Pork belly and chick pea casserole

I’d hesitate to call this a recipe. It’s more like a memory from childhood in a pot, to be honest. A chuck it all in dish, if you will. We call a stew a yahni (γιαχνί) and that covers a lot of dishes! Many cultures have their own versions.

I think Mum used to make this with white beans, but she could also have used chick peas too. Use what you have.

I had dried chick peas in the cupboard, and no tins, which is why I used the dried ones, but the tinned ones are equally as good, if not better, and they cut out the soaking and boiling time.

You can jazz this up as much as you want, add in onions if you like, chillies, more garlic, or use a different cut of meat, it’s up to you. It’s your dinner, after all.

Pork and chick pea yahni

1 cup dried chick peas, soaked overnight, drained then simmered in unsalted water until tender.

3 large pork belly slices, the tough skin removed, and cut into chunks

2 tins plum tomatoes and their juice

3 cloves garlic

olive oil



Brown the pork belly chunks off in some oil. I had some bacon fat left over so used that.

Crush the plum tomatoes with your hands*, and add them to the pot.

Add in the drained chick peas.

Pop in 3 whole cloves of garlic, 1 tbs honey, 2-3 tbs olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Mix well, pop a lid on, and cook in the oven on around 170FC for an hour then down to 150C for least 3 hours.

Take the lid off at the end to thicken up the sauce a bit and add some caramelisation.

This is my idea of a comforting dinner, just pootling away in the oven, teasing you with the odd wisp of garlicky scent.

If it’s still a bit acidic when you taste it, add in a pinch of sugar, a little more olive oil and bake for 10 minutes more. Some tinned tomatoes can be very acidic!

You might want some bread to soak up the juices.

Serve with olives, and maybe some sharp cheese.


Chuck it all in Finished pot

*tomato seeds are bitter, so if you chop things in a food processor, or with a knife, that can release some of the bitterness.


Plain houmous using dried chick peas

I bought a bag of dried chick peas ages ago, meaning to use them for something, and promptly forgot about them once I’d put them in the cupboard. That happens a lot in my house. Out of sight, out of mind and all that.

I found them yesterday, so decided to actually remember to soak some overnight, and give houmous a try using them. Just to see what difference it makes to the texture and the taste.

Now, I know you can buy this anywhere, but shop bought houmous has become a disappointment to me, if I’m honest. It’s now too pungent, and I find that I cannot get the taste to go away for ages. The only brand that doesn’t do that to me is Sabra, usually to be found in the Kosher section. That is consistently lovely.

The rest of them taste quite artificial to me, so when I found that my carrot houmous lasted nearly a week without spoiling, I thought I’d make more. Not quite such a volume of it this time though. Even I can get tired of houmous.

The joy of this is that you can adjust everything to the way you like it. Leave out the salt (though I’m not sure I would like it that way), add more tahini, more lemon, whatever you think makes it taste how you want it.

200g (pre-soaked weight) dried chick peas

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2-4 tbs tahini

juice of 1 – 2 lemons

1/2 - 1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic salt (you can use fresh if you want, but this makes it more work lunch friendly)

Cover the chick peas with water in a large pan. Leave overnight.

Soaking chickpeas

The next day, once you have drained the chickpeas, put them back into the pan and cover with cold water to at least double their depth. DO NOT ADD SALT.

Add the 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda into the water and stir.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour. You might get some foam on the top, I just skimmed that off. It’s nothing to worry about. Top up with boiling water if the water looks to be too low.

Test one to see if it’s soft.

If they are tender, then drain them, saving the simmering liquid, and leave them to cool. I found that the cooking liquid started to gel, which took me by surprise.

Soaked and simmered chickpeas

Put the peas into a food processor. Add in 2 tbs tahini and the juice of half a lemon to start, plus 1/2 tsp garlic salt, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Give it a whizz, and add some of the cooking liquid if it’s too thick.

Taste, adjust the tahini/lemon/salt/garlic salt.

I ended up with 4 tbs tahini, the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 1 tsp salt. I could probably have added more lemon.

Tub full

Served with extra virgin olive oil, and topped with an Essex olive from my own tree!

Served with an olive

It has a much creamier flavour than using tinned chick peas. I think that if I’d kept on blending and added more tahini, it would have gone to an even more silky paste, but I like it with a little bit of bite.

It might last until Monday. If I run out of breadsticks. (It should keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.)


