|This fabulous historical recipe for Pancake Day is from Neil Buttery of the British Food: A History blog and podcast. Neil developed the recipe after discovering our Green Pea Flour in a shop in Manchester. Although our Green Pea Flour is not the same as Peasemeal (where the peas are toasted before being milled) it makes a good substitute. As far as we are aware true peasemeal is sadly no longer produced or sold in the UK.
Peas were one of medieval peasant farmers' most important crops, known to them as peasen, the plural of pease - which, mistakenly assumed to be a plural, was shortened to the singular 'pea' we know today in the 17th century.
Peas were only rarely eaten green as we now eat garden peas, fresh or frozen, but instead left in the pods to mature and dry: an excellent storable food for the winter months.
Pease were toasted and ground to make peasemeal; used to thicken stews, for quick soups and added to bread or to make pancakes. Peasemeal long stopped being produced in most of the UK, but did live on in the north of Scotland and Orkney. Sadly Golspie Mill on the Sutherland Estate, as far as we know the last commercial peasemeal mill in the UK, closed its doors late last year.
Neil’s research found that although peasemeal fell out of common use in the past centuries, the tradition held on in rural Scotland, where pease pancakes were popular. Although there are no recorded recipes Neil created this one based on American-style pancakes
Makes 10 to 12 pancakes
- Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the oil or butter, egg and around half of the milk. Beat in with a wire whisk until the thick batter is lump-free, then carefully mix in the rest of the liquid.
- Put a griddlepan or non-stick pan on a medium heat and allow it to get hot. Add a little oil and spoon in small ladles into the pan. You should be able to fit 3 or 4 pancakes in each pan.
- Allow to fry for a couple of minutes before checking that they are golden brown. Once they are, flip and fry the other side.
- Pile up and keep warm in a very cool oven. Add a little more oil to the pan if needed and continue to fry in batches.
- Serve with typical breakfast things: egg, beans, mushrooms etc.
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