I have lived in the very beautiful county of Shropshire for much of my life apart from time spent in Cardiff for Uni and a brief sortie down to Margate and Broadstairs for work. Now, Shropshire is right next door to Staffordshire but I have never before had a Staffordshire Oatcake. Either this proves once and for all that I am a bumpkin or it shows how very regional, or local, food can be. So I thought last weekend should be the weekend to change all that.
Recently, I have made a concerted effort to make at least one of the week-end breakfasts something a little bit special. Week-ends are even more precious now that my eldest has started school and we seem to see so much less of her. As a result I have been experimenting with yeast – the girls normally bawl me out of bed around 6 am so I have plenty of time to get something prepared and then leave it to sit around for an hour or so and still get something on the breakfast table at about 8.30 am. I have made English muffins and crumpets so far (the crumpets need a bit more practice I think, hence not having blogged about them yet). The oatcakes though were a real success and I am regretting not having tried them much earlier in life. They are much more substantial than a pancake with a really good wheaty flavour. A friend tells me they are good with cheese melted on the top and I think that they would be really good as part of a Full English but on Sunday we had them with sweet toppings; maple syrup, lemon curd and marmalade ( as I had made marmalade on Saturday) and they were very good indeed. I think the Staffordshire Oatcake is destined to be a regular feature of the week-end breakfast in our house from now on and my husband has requested that I make extra so that he can fill them for his lunch at work.
The batter makes 10 large oatcakes. I didn’t have any oatmeal in the house so I blitzed some porridge oats in my food processor for a few seconds to achieve a similar texture.
225g oatmeal (or porridge oats blitzed in a food processor)
225g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 sachet (7g) fast-action yeast
1 tsp sugar
Warm the water and milk gently until hand-hot.
Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Add the warm milk and water, mix well to combine. To me it looked like it was going to be far too much liquid, but the oatmeal and flour soon absorb it so it really isn’t.
Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour or so. You will see that bubbles start to appear and froth.
Heat a large heavy based pan over a high heat and if your pan isn’t well seasoned brush with a smear of oil or butter and wipe off excess with a piece of kitchen towel. When the pan is really hot, pour a ladleful of batter onto the pan, tipping the pan gently to make sure the mixture disperses into a good circle. Leave to cook for about two minutes until bubbles start to appear at the top and the mixture is beginning to cook on the top. Flip the oatcake over using a fish slice and cook for a further minute until nicely browned on both sides. Keep this oatcake warm whilst you cook the rest of the batter in this way.
Serve warm with the savoury or sweet topping of your choice.