Fun, foody piece published on the old Amsterdam Mamas website in February 2015.


On the 17th of this month, you can gleefully abandon the New Year diet as the misty gloom of chilly old February is temporarily lifted with the arrival of another festival where gluttony is fully sanctioned – cause for celebration indeed!

Yes, in the name of clearing out our cupboards for the next phase of austerity (Lent), we are encouraged to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, better known to our kids as ‘Pancake Day’, where two of their favourite hobbies, cooking and eating, coincide in a happy, messy union.

But just before you reach for the whisk, spare a thought for our ancestors, as Shrove Tuesday was not always the cheery food-fest we enjoy today. In fact, the word ‘Shrove’ is actually derived from ‘Shrive’, meaning to present oneself to a priest for absolution.

Shrove Tuesday originally denoted a period of self-denial which, fortunately for us foodphiles, has evolved into quite the reverse, and is now characterised by the piling high of pancakes and their various viscous toppings.

So, for those feasting rather than fasting, here are ten quick and healthy pancake fillings your kids may enjoy:

Sweet

Quark, honey and blueberries

Mix 3 heaped tablespoons of quark with 3 tablespoons of blueberries and drizzle with one dessert spoon of honey. Works well with other forest fruits too.

Apple compote with raisins and cinnamon

Peel and chop 3 apples and simmer in a pan with a cup of water, stirring regularly until soft. Purée and stir in a small handful of raisins and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add a teaspoon of sugar or a little honey if it needs sweetening.

Sliced bananas with almond or cashew paste

Smear pancakes with the paste and top with sliced banana

Fresh pears and honey

Peel a ripe pear and chop into small chunks. Drizzle with honey. Can add thinly sliced gouda or crumbled goat’s cheese and a few finely chopped pecans if liked.

Creamed sweet potato with nutmeg and maple syrup

Chop and steam 3 sweet potatoes and then mash with a little butter and cream or yoghurt until creamy in texture. Stir in a pinch of nutmeg and drizzle with maple syrup. Can also add a pinch of cinnamon and a tiny drop of vanilla extract for a richer flavour.

Savoury

Guacamole and grated cheese

Mix two ripe avocados with a tiny sliver of fresh garlic (crushed) and a spoonful of yoghurt, cream or cream cheese and mash with a fork until smooth in texture. Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice over the top and mix. Stir in a level dessert spoon of chopped coriander. Spread mixture on the pancake and top with grated cheese.

Chopped spinach, stir-fried with garlic, parmesan and mascarpone

Fry 200g of spinach (either frozen or fresh) in a tiny bit of butter or olive oil. As it wilts, stir in half a clove of chopped garlic. Add 150g mascarpone and a small handful of grated parmesan cheese and mix.

Steamed broccoli and cauliflower in a cheesy béchamel sauce

Break two small handfuls of broccoli and cauliflower into small florets and steam until tender. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the sauce. On a low heat, combine a dessert spoon of flour with the same of butter and gradually whisk in milk, a little at a time, until you get a custardy consistency, stirring constantly. Add a handful of grated oude kaas or similar and stir. Season to taste. Pour over the vegetables.

Houmous and grated carrot

Spread houmous over the pancake and top with grated carrots. Can add raisins and pine nuts if liked.

Pesto, mozzarella, tomato and avocado

Thinly spread a little pesto on the pancakes. Peel and chop a ripe avocado and mix with 100g chopped mozzarella and half a ripe tomato, diced.

Recipes are designed to fill approx. 2 large pancakes.

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