The celebration of Easter is not just about chocolate eggs and bunnies. Last Tuesday, some indulged in pancakes also.

Shrove Tuesday falls 40 days before Good Friday and marks the start of Lent. Traditionally, this was a time when Christians would fast from luxury items. It became customary to make pancakes the night before Lent as a way of using up rich ingredients such as butter, eggs and sugar.

Although the humble pancake would hardly be considered an indulgence by today's standards, there are ways to make them more nutritious. Choosing low-fat instead of blue-top milk and vegetable oil or low-fat spread over butter are good ways to start. The fibre content can be boosted with wholemeal flour.

Plain old pancakes are not that appetising, so get creative with some tasty toppings. Include lots of fruit or vegetables and a bit of protein or dairy to make a balanced plate. Savoury or sweet - it is up to your mood.

Pancakes are good way of getting kids involved in the kitchen. Ask them to measure out ingredients, use some elbow grease to stir the batter or practise co-ordination by flipping the pancakes in the air without a spatula. In some European countries, pancake races are a tradition so you can even include physical activity if you want.


1 cup flour

Pinch salt

300ml skim milk

1 egg, beaten

Put flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Stir in milk and eggs, whisk to make a lump-free batter (but be careful not to over-mix).

Grease a pan and put on medium heat. Spoon in enough batter to cover the base and cook till set, then flip to cook other side.

Repeat till all the batter is used up (you can freeze any extra pancakes for another time).

Serve with your choice of fillings from the list below or, better still, make use of any leftovers in the fridge.

Practise your presentation skills by folding French-style into crepes or layering into an American-style stack.

Sweet toppings:

Fruit salad with low-fat yoghurt

Sliced banana and cinnamon

Honey, greek yoghurt and passion fruit

Savoury toppings:

Sliced cooked mushroom with wilted spinach

Tomato, fresh herbs and grated edam cheese

Ham, pineapple and tomato

Visit for more recipe inspiration.

Written by Amanda Brien BSc (Human Nutrition & Biochemistry)

Taranaki Daily News