Today is Shrove Tuesday, or, as it is sometimes known, Pancake Day.
Traditionally, this is the day when Christians indulged in food they would be unable to eat in the fast of Lent, which begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.
On Ash Wednesday, many Christians go to Mass and are shriven, or absolved of their sins of the previous year. To show they have been shriven, they have ash rubbed on their foreheads. These ashes are often made by burning the palm Sunday crosses from the previous year.
The eating of pancakes and other foods containing fat, eggs and other things forbidden during Lent gives the name Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday in many countries. In those places, there is often some kind of carnival as well as eating plenty of food as they won’t have much to eat during Lent. Well, that’s the origin. Nowadays, fasting is not so prevalent as in past eras.
Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter. It commemorates the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan. During this time, Christians are supposed to give something up and think about their lives and how they can be better people.
But we still like to eat our pancakes. Some people like them with lemon juice and sugar. Others prefer golden syrup. Some eat them with fruit, and/or brandy (think crepes suzette. Oranges and then brandy poured over and set alight.)
My Grandmother made delicious savoury pancakes. Some time ago, I did actually post her recipe, but as it’s Shrove Tuesday on the day my post comes out, I thought I’d post it again. So here it is.
125g large open capped mushrooms
½ x1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper
Fry the onion for a few minutes and add the mushrooms and tomatoes.
Continue cooking until all vegetables are cooked, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot on pancakes, rolled up. This makes an interesting first course or light lunch.
You can use bought pancakes, but please ensure they are not sweet ones, or you can make your own batter.
100 grams flour (4 ounces)
300 millilitres milk (0.5 pints)
A little oil for frying.
Put the flour into a basin and add the egg.
Beat well, and add the milk slowly.
Continue beating until you have a smooth batter.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add a small amount of the batter, enough to just cover the base of the pan.
When the underside is golden brown, turn the pancake and cook the other side until that, too, is golden. (You can try tossing it if you like!) Keep the cooked pancakes warm.
Add more of the batter to the pan, and keep on making pancakes until all the batter is used.
Divide the filling between the pancakes and roll up.
Serve and enjoy.
These can be eaten as a lunch, or as a starter at the beginning of a meal.
If you would like some more of my Grandmother's recipes, and also others from my family and friends, buy Viv's Family Recipes by clicking Here.
These recipes date back to 1909 and show how our eating habits have changed over this time.
The version I read of this book had loads of errors. Spelling, grammar, syntax, you name it. I therefore was intending to give it a low rating because of it. However, I have been assured that it was published in error, and a new version has been released. As I haven’t seen this version, I cannot give the book the full 5 stars, but have only deleted one.
Synopsis Clio is a cadet on a starship carrying secret ‘super-troops’ called Aegis to a laboratory Colony 115. Commander Grimshaw is in command of this operation .
When the starship sights a strange ship never before seen, and it attacks, they crash-land on Colony 115 only to find an invasion by strange creatures going on.
The crew has been scattered all over the planet, and they need to come together to leave. But Clio is the only pilot left alive. They must fight these aliens in order to get to the starship in the laboratories.
Characters. The characters are believable. They all have their good and bad points. Clio has a violent temper, but also a softer side which is shown by her care for a sentient creature she befriends.
Commander Grimshaw has his anxieties, too. He must do what he can to ensure they leave the planet to tell the rest of the galaxy of these aliens.
Then there’s Randai. He’s a dropout on Sentinel. It is obvious he was once more than he is now, but he has drowned himself in drugs and alcohol, as well as getting involved with criminals.
I thought the characterisation very good.
Plot. An excellent and original plot. It is exciting and moves rapidly.
The jumps from one character to another were done well. Making you want to continue reading to find out what happened to the ones you’ve just left.
Writing. Aside from the errors, the writing moved the plot along, and kept you reading. The author set the various scenes well, and the reader can imagine the places and visualise the characters.
Summary. I have deducted one star, due to the fact that I’ve not seen the latest version of this book, otherwise it would have got a resounding 5 stars. It kept me on the edge of my seat while reading, and I am looking forward to reading book 2.
It is not essential to buy, or even use free software to post to Instagram from your pc. Here is how you can do it.
I apologise for the pictures. I don’t have a print screen button on my keyboard, so had to use my camera. For some of them it chose to flash, so there’s a reflection of the flash.
First open Google Chrome and click on the 3 dots at the top right. You should then get this drop-down menu.
When you've done that, the following will appear.
Click again on the 3 dots and you should get the following:
Click on More Tools, then on Developer tools. You will then get this window.
Look at the top and you will see a symbol representing a phone and a tablet. It’s second from the left as shown here. When you click on it itshould turn blue.
Click on the BLUE address that comes up to get this screen.
Click on the x button at the top of the righthand window to close it. Be careful not to accidentally close Chrome or you'll have to start again!
Now you can click on the + sign at the bottom of the instagram window to add your photos from your pc.
I hope you found this useful. I was delighted when I found I didn’t need additional software, If you want to see what I’ve uploaded from my pc, go to https://www.instagram.com/v.m.sang
If you did find it useful, please add a comment in the box. Or even if you didn't!
This is an extract from my latest work, Jealousy of a Viking. It follows Helgha, a descendant of Adelbehrt from Vengeance of a Slave. At the beginning of the book, Helgha helps young man, Erik, who is lost in the forest and finds him very attractive. She begins to have dreams of a life with him, but her father has arranged a marriage with a neighbour's son.
