Archives for posts with tag: Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

It has become a Saturday morning ritual in our house to make pikelets.  Or at least try.  I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe for months.  We have strict criteria (which are largely related to my general laziness and the need for them to be perfect):

– The mixture must be suitable for preparing (quickly) the night before and ready to cook as soon as we wake up on Saturday morning regardless of whether we wake up at seven (likely) or nine (in my dreams).

– The recipe must be suitable for making pikelets and not require me to faff around with crumpet rings.

– The result must be very, very holey and deliciously chewy without any hint of old boot leather.

– There should be no bicarb’ in them as I don’t like the flavour.

– They must be easy enough to make whilst carrying an almost-toddler and singing The Wheels on the Bus ad nauseum.

We seem to have finally cracked it.  The final recipe is somewhere between this Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

recipe (but contains no bicarb’ or milk) and the one in Andrew Whitley’s Bread Matters and uses plain flour rather than a strong bread-making flour which is too high in gluten.

Now I just throw all the ingredients into a large bowl the night before (be warned, using a small bowl can easily result in you being met by a pool of gloopy batter advancing across the worktop on your arrival in the kitchen in the morning) , give it a brief whisk with a balloon whisk (this seems to give much better results than using a wooden spoon) and cover the bowl with a plate overnight.

In the morning I thoroughly heat two lightly oiled, heavy based, frying pans to a moderate temperature before cooking three ladelfuls of batter at a time in each.  They need to be cooked on one side until the top is just set and then flipped over for a minute or two to brown on top.  My recipe makes about twenty so there should be a few left over for the following day (or maybe not).

I usually cook a joint of meat or a chicken at the weekend so we have leftover meat and some stock to use during the week but, since we were away at the weekend, I’m cooking a mid-week chicken.

I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s deliciously buttery Herb Roast Chicken (the recipe I have in his fabulous book Meat is for a smaller bird than he uses here).  As it is mid-week (and I have eaten a lot of croissants lately) I’m thinking lower in fat and it needs integrated potato cooking to save some time.

The principle of the HFW recipe is great though, you can set the oven timer for 55 minutes (for a 1.5Kg bird) at 210C (fan) and put the bird in, breast side up, when the oven is at temperature.

I sprayed mine with olive oil, seasoned it and put some lemon, garlic and parsley in the cavity. A few new potatoes around the outside.  After 20 minutes I turned the oven down to 160C, added a glass of water (wine is even better) and turned the chicken over.

You can then go out for an hour to have your hair cut, do the school run, whatever, and come home to perfectly cooked chicken (the usual rule to check it is done applies of course) and potatoes.  You will notice from the photos though that you do have to be prepared to compromise on the crispy skin aspect of roast chicken…but you do get very succulent meat.

Leave the oven door ajar while you steam some vegetables and that’s dinner done plus enough meat left to make a soup, noodles or risotto.

The juices needed a little thickening after carving today so I added a small knob of butter and a teaspoon of cornflour mixed with cold water and cooked on the hob (in the roasting pan) for a couple of minutes.