TODAY is Shrove Tuesday which marks the last day before Lent.

For Christians, lent is a period of abstinence which means many use the day to clear luxury food from their cupboards.

Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up the foods - more often than not flour, butter and eggs - before the 40-day fast.

We visited Bill's in the Crowngate Shopping Centre where breakfast chef Jack Screen showed us how he makes pancakes. Head chef Luke Husbands revealed what is the most important thing when making pancakes.

Bill's pancake recipe:

(makes 22 pancakes)

  1. Make a dry mixture by combining 1200g of self-raising flour, 150g of caster sugar, 30g of baking powder and 12g of salt.
  2. Make a wet mixture by combining 900g of buttermilk, 900g of milk, 6 eggs and 150g of oil.
  3. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and whisk.
  4. When combined, allow the mixture to rest.
  5. Heat oil in a medium heat pan.
  6. Pour some of the mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Why is Shrove Tuesday today?

Shrove Tuesday is always the day before the first day of Lent, known as Ash Wednesday, which is always 40 days before Easter.

Why is it called Shrove Tuesday?

The name ‘shrove’ derives from the word ‘shrive’ meaning to free yourself from sin.

The day gets its name from the custom for Christians to be 'shriven' before the start of Lent.

They would be called to confession by the ring of a bell which came to be known as the 'pancake bell' and it is still rung in some churches today.

In the US, Shrove Tuesday is known as ‘Mardi Gras’ meaning ‘fatty Tuesday’ in French.

Why do we make pancakes?

During Lent, Christians are encouraged to give up certain luxuries to atone for their sins.

The idea is to get rid of any indulgences and fatty foods in the house before the beginning of Lent.

Flour, butter and eggs were common things to give up, so making pancakes is a great way to use them up.

Some believe the ingredients used in pancakes represent the four pillars of the Christian faith - flour as the staff of life, eggs for creation, milk for purity and salt for wholesomeness.