Roasted Carrot and Sesame Houmous

I found myself with yet another glut of carrots. That always seems to happen, and then they go from firm things to rubbery and damp almost overnight. I know that I have said before that I think carrots are the pear of the vegetable world.

So. This glut. What to do with them. I cooked some cut into rounds, simmered until just cooked, then glazed with brown sugar and cinnamon.

I still had loads.

Of course. Houmous! Roasting the carrots is actually a very nice way of using up veggies that are past their best. It brings out the sweetness that may have faded while they were being ignored at the bottom of the fridge.

Here we go.

I made a version of this a couple of years ago, and wanted to tweak it, plus I like playing with my new food processor and had just read the Hummus Brothers cookbook. This makes about 3 cups of houmous.

1 pound carrots, chopped into 1-inch chunks

2 tbs sesame seeds

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (I used orange flavoured, but any olive oil will do.)

1 400g tin cooked chickpeas, drained but liquid reserved

1/4 cup tahini

Juice of half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic salt (I didn’t have any fresh in)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Coat the carrots with 2 tbs of the olive oil, and toss with sesame seeds.

Roast in a hot oven (170C fan) for a good half hour, 45 minutes, until soft.

When cooled, place into the bowl of a food processor.

Add everything else, and blitz.

Taste, then adjust all the seasonings and flavours. Mine needed more salt, and more lemon, as the carrots were very sweet. And I added more tahini because I love it. Adjust it to how you like it. It’s your dinner.

Perfect for lunch with some crackers. It should keep in the fridge for about 5 –7 days. 

Peeled carrots

Carrots with orange oil and sesame

Carrots with tahini, chick peas and sea salt

Finished dish


Fig Molasses & Orange Madeleines

It’s Thane Prince’s Cookbook Club this week, and the theme is Paris. I’ve only ever been to Paris once, and even then it was only the outskirts, and only for an overnight stay, so I didn’t get to explore the food shops. We were on our way to Chalon-sur-Saône, and had a long drive ahead of us, so we just didn’t have time.

If we had had the time, I’d have been sure to hunt down some Madeleines. I love these little sponge cakes and, truth be told, I am death to a bag of the Bon Maman ones.

I wanted to make some to take to Cookbook Club, so set about baking.

The plain vanilla ones were first and then, inspired mainly by London Bakes post here, some Fig and Orange ones.

Nice and easy recipe here, which I used just with lemon zest. They are nice, but need more vanilla I think.

The next lot up were the fig ones. I wanted to use up a jar of Fig Molasses that I’d bought from the Turkish Deli in Borough Market. I used it for making a green bean, fig and almond salad from my friend Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana, and I had quite a lot left.

I added grated orange rind too, because fig and orange goes very well together, and then used wholewheat flour, to make them slightly more toothsome. For once, I didn’t add cinnamon, the fig molasses needed to shine through a bit.

The smell as they were baking felt like Christmas had invaded my house again. Trudged its way through the snow, and climbed in through the window.

I can highly recommend these! (I’ve put them in a box now, so I don’t eat them all.)

3 medium to large eggs

2/3 cup sugar OR 2/3 cup fig molasses plus 1 tbs golden caster sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tsp orange flower water

1 cup flour (I used stone ground wholemeal)

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons grated orange zest 

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Beat the sugar/molasses together with the eggs until it’s well mixed and slightly creamy. This takes around 3-5 minutes. (It does separate a bit, just whisk it back in.)

Whisk in the flour, bicarb, extracts and then whisk in the melted butter.

Leave to stand for an hour.

Heat the oven to 400° F /200° C.

I sprayed my moulds with baking spray, but you can butter and flour them if you prefer. I had one metal tin, and one silicone, so I could alternate them for faster baking.

Fill each little mould 2/3 full. I used a teaspoon, as my mix was quite thick. You can pipe it if you want, but I couldn’t be bothered, if I’m honest!

I baked each set for 10 minutes, and made sure I set a timer. They came free of the moulds very nicely indeed. I think next time I will add a bit more sugar, and use half white half wholemeal flour.

Fig and Orange Madeleines


Halloumi and Aubergine Bake

Okay, so that title doesn’t sound exactly thrilling, but just wait ‘til you taste the dish. Since I’ve started taking it to work, at least 5 people have also started making it, plus more than a few outside of work too. There is something about that mix of cheese, fruit, spices and herbs that just becomes an addition.

Most of you will know about my adaptation of a classic Cypriot Easter pastry called a flaouna, which I morphed into Halloumi pie. If you don’t, go here. Or listen to me bang on abut how much I love these parcels of salty cheese, fresh mint and sweet fruit, all held together by a tender pastry.

