Now the 16th February (Shrove Tuesday 2010) is for me an entirely different occasion. It was on that day in 1983 that my mum died, so I'll probably be lighting a candle for her in the Jewish tradition (despite the fact she was a catholic). I always remember when I lodged with a Jewish family for 7 very happy years, there would always be a candle lit on a certain day each year to commemorate the death of their mother. So now, I do the same.
Apparently though, this year, its the day before Lent, when we are all supposed to give something up. Well, I ain't gonna give up cooking thats for sure and certainly not after tonights dinner.
So I've been out all day upsetting the Pope. I was at a Protest the Pope Rally in London you see. Its not that we are objecting to The Pope coming to Britain in September per se. He's the head of a large organisation. If he wants to visit the British branch of it, he is perfectly entitled to. Our objection is to the fact that it is going to be classed as a STATE visit and as such, is going to cost Britain AT LEAST £20 MILLION or to put it another way, 1,000 nurses salaries.
The Dalai Lama doesn't get that. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia doesn't get that. The heads the Sikh or Hindu religions would not get a state visit if they came here. And yet, when you think about it, there are probably far more Sikhs and Hindu's in this country than Catholics!
So, why should he get a £20m State Visit? See www.protestthepope.org.uk for further information. The funniest part of it was that we were followed the whole day by three very nice looking young Catholic men in their mid-20's who kept reading the Rosary to us! Why they were doing that, I don't know. It wasn't an anti religious demo - we were just objecting to the fact that UK taxpayers were forking out for the Pope's visit! I asked one of them out several times, but instead of a reply, all I got was a Hail Mary! Shame, such a nice boy!
So anyway, I arrive home starving. Not a lot in the fridge apart from half a lump of Danish blue cheese, some spinach left over from a totally amazing risotto I made last night, some mascarpone, a bit of cheddar and one red onion.
I fancy pancakes, but have no eggs, so off to the late night convenience store and to my surprise they are selling ready made pancakes at half price. I check the label and it's all natural materials. No point in reinventing the wheel. Job done!
So, back I come and first thing I do is chop then wilt the spinach. drop that into a bowl and then add in the mascarpone and stir it in together with the chopped onion, grated cheddar, crumbled blue cheese and a bit of salt, but lots of black pepper.
So now, get the pan hot as hell. Throw in some oil, which smokes within seconds. Drop in the ready made pancake and flip it around for a minute. Turn it over, give it another 20 seconds and then drop in the filling, cover over and cook for about 30 or 40 seconds to give the filling a chance to melt. Drop it onto a plate and put some Pea Oil beside it.
James Martin talked about Pea Oil on Saturday Kitchen. Take a few ounces of blanched Petit Pois and a handful of mint leaves and blitz them with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sieve everything through a blender and you have this marvellously earthy, minty oil. Anyways, just put some of this stuff next to the pancake.
I tell you, it was just heaven! Ooops, me a total heathen talking about heaven! No wonder the Pope has deleted me from his Christmas card list!