12 February 2013

How to Start a Family Pancake Day Tradition

Shrove Tuesday; children around the world get to enjoy pancakes for pudding at school or as a treat when they get home.  My mother would always have pancakes ready for us when we got home and I try to do the same for my children. 

I usually cook pancakes or waffles for breakfast on a Saturday morning but I held off last weekend and promised the children pancakes for supper today.  It always surprises me to see pancake mix on the shelves of the supermarkets in the UK.  They are the simplest things in the world to make and when I read the instructions on the side of the ‘ready made’ mixes they usually say ‘just add milk and an egg’.  Since the basic ingredients are milk, egg, flour and baking powder I am at a loss as to what people think that they are buying.  I did once buy a packet to see whether it had a special ‘ingredient x’ that made the pancakes taste superior to my own but I was underwhelmed. 

I never measure my pancake mix, I just add the basic ingredients by judgment and mix them up – more milk for crepe’s and a thicker mix with a little more baking powder for American style pancakes.  If I want a richer taste I might add an American cup measure of yogurt or ricotta.  Sometimes I use a cup of sourdough starter instead of baking powder.  I always fry my pancakes in butter, it gives a much nicer taste than oil.

Pancake Mix and Frying Pan
Melt the butter while preparing the mix.  The pan has to be very hot.  
Brown and ready to eat.
When I was a little girl my mother would sometimes add sugar and apples to the mix.  She fried the pancakes in a beautifully heavy, thick bottomed, cast iron pan.  This was never washed in soap but always oiled and layered in kitchen paper before being put in the cupboard.  It is a thing of beauty and I truly covet it.  I thought about taking it home with me when she died, it traveled round the world with her but sadly it is too heavy to bring abroad on our limited baggage allowance.  I have left it with my father for now, I use it sometimes when I visit him and it always brings me fond memories. 

Uzbek Pottery Serving Dish
My beautiful Uzbek Pancake Serving Dish
This year I have been able to start a tradition for my own family.  Uzbek pottery is beautiful stoneware decorated in colourful patterns making it a feast for the eyes.  We know a potter who comes to Astana a few times a year.  Sukrob brings plates directly from his own workshop and is able to fulfil individual requests.  My Christmas present last year was a full dinner service that my wonderful husband ordered for me.  He also bought me a pancake server.  This is actually a ‘plov’ dish, designed to keep rice warm but it works wonderfully for pancakes or just about anything else.  I look forward to the day when I can cook my Shrove Tuesday pancakes on my mother’s frying pan and serve them to my family in my plov dish.  I wonder what my daughter will add to the pan and the dish when she passes them on to her children.

Uzbek Pancake Dish
Pancakes in their dish.

Pancake on Uzbek dish
All rolled up and ready to eat.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed your Shrove Tuesday Pancakes.

  2. it looks nice love it

  3. Hello! I realize you're no longer in Astana but do you know how to get in touch with Sukrob to order pottery? I live in Astana and bought some Uzbek pottery in Almaty the other week but I would love to pick up more for Christmas gifts!

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    1. Hi Rebecca - Sukhrob visits a few times a year and always has a stand at Haileybury School - the AIC send out the details close to the time of his visits. If you want pottery but are not able to wait for him to visit the gift shop in the pyramid often carries a very good selection. The ladies who run it are very friendly. Enjoy Astana.