WEEK FOUR IN THE BAKE OFF TENT – IT’S BATTER!
So I personally don’t think this really calls for Mel and Sues’ calling for BAKE! As to me, batter is strictly speaking cooking rather than baking, but hey, at least it is something a little bit different than they have done before. So I have been a little bit loose with the ‘pancake’ too and have done another of Mr Timothy’s favourites:
Bake number one of 2 – DERBYSHIRE OATCAKES
INGREDIENTS (makes approximately 20 pancakes)
2 cups (8oz) oatmeal (I like a ratio of 50:50 fine and medium course)
2 cups (8oz) plain flour (I like to do a ration of ⅔ white ⅓ wholemeal)
¾ pint of milk with ¾ pint of water
2 tspn dry yeast
- Mix together the oatmeals, flours and salt in a large bowl.
- Warm the milk to finger warm, add the sugar and stir, then add the yeast and give it a gentle whisk to mix. Leave this to stand for 15/20 minutes until a good froth begins to form. Make a well in the middle of theflour and pour in the yeasty milk, gently whisk to combine all of the ingredients.
- Cover the bowl (cling wrap, tea towel, shower cap) and leave to stand somewhere warm for approximately one hour. The mixture should be luiquidy and very frothy.
- You will now need a medium sized frying pan or skillet and some grease for frying.
- Put the pan on a medium heat and using a small jug or ladle pour some of the liquid into the pan and spread out to a thin layer that covers the whole area. Cook this off until bubbles begin to appear and the edges lift/come away from the pan a little.Turn or toss the ‘pancake’ to cook the other side (the cooking time for the second side will be less than the first as it is by now already partially cooked from underneath).
- Once fully cooked and golden, slide the oatcake onto kitchen paper or a cooling rack and carry on with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan a little between each one.
- These cakes can be eaten with literally any filling you like, either savoury or sweet, let your imagination run away with you; though I must confess my favourite way is with just butter lightly spread on the cake, then rolled into a tube, or with the classic sugar and lemon juice combo!
TIPS – Place a piece of kitchen towel next to the bowl of batter as you end up dripping it everywhere and it’s a monster to get up once it dries (just make sure it’s not too close to the cooker). These pancakes freeze really well, best if you separate each one with a piece of cling film or baking paper so you can take them out individually. Have 2 pans on the stove top so that you can turn the cake into the second pan allowing that to finish cooking whilst starting the next one. No oatmeal? simply grind up some oats or porridge in a food processor (don’t use instant porridge though!)
Bake number 2 of 2 – FILLED YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS
Okay, so if you have been paying attention over the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed that my other half, Mr Timothy, is a bread, potato and oatcake monster, well that is nothing compared to the beast that roars when I make yorkies. My stepson has only one answer when asked what he wants for tea – “toad in the hole” – or what he wants for Sunday dinner – “anything as long as it has yorkshires”! Plus, being as half of me, from my Pops, is from Yorksher-shire, I have to be able to make good ones, it’s the law, haha. I do have a little claim to fame here, I used to work in a hotels in Spain and at least 2 of those I worked in are making my Yorkshire puds for their gala dinners, when serving beef! My only problem is that I make them by ‘eye’ as i have been making them since I was 11 years old, and that is some years ago now! So I did a little research for the recipe as there’s a lot of them out there and I came up with a good formula (which is also kind of based on a basic cake recipe) – the flour should weigh the same as the eggs and the liquid is then doubled. So if your eggs weigh 4oz, use 4oz of flour and 8 fluid oz of liquid.
WHAT YOU NEED (for a dozen small yorkies)
3 eggs (mine weighed 4 ¾ oz)
4 ¾oz plain flour
9 fl/oz milk
½ fl/oz water
pinch of salt
some beef dripping (or good veg oil if a vegetarian)
muffin tray (12 hole)
- Break eggs into a largish bowl or jug and weigh them so you know exactly how much flour and liquid to use. Zero your scales and add the flour. Whisk these together.
