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.