They are only made at Easter, and only made in Cyprus. I have spoken about them to mainland Greeks before, and they just shrug at me.

Flaounes have been made in Cyprus for decades, and are served as a celebratory food for the breaking of the Lenten fast. They are traditionally prepared on the Good Friday for consumption on Easter Sunday by Orthodox Christians. They are eaten in place of bread on Easter Sunday, and continue to be made and eaten for the weeks following.

These are THE taste of Easter. You usually have to cook by committee if any other family members are around, because everyone will have their own ideas about how these should be made.

A lot of you will also know about my love for aubergines. That much maligned – and oft poorly cooked – vegetable, that can be as silky and comforting as any chicken soup, or as spiced and punchy as one of The Rib Man’s sauces. Yes, I go on about them a lot. That’s because, so often, people do not cook them right at all, and thus their reputation for being unpalatable carries on.

I just wanted to take two of my favourite things in the world, both tastes of my childhood, and bring them together. Work lunches can be boring, but this makes them incredibly enjoyable.

So. This is my entry for the Destinology “Reimagine a Classic” competition. A re-imagining of a classic Cypriot pastry, that really only Cypriots will know, and taking that and turning it into a very delicious and easy lunch for these carb conscious days.



1 x pack of halloumi, grated*

1 x 250g pack grated mature cheddar

1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

Large handful of sultanas

4 small eggs

1 tsp dried mint

1/2 level tsp ground cinnamon


1 large aubergine, cut into thick slices (enough to cover the base of the dish)

olive oil, the good stuff, as it’s a main flavour

Lay the aubergine slices on the bottom of a deep sided casserole dish. One that you know you can safely get baked cheese off of again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Brush – or if you’re me, drizzle -  very generously with oil, and bake or grill until golden on one side.

Turn them and bake them until they are soft all the way through.

While they are baking, mix all of the ingredients for the topping together. I used 4 small eggs, but you may only need 3 depending on your eggs. Just enough to hold the cheeses together, there need be no extra eggy liquid in there.

I started with 2, and added more as I went.

Pour on the topping, and cover them. The cheese will spread out.

I baked it at 170C Fan which should be a Moderate oven / 325F / 160C / Gas 3/4.

You want the edges all browned and bubbly and the middle set. I cook mine til the edges are quite dark.

Serve when it’s stopped being volcanic.

(You can use peppers, or courgettes too. Just make sure they are well cooked.)


*I use Cypressa brand, as it’s the most consistent, in both texture and salt levels.


Ingredients close up

Baked aubergines

Finished bake



Mmm Kikkoman Mushrooms!

Having rather a lot of Kikkoman’s reduction left over (the thinned out version from brushing the dumplings, here), and remembering I had mushrooms and rye bread to use up, this one was a bit of a no-brainer, but I really have to share.

1 pack chestnut mushrooms, quartered

2 banana shallots, cut in half lengthways and sliced thinly

2 – 3 tbs olive oil

1 tsp butter

2 tbs Kikkoman’s reduction (or you could use 2 tsp Kikkoman’s plus 2 tsp aged balsamic)

2 slices rye bread

2 tbs Greek yoghurt with honey (or use 2 tbs plain Greek yoghurt and add a drizzle of honey)

Coat and then slowly cook the shallots in the olive oil and butter until they are soft and starting to brown at the edges.

Add in the soy, mix well, then add in the mushrooms and mix well to coat.

Cook on high for a couple of minutes only, then cook slowly,covered, until the mushrooms release their own juice.

Take the pan off the heat, allow to cool a little.

Mushrooms part 1

Then stir in the yoghurt.

Serve piled over rye bread drizzled with olive oil.

Scoff, then bemoan the fact that you haven’t got any more mushrooms.

Mushrooms part 2


Comfort Food & Kikkoman’s


Update 11.11.14 – I didn’t win – BOO – but man, do I have some tasty dinners in the freezer from making this!

DISCLAIMER: If the photos are slightly shaky, I apologise, but I broke my wrist on the 1st September, so it’s still healing, and my camera is a bit heavy!

