25 February 2006

Tea And Crumpets And Griddlecakes

Well I have never, ever, posted a recipe blog. Nonetheless we all have these little mental aberrations, so here it comes. If it's not your cup of tea, though, erm, politely; tough.

A while ago Gareth posted about his Nan's Welshcakes. It brought back floods of memories for me, of standing expectantly in the corner of my own Nan's kitchen watching wide eyed as she mixed these little miracles and then flipped them on the griddle of the kitchen range. They were our special treat; they were what happened when I was round to play at her house all on my own.

There was nothing for it, I googled the recipe, found a few variations and picked the one that felt right. Then I threw out the scales and mixed up a small batch by proportions. The whole game took about ten minutes.

Heaven. I sat here last night and worked through eight curranty, buttery griddlecakes, all by myself. God, but its been years since I was pushed to the need for comfort food, but that's another story, and its been said, so its done and gone.

Here is my 'size it yourself' slapdash recipe, by volume (although it works by weight too if you are heavy with the flour) for welshcakes/griddlecakes, whatever you are inspired to call them.

3 flour - self raising or plain + bicarb, according to instructions on the bicarb box. Apparently you can get away without the cream of tartar if you want. Some recipes insist on plain flour and bicarb, but I guess if you love that sodabread tang and extra airy texture you could even add a pinch of bicarb to SR flour. Go with the flow.

1 butter. Rub this into the flour to make breadcrumbs.

1 sugar - regular is ok but if you want sweeter, use caster.

Egg. If you are sizing this up to cups or pounds then 2 large eggs. Anything less - one egg is fine.
Tip: You can't really overdo egg, it binds the mix and helps things raise - the worst that can happen if you overdo the egg a little bit is that you will have to flour the dough again to get it out of the bowl. If you think you could have put another egg in after all, just add a splash of milk, to sticky things up.

For now, mix the egg with the sugar. This is best done by breaking the egg up a bit, then putting the sugar in. If you do it the other way round, the sugar sticks to the bottom of the cup/bowl and doesn't want to play. I found that out the hard way.

1 currants. stir these into the breadcrumb mixture.

Combine both mixtures, knead into a dough ball and slap onto a surface for rolling out. Treat the same as biscuits or cookies - about a quarter inch thick, cut with a cookie cutter.

Slap into a flat frying pan on low to medium if you don't have a griddle. If your breadcrumbs looked very fine and you don't think there was enough butter in the mix, then give a very thing smearing of butter to the pan, but ideally these should be cooked dry. Watch the edges, when they are golden brown on one side, flip them over and do the other.

Best eaten warm on a cold and lonely day, with a huge mug of tea or otherwise a china cup and a pot on standby.

Edit: I just let the kids help me make some more. Just for info, there is definitely such a thing as too much bicarbonate of soda. It also makes the outsides tend towards shades of black instead of a warm golden brown....


Today I feel inspired. Courtesy of the local supermarket changing hands, we can no longer get hold of the bumper, cheap packets of crumpets. Crumpets are, in this house, a Sunday breakfast. Some of us like them so covered in butter that it is spotting through the base, others like them layered with toasted cheese.

Here, then, is what I will be playing at today. Wish me luck!


She Weevil said...

We had a very large plate of scotch pancakes yesterday for lunch as between 5, 3 eggs won't go very far.

I grew up with fillers liek this and was always amazed at how my mum could make a great plate of deliciousness from seemingly nothing. Now I do it too and the kids love it. Just the tonic for the miserable weather. I will cadge your recipe and try it one Sunday: SS has asked if we can have high tea again soon.

Cheryl said...

Or shall I google again....

Cheryl said...

Doh - drop scones?
Heavenly :-D

Jack P Toerson said...

My eccentric Welsh grandmother used to send me Welshcakes once a month when I was in my teens. I'm older now, she's in her nineties, and I still occationally get sent them.

Le laquet said...

I am making Welshcakes in school on Wednesday (it being Dydd Dewi Sant) and I am also taking my Welsh costume in ... to put on and then take off again!

I have my grandad's recipe ~ it's a little different! Do you want a look?

I also have his resipes for pikelets (drop scones), teisen lap (flat-ish fruit cake), bara brith (translates as speckled bread) and cawl (lamb stew) if your heritage is calling out to you loudly and your having a bit of a cook/bake-fest!

It's 6.33am I'm off to have a welsh cake :o)

Annie said...

I saw welsh cakes in Morrison's the other day - the only place I've seen them outside of Wales. I lived in Cardiff for a little while, and have Welsh relatives.

The Moai said...

I will be extraordinarily grateful if anyone can tell me where to get Welsh cakes in Central London!