my own impressions!
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  1. Lovely blog and pancake recipe! Congrats on you both soon to be parents!

  2. What a beautiful blog! Can't wait to see more!

  3. I knew I'd find a pancake recipe (after reading your French Toast Post)! However, I should forever be ashamed to consider myself a Pancake Woman when I am apparently the only person in creation who did not know that pancakes on Shrove Tuesday are traditional! I plead my Filipina heritage - very devote Catholics but no pancake history.