- Weigh/measure out the liquid and add this a little at a time, whisking in well. Pop in a pinch of salt to taste (I also like to add pepper as this is my ‘spice’ of choice). Your batter should look like double cream, too thin and it will rise too fast and collapse and too thick and you will struggle to get a rise out of it.
- Let the mix sit for an hour or so (don’t know why this is done, but I was taught this at school so have always done it!)
- Put a lump of beef dripping into each cup of a deep bun/muffin tray. Put the oven on to full power on fan and put a metal dish or tray in the bottom of the oven. When at full temp put the muffin tin/s into the top and leave for at least 10 minutes until the fat is bubbling and just starting to smoke.
- Remove from the oven and using a measuring cup or ladle evenly fill each hole to around ½ way full, carefully, in case the oil sizzles up.
- Splash a little water onto the metal tray in the bottom of the oven then put the muffin tray/s back in at the top of the oven (leaving enough room for the yorkies to rise). Set timer for 20 minutes. Do not bang your door shut and do not open it until you can see they are well risen (as long as you have a glass door!) or you run the risk of them collapsing in on themselves.
- When they are golden and crisp take out from the oven and carefully remove from the tray. You can eat them as they are with, as a side to a main meal, or as they did on Bake Off make them the star of the meal and fill with your favourite stuffing, let you imagination run wild. They could be a starter course to a meal or even a pudding with something like jam and custard or syrup and banana (just make sure you have not added any herbs or pepper if doing this). I chose to do 2 different fillings, both of them savoury.
Sausage and caramelised onions in gravy
Packet of your favourite bangers
1 medium onion
gravy thickener and water (or cheat and use instant)
- Put the sausages into an ovenproof dish (I like to use one that can be used in the oven and on the hob too to save on washing up!) and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Chop the onion, add this to the sausage pan and let the juices/fat from them cook the onions until golden and sticky; approximately another 20 minutes.
- Remove the sausages and onions and either use the tray on the stove top or scrape the rich fatty goo into a pan, mix your browning with a little water and cook this off with the goo for a minute or 2 on medium heat to thicken slightly. Add enough liquid to make a rich, thick gravy add your onions and sausages and pop this into your puddings.
Chicken & mushroom in a tarragon cream sauce
4-6 small mini breast fillets (or a couple of large one sliced into thin ribbons)
1 large or banana shallot
about 4 large mushrooms
a little oil for frying
chicken stock cube
slug of brandy
fresh or dried tarragon
salt and pepper and a mashed clove of garlic
1 small pot of cream
- Chop/slice up the chicken into small pieces. Chop the onion finely and cut up the mushroom into smallish pieces.
- Heat up a medium sized frying or sauté pan, using the oil, gently fry the onions for a minute or 2 until soft and translucent, add the chicken and fry for a couple of minutes then add the mushroom and again cook for a minute or 2.
- Sprinkle over the stock cube and tarragon, slug in the brandy and add salt and pepper and garlic to taste. Once this has all cooked fully, pour in the cream to your taste, not to dry and not to runny! Simply fill your puds.
TIPS – Use just a little water in your batter and this will help the rise as it will create steam inside the yorkshire, putting the water in the tray in the oven also adds a little steam to get the rise started, only just a little though as too much will result in a soggy pudding (and we don’t like soggy bottoms or anything else on the bake off!)
Phew! that was a bit of a cooking marathon this week, now feeling a little battered (sorry, at least there was only the one pun) but looking forward to next weeks’ pastry bake though, as this was the first thing I was allowed to cook unsupervised at age 11 (in the form of a quiche Lorraine which i still make to this day). If you want to see more of the Bake Off inspired goodies that some of my fellow bloggers have done this week then take a peek at our host site run by Jenny Paulin. And if you do a foodie type blog too, it’s not too late to join in for this year.