Apparently these are traditional – can’t say I’d ever heard of them. I made them to take round a friend’s house for tea and they certainly didn’t last like. Like a scone, but more like bread.
Based on a Waitrose recipe.
Devonshire splits (makes 12):
500g rice flour
½ teaspoon salt
25g caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet yeast
25g unsalted butter, melted
Clotted cream, jam and icing sugar to serve
- Stir the dry ingredients together and add the milk and butter. Bring it together and then knead for about ten minutes into a smooth, elastic dough. Cover and leave for an hour or so until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and cut into 12 pieces. Roll into balls and place on a greased baking tray. Preheat the oven to 200°C and leave the balls to prove for 20 mins.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until risen and golden. Allow to cool, dust with icing sugar, slice and stuff with jam and cream.
A couple of years back Jamie Oliver made waffles without using a waffle maker. He used, rather brilliantly I thought, a griddle pan. Genius!
Searching around for the recipe, it’s fair to say there’s some grumpy people out there that have tried it. Esther of the always-readable Recipe Rifle was particularly scathing about them, Kooky Girl has issues, and the ingredients list morphs from one post to another. It appears there was a discrepancy when recording where Jamie might’ve said “tablespoons” instead of “teaspoons”… it’s a bit of a mess. I’m no stickler for an exact recipe, but this is one of those things where you need the right balance of crispy, fluffy and rising to make it work.
Thankfully I found a great new blog as a result of this bout of surfing, Always Order Dessert. Alejandra Ramos struggled to find a consistent recipe too, so engaged the brain to invent one. Using this and a handful of other blogs I came up with a recipe I was perfectly pleased with.
Mindful of problems people were having with flipping the waffle, I had the brainwave to Foreman it. Propped up by newspaper so the grill stayed level, I cooked the batter on a George Foreman grill. This meant they cooked evenly on both sides, no flipping and they developed golden ridges. Flavour-wise, what we really have is American-style pancake batter cooked to a crisp so it’s not quite waffley but hits all the right points.
I’m entering this in Kavey’s monthly Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge. I’ve entered this challenge last year for sorbet, this month the theme is waffles and cones. If you’re looking for some food inspiration go check out Kavey Eats, there’s tons of great food and reviews over there. The ice cream component of my waffles was ready-made; they’re not high-eatin’ but I really like Ben & Jerry’s Core range. This is Winter Berry Brownie, a really fruit ice cream with great big chunks of brownie.
Grilled waffles (makes about 8):
300ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Squirt of lemon juice
100g butter, melted
- Whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk until really smooth. Stir in the salt, sugar and lemon juice, and then dribble in the butter whisking all the time. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
- Preheat your George Foreman grill to high. When hot ladle on the batter and close the grill. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes until golden brown and lever off with a wooden spatula. Serve with ice cream.
We get through buckets of mayonnaise in this house. I kinda like it – particularly with store-bought pizza for reasons I don’t understand – but the rest of the family demolish it. If my son was asked the legendary question: “you’re handed a sausage sandwich. Will it be red sauce, brown sauce, or no sauce at all?” he’d reply mayonnaise in a heartbeat.
So to receive some samples from Hellman’s of their flavoured mayonnaises was set upon by the family quite quickly. First the packaging – there’s much made on TV of their no-mess resealing cap. And sure enough it works a treat. As long as you don’t mind sacrificing a third of the bottle. By the time you work your way down there the rest refuses to come out. I took a knife to it to free the captive condiment. But what about the taste?
There was a black pepper one which I found nice and prickly, and worked really well in a ham salad wrap. But the garlic one was disappointing – slightly tangy but not flavoured with garlic at all. So that’s why it ended up in this gratin.
This type of recipe works great as a side dish, or can be had with a simple salad on the side.
Garlic and potato gratin (serves 2):
5 – 6 medium sized floury potatoes, cut into thick coins. Peeling optional
1 onion, sliced (I used frozen ready-sliced onions)
2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
5 tablespoons garlic mayonnaise
A little grated parmesan
- Preheat the grill to high. Get a large pan of salted water on to boil and add the potatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender.
