I can’t remember when I last slept past 5am. Sure there were days that I did in NZ, but that was before I’d adjusted to time zones and 7am there was really 4am at home so it doesn’t really count.
This morning though I was determined to sleep in. No alarm, no walk, just a leisurely rising before heading to the Farmer’s Market. Five am could arrive and I’d wave it away to annoy someone else and go back to sleep – at least until 7.
I bet that you know how this story is likely to end? Exactly. At 4.45am. The Moon was still up, the sun still down, but the kookaburras were stirring. At 5.30 I gave up and decided to make a batch of these pikelets from Ella Risbridger’s book Midnight Chicken (And Other Recipes To Live For). As an aside, I really will get around to reviewing this fabulous book. Truly, I will, because it is that fabulous.
I’d always thought that pikelets were like small pancakes. I remember making them when I was a kid. In fact, there was one night when we were living in Bombala (in Southern NSW) so I must have been 13 or 14 I suppose – I always judge my age by where we were living at the time – where my parents had gone to some meeting or another and I decided to make pikelets as a surprise supper for when they got home. Sadly we had no milk so being a younger version of the resourceful woman that I am today I improvised using the powdered milk that we used to feed the poddy (orphaned) lambs with. Possibly not one of my best efforts and Dad did turn a little green around the gills when I told him. Mum, though, is made of more resilient stock than that.
These pikelets aren’t like those pikelets. These ones are more like a cross between a yeasted small pancake and a crumpet that hasn’t been constrained within a ring. It’s the size of a pikelet with the little bubbles of a crumpet. As Risbridger writes in Midnight Chicken, “pikelets are like crumpets but untidy. Pikelets shouldn’t be perfect or precise. In fact, with pikelets, every imperfection is proof that you did it yourself.”
And there’s not much more imperfect than pikelets that are mixed up at 5.30 in the morning while you’re trying not to wake the rest of the house. These ones fell prey to the sorts of disaster that happens when your body might be awake but your brain hasn’t quite caught up. I accidentally measured in baking powder instead of bicarb soda and had to fish it back out. I couldn’t remember if I’d put the salt in or not and added a little more. I ran out of normal milk and had to substitute with the lactose-free stuff that Sarah uses in her smoothies. When whisking I had to take the bowl out of the kitchen and walk around the living room so neither of the sleeping beauties would be disturbed by the not-so rhythmic banging of bowl against kitchen bench.
None of these factors, however, damaged the end product – or at least they didn’t seem to. Apparently, they keep okay for a few days and toast okay too – although they didn’t last past mid-morning here.
Anyways, here’s the recipe.
What you need:
- 175g plain flour
- 1 x 7g sachet instant yeast
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- 150ml milk
- 150ml hot water from a freshly boiled kettle
What you do with it:
Pop the kettle on to make tea and while that’s boiling, measure the dry ingredients into a big bowl and your milk into something else. Once the kettle has boiled mix 150ml into the milk so that it’s warm but not hot and pour water into your teapot and set that aside. Now you can mix the watery milk into the dry ingredients, beating seriously hard for a few minutes. (I had to confess to needing a rest halfway through – my biceps aren’t what they used to be).
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, take a photo out the kitchen window of the sunrise, and take your tea back to bed with your computer so you can get a head start on next weeks blogs. If like me, you’re lucky enough to have a guest bedroom, I’d advise you to go there rather than disturbing anyone who probably should be up anyway.
Check Instagram – and Facebook – rather than catching up on your blogging and leave the batter for around an hour – until it’s bubbly and frothy.
Heat your largest frying pan over medium heat and add some oil in the base if it isn’t non-stick. (Although I must confess to never really trusting non-stick and adding the oil anyway and I didn’t use my largest frying pan because the handle is loose on it.)
Dollop tablespoons of the mix onto the hot pan, leaving plenty of room between the dollops, and cook for about 90 seconds. Flip over with a spatula and give them another 60 seconds before lifting them onto a plate.
Boil the kettle again and make another pot of tea and then devour the crumpetty pikelets with plenty of butter – or butter and jam – before anyone else is up. Then you can fib and say that the mix didn’t really make that many after all. Try not to flinch when your daughter uses the spray can of fake whipped cream – oh the horror.