Dedicated to Nigel Slater, because he always makes me feel such a sense of autumnal comfort and calm. Something about this dish, and his books and TV shows, fill me with gentle happiness, and the sense that a cup of tea, and a decent slice of cake or a good biscuit, will make everything alright again.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I’d like to have a go at a recipe competition run by Kikkoman’s, the soy sauce people. I love their soy sauce, with its rich, salted caramel flavour, so of course I said yes. Info on them here: www.Kikkoman.co.uk

The twist was to make a NON ORIENTAL one pot dish, using the sauce as a seasoning, not just as a stir fry sauce. It’s surprisingly hard to get every single oriental dish out of your brain when they are trying to crowd in, all yelling their ideas, but I managed to clear a space. Eventually.

I decided to go with a fairly British autumnal comfort food. Stew and dumplings.  I have, of course, managed to make this on the one day that is as warm and sunny as an early summer day, but never mind.

As the idea was to use the sauce not just as a sauce, but as a seasoning, and as salt is one of the most important seasonings, I was struck by the idea of dehydrated soy sauce. Would it crumble up into salt crystals so I could use it in a dried form?

The answer is yes, it does. Very soft, sticky flakes, admittedly, but oh my they work. I fought back ideas of chocolate and soy salt tart, and got on with the savoury. (But don’t think I won’t be trying that sweet version.)

It took 2 bits of prep, but the taste was so worth it that I’d definitely do batches of these two things again to keep in the store cupboard/fridge. That would make this a very easy one pot dish.

Crystals *

Soy on foil

1 shallow roasting tray, lined with non stick foil right up the sides too.

2/3 cup Kikkoman’s

Pour the sauce into the lined tray and bake on about 160C until it looks like this.

Dehydrated soy

Some of it will still be liquid underneath the crust, so I tipped the tray until those bits ran out and kept baking until they crystallised as well.

Then leave it to dry overnight, and scrape it off gently into an airtight pot. It is quite sticky.

The Reduction **

Getting started

1/3 cup Kikkoman’s

1/3 cup good aged balsamic, one with a sweet edge

1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix the above together in a pan, and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until it’s reduced by half. It will go foamy, and then as it cools it will thicken to what looks like Marmite. To use as a drizzle just put the pan on a very low heat and it will liquefy again. This is one of the most umami-laden things I have ever tasted. I had to keep tasting it just to make sure, of course. Thinned down with a bit of water it would make an amazing salad dressing.

This is a shaky photo, taken one handed, of just how thick it becomes, and how bubbly it looks when it’s ready.

Thickened soy


1 large oven proof casserole dish that can go on hob and in the oven

2 packs of Lidl venison meatballs

1 cup red wine

1 tin good quality chopped tomatoes and juice

1 pack Merchant Gourmet ready cooked chestnuts, half chopped, half left whole

4 large banana shallots


6 oz plain flour

3 oz suet

1 – 2 tsp soy crystals

A good grate of fresh nutmeg

Tiny pinch sea salt

Small pinch dried thyme

Chop the shallots down the middle and then across.

Chopped shallots

Fry them in some olive oil until they start to soften and brown at the edges, then add in the meatballs and some of the reduction.

Meatballs with added glaze

Keep frying and mixing until the meatballs are all coated, adding more reduction if they don’t seem coated enough.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, red wine and then add the chopped chestnuts. DO NOT ADD SALT.

Knife and chestnuts

Mix everything together well, then add in another tablespoon of the reduction.

Meatballs in sauce

Leave the whole lot to cook in the oven on around 150-160C for about an hour.

Make up the dumplings. 

Mix the flour and soy salt together then mix in – but do not rub in – the suet. Grate in 1/8 tsp of fresh nutmeg, and add 1/4 tsp dried thyme.

Soy salt and flour

Now add just sufficient cold water to make a fairly stiff but elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. It took about 10 tablespoons for me.

Knead it lightly then shape it into 12 dumplings.

Turn the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C)

Place the dumplings on top of the stew, brush with some watered down reduction, and bake uncovered for a further half an hour. As you can see, it really thickens up! The bottom of the dumplings hold lots of gravy, and the tops are slightly crunchy.


I am definitely making this again. If you left out the meat, doubled the amount of chestnuts, and added mushrooms and parsnips, this would make an excellent vegetarian winter casserole. (Using vegetarian suet, obviously.)

Finished dish


* – if you can’t be faffed, just use smoked Maldon sea salt in the dumplings, and add a tiny touch of Marmite to the mixing water.

** – again, if you can’t be faffed, mix very good, sticky aged balsamic with the soy sauce.


Bean cakes. Yes. Beans.

I have bought a lovely book by Tori Haschka. I bought it because I saw photos on her Instagram feed of Raspberry, White Bean and Rose Cake, and Chocolate, Black Bean, and Cherry Cake. I was hooked, there and then.


