Saturday, 29 October 2011

Staffordshire Oatcakes

Last weekend a friend reminded me about Staffordshire oatcakes. A conversation over lunch about cheese led on to cheese accompaniments, crackers and oatcakes, and then onto the joys of a Staffordshire oatcake stuffed with bacon, mushrooms and cheese.

If you've never heard of them they're not like the biscuit-y oatcakes you eat with cheese, rather an oat-based pancake. I love oats so I've been wanting to try them for ages, and not having any trips to Stoke planned soon I thought I'd make my own.

I searched the web for recipes, none of which exactly suited the ingredients and time I had available, so I came up with my own hybrid version that turned out very well.

The resulting cakes are thicker than a crepe-style pancake, thinner than an American one, and have a heartier, slightly nutty taste from the oats. They are indeed very good with bacon (or leftover spam, sorry guilty pleasure!), mushrooms and cheese but I also had one for dessert with honey and the leftovers are just about to get warmed up with bacon and beans. They'd work well with anything you'd usually stuff in a pancake.

What you need (makes 6-8 oatcakes):

120g medium oatmeal
120g strong wholemeal flour
250ml milk
250ml water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast

What to do:

1. Put the milk, water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside for 5 mins somewhere warm.

2. In another bowl mix together the oatmeal, flour and salt.

3. Pour the dry ingredient mix into the wet, add the tsp of oil and whisk.

4. Put somewhere warm for at least an hour, preferably two.

5. Give the batter a stir and get a frying pan hot. Add a knob of butter to fry them in if you like. It's not necessary in a non-stick pan but as we all know everything is better with butter.

6. Pour a ladle of batter into the pan and roll it round to spread out across the pan surface.

7. When it's gone all bubbly and dried out on the top, flip and fry on the other side.

8. Serve immediately with whatever takes your fancy, or cook a whole batch and pile them up on a plate separated by kitchen paper. They will keep for a couple of days and taste fine warmed up.

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