New Year’s Resolutions

So I disappeared for a while. But now it’s 2014, and new years mean new resolutions, and my food based ones are extensive. I’ve complained in the past about the quantity of cookery books I have, and the infrequency with which I actually bother to use them. This changes now. I’ve spent the afternoon sitting with a large pile of them, looking for 52 things I want to bake in the next year.

The rules:

1. One recipe a week

2. Nothing I’ve made before

SIMPLE.

Of course as soon as I started sifting through, I realised there were going to be far more than 52 things. But it’s good to have a shortlist (or a long list) from which to choose. And it will challenge me, and make me bake things like Brooklyn Blackout Cake which I’ve been looking at for…years now and thinking I should try it one day. Well, that day has now come.

I’ve also resolved to eat less meat. I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently reading about sustainability and climate change, and everything keeps telling me I should become vegan. I’m not going to lie though, I have no desire to be vegan, I like milk and bacon too much. But, as a compromise, I am buying all my meat locally, I’m thinking a lot more about where the food I buy comes from, and I’m going to try and eat vegetarian whenever I eat out. So, small steps.

Anyway, without further ado, the first recipe on my list is CRUMPETS!

My boyfriend decided it would be funny to buy me crumpet rings for Christmas. I’m still convinced he bought them because he knew he would get freshly baked crumpets, but he continues to deny it. Crumpets are one of those things that for the longest time I just assumed came out of a packet bought from the supermarket, and I had no idea how they were made, apart from probably by a machine in a factory somewhere. Then along came Peyton and Byrne’s British Baking, at which point I found out that you, yes you can make crumpets in your own home, with some crumpet rings and a frying pan! (and some ingredients of course…)

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Except, sometimes, things go wrong. And you’ve definitely followed the recipe, but it’s just not right….

My first few crumpets (cough…all) turned out more like under-done batter than crumpets. Wholeheartedly disappointed, I decided to dig out the recipe I had earlier discarded from the back of the packet the crumpet rings. Was it quite different? Yes. Yes it was. Not in ingredients perhaps, but definitely method. So I can tell you now, no, my batter was not left to rise enough, yes, it lacked bubbles and smoothness. Am I going to try again with this recipe? Yes. It’s official, Peyton and Byrne, you failed me. Spectacularly. But we shall try again, and who knows, maybe they will turn out right next time (watch this space). As a way of not wasting the remaining batter (once I realised the entire batch was going to be a total failure) I tried to use it to make pancakes. Even those didn’t work. Oh well.

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fail crumpet

So, if you want to make some crumpets, have a recipe that I think will work (although is yet to be properly tested):

250g strong white bread flour

1x 7g sachet dried fast action yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1tsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100ml water

275ml milk

butter for greasing and to serve

1. Heat the water and milk together until lukewarm. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, sugar, bicarb and salt.

2. With a large wooden spoon, mix the warm milk and water into the flour mixture, then whisk for a few minutes until a batter is formed. Place a damp tea towel over the bowl and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, by which time the mixture should have risen and be full of bubbles.

3. Generously grease the inside of the crumpet rings and add a knob of butter into a pre-heated frying pan. Place the crumpet rings into the frying pan and add approx. 2 tbsp batter into each ring, so they’re about half full.

4. Cook on a medium to low heat for about 10 mins, until the surface has bubbled, formed holes and has dried out. Try to remove the rings (although I’m pretty sure it’s not the end of the world if you can’t) and then flip the crumpets over so the tops can brown.

5. Serve immediately with butter, or save for later for toasting.

Next week: Crumpets, vol. II and Rosemary Apple Yoghurt Cake

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6 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Good for you. Looking forward to the rest of the year. Am sure it will be interesting, as your blogs always. Keep going. I love all your posts and Happy New Year. Muriel

      • Thinking about crumpets, we just drop spoonfuls of the mixture on to the hot griddle. Then, using a knife or spatula, turn them over to cook on the other side. Think crumpets are an English special but we have English roots here in South Africa. Nice to make a batch when you have a group of friends or family. All best wishes, Muriel

  2. Sorry, I realise the spoonfuls may not work with your recipe with yeast so here is mine. Might be worth a try. 2 cups flour, Half teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, three-quarter to 1 cup milk, 4 teaspoons Baking powder, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter.
    Beat eggs and sugar together well, add half the milk and melted butter. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder, add remaining milk gradually to form a smooth batter. Drop in spoonfuls on hot greased griddle or thick iron frying pan. Leave room for spreading. When bubbles appear, turn quickly with knife and brown other side. Serve hot with butter or syrup. Love your blog.

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