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Pancakes and Crepes: Do you prefer to toss or flip
Christmas is now a fading memory and Easter, early as it is this year, is not until the end of March. If you need a foodie treat to bridge the gap, don't forget Pancake Day on 12 February. Of course you can always make, and flip, your own at home. But you can also watch others making tossers of themselves in public and raising money for charity. Here are a few central London locations you might like to visit and cheer on those who are happy to make fools of themselves on Shrove Tuesday.
Better Bankside's annual race will take place inside the Jubilee Market at Borough Market. The Better Bankside Pancake Day Race takes place between 12 and 2pm, with the actual race kicking off at 12.30. A maximum of twenty-five teams of four will be chosen from local businesses. All participants will be rewarded with a Borough Market bag, and the winning team will take home the Trophy as well as a full Borough Market Kitchen Kit. The event will be supported by neighbouring Southwark Cathedral, the Dean will begin the race, and the Refectory will be selling pancakes.
Better Bankside Pancake Day Race (Image courtesy of betterbankside.co.uk)
In the City's Guildhall Yard, the Poulters Company Pancake Race will take place at midday. Lend your support to the city Livery companies, whose contestants will be competing in full regalia, or in fancy dress.
2012 Inter-Livery Pancake Race (Image courtesy of thecookandthebutler.co.uk)
The Parliamentary Pancake Race will start a little earlier, at 10.15. The contestants in Victoria Tower Gardens will be comprised of teams from the Lords, the Commons and the media. Natasha Kaplinsky from ITV news will be on hand to start the race.
The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race takes place at 12.30 at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Teams of four will be raising money for London's Air Ambulance while racing up and down the Dray Walk. Prizes will be awarded to the winners, the best dressed team and the best behaved team. Pancakes will also be available for spectators.
Of course you could be both a tosser and a scoffer in the privacy of your own home. The following recipe never fails for me. I sift 110g of flour into a bowl, gradually whisk in two beaten eggs (using a balloon whisk works best), then slowly add 275mls of semi skimmed milk, mix everything well together and pour into a jug. I melt a knob of butter in a pan that I keep strictly for crepes and then pour in a small amount of the mixture and swill it all around until it covers the bottom in a thin layer. After about 30 seconds you should be able to lift the pancake using a spatula, and then flip it over, or toss it if you're brave. Serve with whatever takes your fancy. Lemon and sugar are fine and traditional, but take a hint from the Breton French and melt a knob of butter on the crepe before you remove it from the pan and then sprinkle with sugar for a toffee-flavoured confection.