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Shrove Tuesday Pancakes with a Little Vice

1 March 2014

Spinach Pancakes and Crab Souffle

Written by: Carina Contini

Shrove Tuesday heralds the start of Lent, where temptations come in all flavours. Patience is a virtue, they say. I’m short on virtue and long on vices, especially during Lent. Despite years of practice, my virtue has never lasted 40 days and 40 nights. Chocolate, cake and in my later years, Cosmopolitan cocktails, have broken my best intentions.


  • 200g young spinach leaves
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 225g crowdie
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 small spring onion, finely sliced
  • 50g plain flour
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lime, and juice of 2 unwaxed limes salt and pepper to taste
  • 200ml full fat yoghurt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g chopped coriander handful mint leaves, chopped


These pancakes are great for informal dining when you’re with friends who are patient enough to wait for the next pancake to come hot out of the frying pan. If you prefer savoury treats, they are perfect for Pancake Day on Tuesday.
Makes 10-12

  1. Pan-fry the spinach in a little butter over a low heat until the leaves have wilted. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain in the sink. When cool, squeeze any excess water from the spinach, then chop it very finely. Set aside.
  2. To make the batter, cream together the crowdie, egg yolks, spring onion, flour, zest and juice of one lime in a bowl. Season to taste.
  3. Fold the spinach into the mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff in a clean, dry bowl then gently fold them into the spinach mixture.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, but don’t add any butter or oil. The pan should be at a moderate, even temperature. Ladle 1 tbsp of your batter mixture into the hot pan. Leave it until it is cooked enough so you can flip it over. Cook for 1 minute until the underside has coloured, but not burned.
  5. Serve as a starter. As a dip on the side, mix the yoghurt with the garlic, juice of one lime, olive oil, coriander and mint leaves.


  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 300ml full-fat milk chilled
  • 4 eggs, separated 200g crabmeat (from 1 large crab)
  • 150g Isle of Mull cheddar (100g grated)
  • 25g dill, very finely chopped
  • 500ml double cream salt and pepper, to taste


Crab is in season so it is really cheap at the moment. It works well as part of this very classy, but easy soufflé.
Serves 6

  1. Grease six individual 150ml ramekins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the flour. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture starts to bubble. Add the mustard powder and mix through. Slowly add the milk and whisk well to stop the mixture forming lumps. When all the milk has been added, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolks.
  4. Season and set aside.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
  6. Fold the crabmeat, 50g piece of cheddar and dill into the mustardy sauce until evenly mixed.
  7. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites using a metal spoon.
  8. Transfer the mixture to the greased ramekins and bake in a bain-marie in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. While the soufflés are cooking, make the sauce. Heat the cream in a pan over a low heat, then add the grated cheddar and cook until melted. Season with a little salt and pepper and keep warm over a low heat until the soufflés are golden brown and risen. Using a tea towel to hold the hot ramekins, run a knife between the edge of the soufflé and the ramekin. Upturn on to a soup plate then pour the hot cheese sauce all around.
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