Tuesday, 21 July 2009

On waffles, peaches and the joys of not baking

Every kitchen should have a waffle iron.

Seriously. Let me explain: I've been away on cheesemaking fieldwork for my anthropology dissertation and it's hot here in the Canaries. Yes, they make cheese in the Canaries, and one of them happens to have won the "world's best cheese" award last year at the world cheese awards in Dublin. Hence my vital research on the matter. Plus I like cheese, I like the Canaries, and I like swimming amongst the glistening fish in the crystal clear ocean every day.

But I digress. As it is hot, baking is simply out of the question.

Problem is if you're an oven-refusenik on summer days there aren't many non-bake alternatives to the quotidien muesli. Pancakes are delectable but a bit of a faff when you're in Sundayslug mode and we didn't have any dried cholla bread for making French toast. Thus I mandated to Mama Johansen that the waffle-iron come out for Sunday brunch. She happily demured, went off to read the paper and left me to my waffling.

Out came the extention cord and I placed said waffle iron on the terrace for an al fresco brunch - reducing the distance between 'cooking' and eating. Whilst assembling a variety of jams and condiments for embellishing the waffles, a gloopy batter was conjured out of a few holy ingredients. Good butter, as you might expect, is essential, but otherwise there's no art to making waffles. I set the table, Mama J took care of her coffee and within minutes we were scoffing crisp, glorious waffles and sipping hot coffee, or in my case, M&S Extra Strong Tea (don't ask me why, but I have a real soft spot for Marks & Sparks tea...)

In sum, who needs to bake on sultry summer days when the waffle iron provides such simple bruncheon joy?

To mitigate the waffles - not that they require mitigation per se - we snaffled some Spanish donut peaches:

And here's the humble waffle recipe, a hybrid of Mama J's and the winner of last year's waffle competition in Norway. Norwegians, I might add, have a thing about waffles. Expect to be proffered them wherever you go. Or at least this was the case when I lived there many moons ago. You'll probably be given some god-awful cupcakes or ersatz cookies now.

Ingredients: makes enough for 3-4 people
  • 230g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 70g butter, melted
  • 70ml water
  • 150g sour cream (greek yogurt will do)
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 generous teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Sift dry ingredients into large bowl, make a well in middle and add all the liquid ingredients. Stir together until a sticky batter is formed. If you lift the spoon it should take a couple of seconds for the mixture to fall down. Not a minute, nor immediately - a couple of seconds.

Technically you set aside the batter for 1/2 hour to allow the starch cells in the flour to swell. Needless to say, we were too impatient and just cooked the waffles with indecent haste. As Mama J will attest, the waffles were perfect - light, fluffy and crisp on the outside.

Here is a snap from a previous waffle-making session to show you the iron and batter.We gobbled everything on Sunday before photos could be taken. The three hearts above were barely corralled for a photo before we hoovered them...

As for what to serve with waffles, you don't need me to tell you that adding butter and a pinch of cinnamon is gilding the lily, but gild the lily we did. Jams of most descriptions make excellent accompaniments, as do syrups, peanut butter, norwegian gjetost, nutella, fruit, dollops of sour cream, marmite...haha, got you there ;)

That's all for now folks, do let me know if you make waffles or indeed if you have a favourite waffle topping.

Time for a dip in the ocean methinks.


The Ginger Gourmand said...

I bought my sister a waffle machine a few years ago but she has never made me any. Must rectify that one next time I visit...!

Those peaches in the sunshine look divine. Sounds like it was a perfect Sunday morning for you.

Josordoni said...

I just don't have room in my titchy kitchen for another huge electrical appliance (gad, I don't even have room for the Kitchenaid I lust over perpetually...)

Are the non electric irons you use over the stove as good?

Signe said...

Ginger Gourmand - you must! Waffles are so easy, I suggest you hint to the sis that it's her turn to treat you to brunch ;)

The peaches were delicious, really juicy. Sadly we've eaten them all. On to the melon!

Josordoni, space is indeed a problem, but the waffle iron takes hardly any space at all. Have never tried the non-electric ones, we've always had the iron you see in the pic and it works a treat but I imagine a stove version could work well....

Fiona Beckett said...

With you all the way on waffle accompaniments except for the Gjetost - but we've been there before. And the Marmite. Not with waffles, surely, even for a umami-fanatic like you ;-)

Signe said...

Fiona, you have yet to taste a really delicious gjetost. Like the marmitephobes, I shall convert gjetostphobes yet.

Incidentally, I may have been joking about adding marmite but I suspect a marmite fudge sauce could work raaaather well. Or indeed a marmite peanut butter sauce. Sounds gross but think of the umami ;)

Josordoni said...

off topic a bit, but the marmite peanut butter sauce should work well - when I was eating Atkins, I used to have a snack of a slice of cheddar cheese, with marmite and peanut button on top.


verity said...

Yum! I was in Belgium on Friday and we had waffles.

We used to (I think Mum has it now) have a sandwich maker with a waffle attachment - we only made waffles once but they were fab. I must borrow it back and give your recipe a go...

Signe said...

Josordoni, you are a kindred spirit. I'm going to make myself a cheddar cheese+peanut butter+ marmite snack this afternoon. Yummy indeed.

Will try peanut butter marmite sauce next time I make brunch and let you know if it works ;)

Verity - brilliant, let me know how they turn out. Never seen a sandwich maker with a waffle attachment, that's a good idea...

Josordoni said...

Signe, I can't tell you how good that is. If you want to make it more toothsome, you put a slice of hard butter (hard enough to show tooth marks, know what I mean)on top of the cheese before the marmite and peanut butter.

As far as the sauce goes, I wonder what marmite would do for the standard Gado Gado sauce?

Signe said...

Butter with the cheese, marmite and peanut butter? Amazing, I'm actually speechless at the suggestion of adding cold butter to this concoction, as I LOVE good butter. Will have to try, I mean it covers all the major food groups, right?! LOL...

Josordoni said...

and, if you are eating Atkins as I was then... all FREE FOOD!!! loL

P.S. I always thought salty butter was better, even though there is plenty of salt in everything else. But I love salt.. :D

Anonymous said...

I have a waffle machine at home for the simple reason that I'm going to marry a Belgian guy and trust me, you don't joke with Belgian waffles! I should try your recipe soon to see what he thinks!

David said...

Peaches look loverly. Nutella with waffles? anyone? anyone?