For Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day
In two days time, we will all be flipping our way through the day, as we try to use up all the eggs, butter and cream in our larders, in accordance with the old practice to clear all those luxury ingredients in preparation for the start of Lent. Tuesday the 9th of February is Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Pancake Day and is a chance to eat liberal amounts if one of my favourite types of food, PANCAKES! The title of today’s post, Beremeal, Golden Syrup & Orkney Pancakes, gives you a clue about the recipe I am sharing today, Orkney Pancakes and the history of one of its ingredients, Beremeal. Beremeal is an ancient grain that has been grown in Orkney for thousands of years – it’s the purest form of barley and is essential when making Orkney or Scottish Bannocks, beer and ale as well as pancakes.
As I am in France at the moment, I was unable to source any beremeal for my Orkney Pancakes recipe, but, I DO have a scribbled recipe on the back of an envelope, from my grandmother, that uses medium oatmeal, so that’s the recipe I am sharing today. You start the pancake batter base the night before you need to cook them, and then just add the remaining ingredients in the morning, making it an easy recipe to make before the children go to school on Pancake Day. The warm pancakes are served with butter and golden syrup and can be frozen once they are cold, which is a great idea for future impromptu pancake enjoyment. They puff up into thin crumpet style pancakes (similar to Yorkshire or Northumberland pikelets) and as they contain oatmeal, they are healthier than normal 100% flour pancakes.
I was very pleased how this recipe turned out, and I had to make a double batch, as they went down very well for our Sunday morning breakfast today! (I popped some in the freezer for Tuesday too) I made mine, as you will see from the photos, on my grandmother’s old griddle (girdle) and I JUST love the way these old cast iron griddles retain the heat which results in perfect pancakes (and crumpets, muffins, griddle cakes and hotcakes) every time. If you CAN source beremeal, then why not try it in this recipe for a truly authentic Orkney Pancake recipe – I’m going to order some beremeal on-line for my next culinary experiment, Bannocks, which I have been wanting to make with beremeal for some years now, and, I have found an interesting recipe here: How to make a traditional Orkney Bere Bannock.
But for today, and just in time for Shrove Tuesday, I am sharing my latest heirloom and historical recipe for Orkney Pancakes, served with Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup and a goodly slathering of butter! In place of golden syrup, you could use honey, but I love the warm, slightly toasty flavour of golden syrup and it works so well with the oatmeal in these pancakes, similar to syrup with porridge. I’ve shared some of my other pancake recipes below, so there’s plenty for you to choose from this Pancake Day, have a flipping good day and make sure you get lots of pancakes in throughout the ENTIRE day! Karen
Disclaimer: I was sent some Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup for review and free of charge; all views and opinions remain my own and I was not paid to write this post.
Bere, pronounced “bear,” is an ancient grain and “six-row” barley currently cultivated mainly in Orkney, Scotland. It is also grown on Shetland, Caithness and on a very small scale by a few crofters on some of the Western Isles, i.e. North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Islay and Barra. It is probably Britain’s oldest cereal in continuous commercial cultivation.
Bere is a landrace grain that has been adapted to growing on soils with a low pH value, and with a short growing season, but with long hours of daylight during the summer, as found in the high latitudes of northern Scotland. It is sown in the spring and harvested in the summer. Because of its very rapid growth rate it is sown late but is often the first crop to be harvested. It is known locally as “the 90-day barley.”
Bere is thought to have been brought to Britain by Vikings in the 8th century or even from an earlier wave of settlement. In its early days it was also called “bygge” or “big,” probably originating from bygg, the Old Norse term for barley. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, bere was an important crop in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland, providing grain for milling and malting and straw for thatching and animal bedding. It was also exported from Orkney and other ports in Scotland to Northern Europe. The advent of higher-yielding barley varieties led to a deep decline in bere growing during the 19th and 20th centuries. It survives in cultivation today thanks to Barony Mills, a 19th-century watermill, which purchases the grain to produce beremeal which is used locally in bread, biscuits, and the traditional beremeal bannock.
I am entering these pancakes into several cooking challenges:
Pancake Recipes on Lavender and Lovage: