Making the assumption that folk visit this site, have a read and then come back again to read newer posts you may have noticed that I’ve not written about any food from England. This is for the simple fact that I don’t really cook a lot of recipes from England. I’ll always buy British produce, if the option is available, but the food will tend to end up in a foreign dish. It’s not that I have anything against the traditional food of this country, it’s just a love of variety and with near 200 countries’ worth of recipes to choose from English dishes aren’t going to pop up too frequently. Toad in the hole gets cooked occasionally and I adore a fried breakfast but outside of that we’re talking the occasional stew or roast really. Maybe I should up the amount of local recipes I cook and stick them on here, for the moment though I shall break from the norm once and cook something from these shores.
Every now and again I hear of Staffordshire Oatcakes and every time I do I think ‘I must give those a go’. I never do though. Last week I was reading this post on the UK Food Blogger’s Association and it was enough to make me finally give them a go, I imagine this author’s success was due to this being the first time I’d actually seen a photo of them.
I grabbed a recipe from a lady called Rose and stocked up on the ingredients ready for the weekend.
Ingredients (makes a dozen)
8 oz flour
8 oz fine oatmeal
1.5 pints, combined, of milk and water
1 sachet of yeast
1 ts of salt
1 ts of sugar
When Sunday morning arrived I mixed my batter all together (it was very runny to start with) and then, as instructed, covered the bowl with a cloth and stuck it in a warm place for an hour. After this time it had thickened and started to froth a bit.
As mentioned one thing I do like is a bit of British produce and luckily when visiting my dad last weekend I was given a pound of proper smoked bacon from the village butcher. This is the stuff that exudes fat rather than white blobs when frying so I lopped off the rinds (why most bacon comes without rind these days I’ll never understand, even the premium supermarket stuff is skinless) and chucked them in the frying pan to render out all the fat. I cooked the pancakes, in the bacon fat, a ladleful of batter at a time for 2-3 minutes a side - basically until the top dries when cooking the first side and then turn over for another 2 or 3. When I say I cooked them in the bacon fat it doesn’t paint an entirely accurate picture. After the rinds had rendered there was a good bit of fat in the frying pan, the first oatcake soaked every last bit of it up though so the remainder were cooked in a near dry pan with a slight bacon fat greasing.
To serve I piled a little grated mature (is there any other kind?) farmhouse cheddar on each along with a rasher of bacon and gave them a minute under the grill to melt. The oatcakes are like American style pancakes a bit but they have a more savoury taste and bite from the oatmeal and the yeast gives them an almost pikelet like taste too. They tasted superb, I mean it’s pretty hard to make decent bacon and melted cheddar taste bad but the addition of some fried batter around the outside takes them to another level. The tastiest one of them all was the inital, bacon fat sodden one - obviously.
I’d been advised that they froze well so I now have some in the freezer waiting for another breakfast, luckily next time around I won’t have to wait the hour whilst the batter rests.