- While the potatoes cook, fry the onions and bacon in a pan with a little oil until the bacon has coloured and onions softening.
- Drain the potatoes and add to the onion and bacon pan, seasoning as you go. In a shallow dish mix the mayonnaise with a little milk until you get a creamy dressing, and then stir the onion, bacon and potatoes through it until well coated. Grate a little parmesan over the top and put under the grill until golden.
I’ve revived an old habit of mine: devouring biographies. My local library has seen a lot of me lately, as I’ve read stories from all walks of life, Ken Livingstone to Steve-o, Chris Evans to Keith Floyd.
One that’s stayed with me is Antonio Carluccio – A Recipe for Life. I picked it up as a fan of his food and TV programmes. I wasn’t prepared for the vast scope of his life, from growing up the station master’s son, to travelling Europe in all sorts of jobs, to being driven to several suicide attempts due to crippling depression. You would expect the avuncular TV host’s story to be whimsical and giddy, but it is weighed down by a man who seems profoundly lonely. Even his now-beloved Gennaro betrays him and further fuels his sadness.
It’s a sobering read, but well worth tracking down.
On a more upbeat note, Antonio was on Saturday Kitchen this weekend and served up this delightfully simple dish that speaks to his core food philosophy: mof-mof, or “minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour”. Only an Italian could come up with that credo!
It’s a delicious pasta dish, and if I could’ve laid my hands on parsley like the original recipe asks it would’ve been perfect. I embellished mine with truffle salt, a birthday present which just happened to be Carluccio’s branded too. It’s so quick to cook, and delicious.
Open raviolo with mushrooms (serves 2):
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon tomato puree
70ml white wine
4 fresh lasagne sheets
Freshly grated parmesan
- Get a frying pan on a medium-low heat and some salted water on to boil in a saucepan. Add a little oil to the saucepan to prevent the sheets from sticking.
- Melt the butter in the frying pan and add the garlic. Before it browns add the mushrooms and gently fry for 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and season with truffle salt and black pepper. Cook for another minute before adding the wine and bringing to the boil to reduce.
- Pop the lasagne in the water to cook – this should only take 1 – 2 minutes. Put them to one side when done.
- When the wine has reduced to a thick orangey sauce, assemble the dish by alternating pasta sheets with the mushroom mixture. Top with parmesan before serving.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with quite a few people of Nigerian descent; without fail every one of them at some point has brought in jollof rice from home for lunch. This is a slight play on it. Usually the rice is simmered in tomatoes but this can be time consuming so I kept the parts separate until the last minute. I blended it with a gift from a colleague, a coriander-heavy blend of garam masala that he likes. The result is a spicy-sweet rich dish, topped with some aniseedy pollock. Satisfying, homely stuff and it’s easy to see why jollof is a Nigerian family staple.
Pollock with jollof-style masala rice (serves 1 but would be great in bulk):
1 pollock fillet
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 handful chopped onion (I like to use frozen for convenience)
1 cinnamon stick (I like Cinnamon Hill)
1 star anise
1 handful basmati rice
2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon garam masala
Lemon slices, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Get a saucepan and a frying pan over medium heats.
- Lay the fish on a piece of tin foil, drizzle over a little oil, salt pepper and the fennel seeds. Wrap up and bake for 15 – 18 mins until cooked through.
- Heat a little oil in the saucepan and add the onion, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. After they’ve had a minute add the onion and stir fry until softened.
- Meanwhile add the tomatoes and garam masala to the frying pan and bring to a simmer,
- Back at the onion, crank up the heat and add the rice with a pinch of salt. Toss well to coat in the aromatic oil, and then cover with boiling water to twice the level of the rice. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the rice is done, then turn off the heat and cover while you finish everything else.
- Check the tomatoes – they may need a little more salt or sugar to balance everything out. When ready, stir into the rice, top with the fish and drizzle with lemon.