One morning, about ten days after Erik's final departure, her father came to her. 'I've chosen a husband for you. I've decided on Gunnar Janson's son. I spoke with Gunnar yesterday and he is in agreement.'
Helgha hung her head. She must obey her father, but her dream of becoming Erik's wife dissolved as she foresaw a life lived with a man she did not like.
Gunner Janson's son will not make any woman a good husband. On the few occasions they met, he had treated her with disdain. He did not seem to like women and had told her once that he thought them weak. They did not know how to fight, and fighting was life.
But she must do as her father said and so she whispered, 'Yes, father', hoping she sounded acquiescent, but a feeling of tightness encompassed her chest, and her hands clenched involuntarily.
Helgha took a deep breath then carried on with her tasks with a heavy heart. She would have to obey her father, but all her dreams of a life with Erik came crashing down around her ears. Thoughts of rebellion flashed through her mind but immediately disappeared. She did not know if Erik felt the same way. Most probably he did not. They had been beautiful dreams though.
Crushing those thoughts, she left the longhouse and walked to the well. Hearing the drumming of hooves on the road, she looked up. Her stomach turned over and her heart beat faster as Erik rode through the gate. He slid from his horse and jogged over to where she stood. Taking the buckets from her he looked into her eyes. Helgha thought she saw something there. Something that made her think her dreams were not in vain.
'Hello, Helgha,' Erik said, then looked away.
Had she imagined what she saw in his eyes? 'Hello, Erik.” She felt redness creeping up her neck and infusing her face.
Leaving the other women who were at the well staring after them, the pair walked to the house in silence.
Why had he come? Surely her dream had not come true and he intended to ask for her hand in marriage. He must have some other reason to come here. Yes, that was it. He was on his way somewhere else and stopped at Thoringsby because it was convenient.
They entered the house, Erik following Helgha. He put the buckets down and spoke to Aedelflaed. 'Thank you for your hospitality the other week. I would not be alive now if it weren't for your kindness.'
Aedelflaed smiled at the young man. 'No thanks are necessary. We did what anyone would do. You could have been killed by wolves or bears out there in the dark.'
'I have something for you. To thank you. Wait a moment and I'll go and get it.' Erik ducked through the door, and a moment later returned with his saddlebags over his arm.
First, for you, Aedelflaed, I have this.' He handed over a necklace of glass beads.
Aedelflaed gasped. 'This is beautiful, Erik.'
'It was made in Jorvik. We don't make much glass there, but what we do is usually made into beads or rings, and is of fine quality. Now, for Biorn I've got some wine. I'm sure he'll enjoy it when he comes in.'
Helgha smiled at the thought. Biorn drank more ale than wine, but she felt sure he would enjoy the change.
Erik pulled something else from his saddlebags. 'For Hartvigg I have this wooden sword. He needs to learn how to fight like a true Dane. I have a Kubb set for Laeff and for Sighmund this toy boat.' Then he turned and smiled at Helgha. Her stomach turned somersaults. 'And for you, this amber necklace. The amber comes all the way from the Baltic Sea.'
Helgha blushed as Erik fastened it round her neck, and she looked at her mother.
Aedelflaed frowned. Helgha knew what thoughts passed through her mind. Like the ones passing through her own head. Why had Erik brought her such a valuable gift? Did he want to court her? Neither she nor her parents knew anything about him. He appeared to be well off if his clothing were anything to go by. But would Erik's father want his son to marry someone from a family of lower status?
Helgha sighed, pushing those thoughts away. If it were the case that Erik wanted to marry her, then his father would speak to hers. She would be the last to know.
After this, he came every week on some pretext or other, but no message arrived from his father to Biorn suggesting a marriage. Erik, however, behaved as if he and Helgha were already betrothed.
One day, Biorn tackled Erik on this subject. Helgha held her breath, half-hoping Erik would say his father would send a message to Biorn about a betrothal.
'You've been coming here a lot, Erik,' Biorn said. 'You spend a lot of time with Helgha, but we've heard nothing from your father about a betrothal.'
Erik went red and hung his head. 'I would truly like to be betrothed to your daughter, but my father would never agree. You cannot pay the dowry he would expect.'
Biorn's face grew dark, and his eyes flashed. 'You come here courting my daughter, yet you have no intention of marrying her. This is an insult to my family.'
Helgha held her breath as Erik continued to look at the floor. 'I mean no insult to you, Biorn. My father will not agree to me marrying Helgha, but if I could, I would do so.' He looked up and into Biorn's eyes. 'I'm afraid my father wishes me to marry someone who can bring wealth and influence to our family. Someone, I suspect, who is closer to Halfdan than he is.'
'Then this means I will have to defend the honour of my family. I will not have you dishonour my sons and myself.' He went to the wall and took down his shield and battle axe. 'I must kill you. You have insulted my family. Have you amused yourself with my Helgha? Is she ruined?'
Erik faced Biorn. 'Should we not fight outside?
Biorn grunted. Helgha stood with her hands over her mouth and her eyes wide. As the two men went through the door, she ran after them screaming.
She rushed over to Biorn and tried to pull his axe from his hands.
He shoved her away. 'This is man's business. Go back to your mother.'
Helgha fell to the floor, scrambled up and ran back towards the longhouse. Her mother appeared through the door.
'Mother! Stop them. They'll kill each other.'
Her mother looked at her. 'One of them will kill the other. That's the way it is. Erik has insulted our family by coming here as if to court you, but making no offers. Your father has to have his honour satisfied. If he fails, then it will be up to your brothers to kill Erik when they are old enough.'
I would be interestd in your opinion of this extract. Please post a comment in the comments box.