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Today is Chinese New Year and our Waitangi Day holiday, so that makes it a very good day for yum char, or maybe some peking duck for a leisurely lunch or dinner - using a bought duck and pancakes - it's a holiday after all. Or you could make Sachie Nomura's version using duck breast.

Or save the peking duck pancakes for tomorrow which is Shrove Tuesday and, if we ever did need an excuse to eat pancakes, this is it.

It's very English, but the tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (the day before the start of Lent) is supposed to be about using up foods such as sugar, fat and eggs before you do without. These days people use Lent more as a time to deal with such things as the chocolate addiction that kicked back in at Christmas but hey, let's have pancakes - maybe for breakfast tomorrow? - with, as Isobel our sub-editor (who is from the UK and knows such things) recommends, "butter, sugar and lemon juice (especially the butter)".

You'll find enough pancake recipes to use up everyone's supplies here. You'll also find lots of chocolate recipes because Sunday brings Valentine's Day and that is no time to be abstaining, as Peter Gordon and Will Eaglesfield attest in their columns featuring dishes to fall in love with.

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Sweet treats for Valentine's Day: Profiteroles or pancakes (with lemon, butter and sugar!). Photos / Bite magazine
Sweet treats for Valentine's Day: Profiteroles or pancakes (with lemon, butter and sugar!). Photos / Bite magazine

Other recipes this week are not so much about abstinence but absence ... of money, or a lack of it. Ray has created a spaghetti using mussels, carrots and cream, a pork and peanut larp and a Turkish potato and chickpea dish. Warren is creating a world of flavour with a few packets of beef mince. All created with an eye on the budget for those who are off to uni or out flatting for the first time, or for all of us who need to rein it in from time to time.

Try some of these for dinner this week. Photos / Bite magazine
Try some of these for dinner this week. Photos / Bite magazine