Of course I bought the book!

Lowering your carb intake isn’t always easy. If you love cake, then it’s tricky, but you can do it. It just so happens that these bean cakes make it even easier.
The first one I made was this. I am a total sucker for rose in anything. (Except in Dr Who. Let’s not speak of this again.)

Raspberry, White Bean and Rose

1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, well rinsed and drained
3 x medium eggs
100g caster sugar
3 tbs ground almonds
3 tbs desiccated coconut
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs rose water
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp rose extract (I use Star Kay White, excellent extracts.)
8-10 fresh raspberries.

Blitz everything apart from the fruit together in a food processor until smooth.
Butter a loaf tin. Dust the inside with desiccated coconut and place a row of raspberries on the bottom.
Pour the mixture slowly into the tin (silicon for me, but inside another metal tin as it stops the sides bowing out) pop the rest of the raspberries on top and bake for 35 minutes.
I bake them at 170C in a fan oven.


Original white bean Basic batter
Finished cake Inside slice

It is a dense texture, with a mouthfeel reminiscent of the red bean filling in Chinese new year cakes. I added in the coconut because I adore coconut and raspberry, plus it shoves the Brain Says Beans thing to one side. I might add more next time.
This was so nice, that I had to make another. Many more tweaks this time.

Bean, Pistachio and Rose

1 x 400g tin of flageolet beans, rinsed and drained
3 x medium eggs
100g caster sugar
6 heaped tbs ground toasted pistachios + 1 tsp for dusting the tin
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs rose water
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp rose extract
½ tsp cinnamon extract
Whole pistachios, dried raspberries and strawberries

Blitz everything (apart from the dried fruit, and the 1 tbs ground pistachios)together in a food processor until smooth.
Butter a loaf tin and dust the whole of the insides with ground pistachios.
Pour the mixture into the tin (silicon again for me) and bake for around an hour, again at 170C in my fan oven.
I tested at 40 minutes, and it needed more time.
The very first one I made was the basic one direct from the book, with minor tweaks because I had things I wanted to use up. This one was because I so wanted to experiment. Tori’s book does that to you.
I took this one to work, and nobody even guessed there was a tin of beans in it. It all disappeared fast.

Nuts and stuff  Pistachio, Rose and Fruit cake
Pistachio cake slice
And again…next up was

Chocolate, Black Bean and Cherry

I halved the sugar in this version and added Splenda, as a test, mainly, to see if it works. I could, in all probability, use all Splenda.
1 400g tin black/turtle beans, well rinsed and drained
3 tbs cocoa (I used Green & Blacks)
1 shot strong espresso (30 ml)
3 medium eggs
50g golden caster sugar
125g glacé cherries, most chopped, 4 reserved for the top
3 tbs Splenda
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Blitz it all together, stir in the chopped fruit, pour into a greased tin, pop four whole cherries on top, and bake for 40 minutes at 170C fan. (I greased the tin with orange olive oil. Good taste.)
It’s even darker in appearance than the photo shows.

Black bean, chocolate and cherry

And so to today. A grey, rainy day that needed spice and warmth. Ginger. Yes.

Gingered Fruit Cake
1 400g tin borlotti beans, well rinsed and drained
6 tbs ground almonds
3 medium eggs
50g golden caster sugar
3 tbs Splenda
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp each mixed spice/cinnamon/orange flower water
2 tbs fig molasses (or use black treacle)
10 glacé cherries, chopped in half
Handful of sultanas
Blitz all except the fruit in a food processor.
Stir in the fruit.
Pour into a well greased tin (I use silicone brushed with the orange flavoured olive oil again) and bake at 170C fan for 40 minutes.
Beautiful colour, and an even rise.

(slice view: http://instagram.com/p/sPUKUJTiDx)

Gingered fruit cake

I can’t wait to taste these! But they are for Cake Club at work. On Thursday. [sigh]
I shall just have to eat toasted pistachios, and bide my time.



Soft Cows’ Milk Cheese

I want to make cottage cheese. It never seems to happen though, but I keep trying. The shop bought stuff used to be lovely but these days, to me, it always tastes off, no matter what they put into it. It can’t be that hard, but I never seem to manage it.

Along the way, though, I have ended up with a very nice Something Else. A very fresh, soft cheese.

