CONTEMPLATING Shrove Tuesday, I changed tack and went for Savoury filled pancakes. Yes, pancakes are best when sweet, and a tradition from the days when fat and eggs would be used up before the Lenten fast. But these are simple enough to eat during a contemporary Anglican Lent, and a reminder that it is still not too late to be shriven before Easter.
For the pancakes (about six):
150g (5 oz) buckwheat flour
pinch of salt
400ml (¾ pt) milk
1 stick celery
1 clove garlic
200g (7 oz) bacon lardons
500g (1 lb) turkey mince
1 400g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
680g (1 lb 8 oz) jar tomato passata
120g (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese
Make the batter by whisking together the flour, salt, and eggs, then gradually blending in the milk. Set aside to rest.
Dice the carrot, onion, and celery, then fry in a little oil until coloured. Mince the garlic and stir in with the lardons to sweat through until the bacon is cooked. Add the turkey and cook through, then stir through the tomatoes, paprika, and oregano; season and simmer for 45 minutes or so.
Heat a wide, heavy frying pan, and make the pancakes. Cool in a stack on a plate.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put a ladle of the mince sauce into the centre of each pancake, roll each one up, and place “seam side” down, side by side in a long baking dish. Pour over the passata, top with the grated cheese, and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve from the oven, with a green salad.
Baked puddings are reassuring. I’ve long wanted to develop something with a South American dulce de leche flavour, and this Caramel rice pudding hits the spot. The Carnation Caramel should be easy to find, but, if not, simmer a tin of ordinary condensed milk with a little butter and syrup until it turns light brown. (The oven method here can be quicker on the hob in a pan: melt a couple of tablespoons of butter, then stir in the rice and gradually add the milk, much like a risotto. Once all is absorbed and the rice is soft and plump, stir in the other ingredients and serve.)
150g (5 oz) pudding rice
1 397g (14 oz) tin Carnation Caramel
1 litre (2 pts) full milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2. Butter a large baking dish (at least 3-pint/1.5-litre capacity). Rinse the rice in a sieve. Stir together the rice with the caramel, then the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour this into the buttered dish, and place in the oven for two hours. Halfway through, stir everything together (including the skin), sprinkle the sugar over the top, and return to the oven for the remaining time. It should have a slight wobble when you take it out at the end.