Today is shrove Tuesday, which has now become better known as Pancake Day.
What is Shrove Tuesday about? Has it become just a day of cooking and tossing pancakes?
Shrove Tuesday is the last day of merriment and feasting before Lent begins in earnest.
But in truth and in its history, today is about penitence. Shrove Tuesday got its name from the ritual of shriving, which early Christians used to do.
The act of shriving meant that Christians would confess their sins and their shortcomings and in so doing will receive absolutions.
Absolution means the person will be forgiven of his sins and released from his guilt and pain that he had caused.
This tradition is very old.
It was a custom and tradition of the early Christians to confess their sins a week before the start of Lent to their priest/confessor, who shall so shrive them.
Today is not only about pancake but a time to think about the wrong deeds that we have done or have continued doing. We must be penitent of them.
On the happier side, Shrove Tuesday is also about partying and feasting. Time to cook and serve all the foods that may have to be given up for the sober Lent to come. Barbecue the meat and fish and make pastas so no food are wasted for the coming Lent. Today is like a Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday.
Pancake became the ideal food for Tuesday because it uses up all the fats, milk and eggs with the addition of flour.
Our fruit bowl is getting more adventures. Early this new year, we have custard apple, passion fruit, mangoes, kiwi, several types of citrus fruits such as lemon, lime orange, grapefruit and nectarine.
We also have persimmon, which is apparently also called Sharon fruit. Its scientific name is Diospyros Kaki. This fruit is often seedless and sweet. It can be eaten as a whole fruit; there is no need to peel it (but you can of course, if you wanted to.)
Sharon fruit can be eaten fresh, or cooked (in a pie) and even preserved.
Its orange colouring shouts richness in beta carotene and it is actually is a good source.
I often see in Korean dramas that they eat their barbecued thin pork or beef slices wrapped in the same leaves as above. Of course they also use the standard lettuce leaf.
Anyway, Peter and I fancied a bit of change for the new year so we decided to create our on table-top barbecue dinner a la Korean. and also a delicious warming hotpot.
But first off, we went shopping for the ingredients. We went to Seoul Plaza in Golders Green, North London. I happened to see these leaves amidst the ready made Korean side dishes. It was about £1.99 for a packet of 20 leaves.
We did our barbecue and duly wrapped pieces of meat with kimchi, radish and sauces into a perilla leaf. It tasted really good. The leaf has an aromatic minty scent with a herby taste. I actually preferred it to the crisp iceberg lettuce. Peter also love the perilla leaves. I think we would use more of it in the future.
Perilla apparently is a member of the mint family. It grows from seed and very easy to cultivate. But where can you get the seeds?!!! If you are from the UK and know where to get them in London, please kindly let us know!!!
bbq pork wrapped in perilla leaf, photo by PH Morton
Pomelo is called suha in Tagalog and dogmon in Ilocano.
It is 3 to 4 times the size of a grapefruit and can be as big as a melon. In fact pomelo is the largest citrus fruit that it has acquired a scientific name of citrus maxima or citrus grandis.
Pomelo is closely related to the grapefruit, but I actually prefer suha as I find grapefruit can be rather bitter.
The pomelo tree can grow really tall and when it flowers, the little cluster of white blossoms has the most fragrant smell.
Pomelo is rich in vitamin C. Really juicy and when fully ripen in the tree, it can be very sweet.
But I actually love a pomelo that it still just before it truly ripen. I love the slight sour taste which a little sprinkle of salt will activate the salivary gland. Just thinking of this now makes my mouth water. Actually I prefer when the flesh of the pomelo is left to steep in a dish of slightly salty vinegar. Delicious.
Suha, photo by Ruben Ortega
The juicy flesh here is pink but suha can also be yellowish white.