I had bought some full cream milk (found it in Sainsbury’s) so wanted to use that for my cheese attempt. I had no rennet so lemon juice it had to be. Sainsbury’s Basic lemons are quite possibly the meanest I’ve come across, juice-wise, (it took five of them to get 1/3 cup of juice) but they smelled gorgeous.

Milk and lemons

1 litre Graham’s Gold Jersey milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 tsp white vinegar

pinch salt

Put the milk in a stainless steel pan, and heat it gently until bubbles start to form around the edge and the top looks foamy.

Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and vinegar, plus a pinch of salt, stir and then leave to sit for 10 minutes. It should curdle and start to split. It doesn’t split into large lumps, but it does split.

(If it doesn’t, heat gently again and add another tablespoon of lemon juice. NOT vinegar.)

Line a colander with a large piece of cheesecloth or a clean teatowel.

Pour the split milk into this then bring the corners together to form a bag.

I tied the top of mine with a piece of string that I could then loop over the tap to drain.

I let it drip for around 2 hours, then turned it out into a Tupperware.

I’m going to try rennet next time, as I don’t always want the lemon flavour, but this is really good on bread or crackers with honey on top, and I’m going to stuff peppers with it tomorrow.

For my taste, next time I would also not add white vinegar as it was a bit too strong. It does make for a very tangy cheese for eating on its own, but with a drizzle of honey it’s perfect.

The Gold milk gives it such a buttery colour, so I’ll definitely use that again!

The hunt for cottage cheese will continue…


Edited: Later that weekend…

I made a salad. The cheese had sat in the fridge for 24 hours. It crumbled perfectly, and went incredibly well with not just the salad ingredients, but with chargrilled aubergine too. Lovely! Next time I shall try and turn it into feta. Sorry. Salad cheese.


Those are Essex olives, picked from my own tree and home cured. Smile




This is all entirely Pete Favelle’s fault. All of it. It started with this post over on Kavey Eats. I couldn’t get the things out of my head.

I bought crumpet rings, but the horror tales of not being able to dislodge the crumpets put me off and I hid them away for a few months.

The germ of an idea refused to leave, and one day I decided to make just one BIG crumpet in a frying pan – no rings - and see what happened.

The batter was very thick, so the whole lot just flopped out into the hastily added cake tin. (Added as I realised the skillet had sloped sides and crumpets don’t.)

It was huge, and I faffed at it a lot,  creating the hashtag of #crumpetgate along the way, but I did it, and it tasted really good!

Batter Stage 1Batter stage 2Stage 3 with cake tinStage 4 OMGWILLITCOOKUndersideSplit

Dinner plate sized crumpet

But the thought of individual ones was stuck in my head. So I braved the dreaded rings.

I adapted the recipe as I had no white bread flour, only wholemeal, but you know, it worked! I also added lemon juice to the milk, to make it more like buttermilk, for no reason other than I was curious as to how it would taste.


4 ounces plain flour

4 ounces strong wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pint milk and water (50/50 mix, ish) – warmed slightly in the microwave, to body temperature

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon light olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp honey

one packet of dried yeast

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 1 tbs warm water


Add the lemon juice to the milk, and mix. It will separate, that’s ok.

Whisk everything together really well, except for the bicarb.

Leave to stand, covered, in a warm place. It should double and froth up.

Pour in the dissolved bicarb and mix very well. It will knock all the air out and hopefully make it pourable. (I had to add a bit more water to thin it out.)

Heat a griddle on a medium heat. Add the rings. I used Lurpak’s cooking mist to properly spray the rings and the pan, and poured in the batter to a depth of about 1 cm.

THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK. The batter is alive. It has its own rules. Crumpet size may go up as well as down.

Gradually the sides will start to dry out, and bubbles will appear. AT NO POINT did I burst these with a skewer. Nope. Not me.

I turned the heat down so that the bottoms didn’t burn. Each one takes maybe 5 minutes to dry out, and then I removed the rings – carefully – and flipped the crumpet to brown the top.

They aren’t as light in texture as a purely white flour mix would be, but they are damned tasty. I am looking forward to toasting some for breakfast tomorrow.

Rings stage 1

Rings stage 2


Released side view

I had one with Blueberry No Sugar Jam for tea.

Blueberry No Added Sugar Jam

Bear in mind this will not last long, as there is no sugar to preserve it apart from that in the blueberries.

1 large punnet of blueberries

2 tsp Splenda

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs water.

Mix everything together well in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer on low until all the juices have reduced and you have a thick jam. Keep in the fridge.

Crumpet in the sun