I’m a big fan of coffee. I’m pretty sure I was drinking coffee from when I was about 5 years old, which I’m not sure is particularly appropriate but has led to a lifelong love affair. Sunday mornings meant a pot of filter on, and everywhere I worked I’ve kickstarted a coffee club. When Puro Fairtrade sent me some samples of their Fairtrade coffee brands, I wasted no time in trying it out.
Puro are a brand that believe passionately in ethically produced coffee. There’s an absolute wealth of material on their site, including videos of the farmers, working with South African farmers, schools and forestry. You can’t deny the moral background to their operation. Go check out the videos.
The coffees themselves? The Noble was rich and dark, with a satisfying sweetness. I found the Fuerte a little bland, while it had a kick it was difficult to distinguish any real subtelty from it. For this recipe I’ve used the much more satisfying, chocolatey Organic for this syrup, and paired it with an chocolate chip pancake.
I had no eggs in the house for this American-style pancake recipe. Oddly, the texture was no different from when I’d used eggs, so I probably won’t bother in future. The dark and sweet coffee syrup slathers nicely over the dense, fluffy pancakes. A perfect springtime breakfast, especially with some blueberries in there too for a little sharpness.
Eggless pancakes with coffee syrup (makes about 6 – 10):
For the pancakes:
1 teaspoon baking powder
20g dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 tablespoon water
Large knob of butter
For the syrup:
150g caster sugar
- First make the syrup. Heat the coffee and sugar together in a saucepan. Boil fast until it has reduced by half. I pour mine into a cafetiere to cool and I think it’s kinda cute to serve it from there too.
- Get a frying pan over a medium heat. For the pancake batter, mix all the dry ingredients, then add the vanilla, water and enough milk to make a thick, gloopy batter. Melt the butter in your frying pan and pour this back into the mix (the remaining grease in the pan will be just enough to cook your pancakes). Ladle in the batter and cook until bubbling on the raw side. Flip and cook until browned on the other side. Keep warm on a hot plate until the rest are cooked.
I do love panko breadcrumbs. The ridiculous extra crunch the Japanese breadcrumbs give is so satisfying. So I was really looking forward to chicken coated in panko when I got home.
Until I realised I didn’t have any eggs. The typical pane station is flour, egg, breadcrumb. But with no eggs what was I going to do? I figure all it needed was something for the breadcrumbs to stick to. So why not the chef’s friend cornflour? My only problem was avoiding that gluey taste that cornflour can give, so I added some ground spices to mask the flavour. Seemed to work pretty well. To the point in fact where I don’t see the need to waste an egg on breadcrumbing again!
This is an easy to rustle-up, easy to multiply dinner that is a great combo of crunchy chicken and slurpy noodles. You could use any sauce you like with the noodles – even a splash of soy would do.
Chicken katsu with oyster noodles (serves 2):
2 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
A little plain flour
4 noodle nests
1 litre chicken stock
Large handful of broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
A pinch of chilli flakes
A pinch of sesame seeds
- Get a large pan with shallow oil over a medium heat, and a saucepan for your noodles over a high heat.
- Lay out a sheet of cling film and dust with salt and pepper. Put the chicken on this and lay another piece of chicken on top. Using a rolling pin, bash the chicken to approx 1cm thin.
- In a bowl combine the cornflour, cumin and coriander. Add milk until you get a thick, sludgy paste. Set up a breading station, with one bowl of plain flour, your cornflour sludge, and the breadcrumbs. Dust the chicken with flour, dip in the cornflour paste and then in the breadcrumbs. Make sure they are well coated.
- Lower the chicken into the oil gently. When done on one side flip over until done, then drain on kitchen paper.
- Get the chicken stock on to boil in the saucepan and add the noodles. After 3 minutes or when the noodles are done, drain them and rinse well with cold water.
- Add the broccoli back to the noodle saucepan, add the chilli along with a splash of water. Peel the carrot and use the peeler to shave into strips into the broccoli. Jam the lid on and cook fast. After about 3 minutes the broccoli should be tender, so add the oyster sauce and toss well. Cook for a further minute and then add the noodles back to the pan, tossing well to mix. Serve in a bowl topped with sesame seeds, and top with the sliced chicken.