January 6, 2012

A Beautiful Country Cookbook

Blueberry Pikelets

This Christmas, the present that I loved the best was "The Country Cookbook" by author Belinda Jeffery.  In the lead up to Christmas, I said to the kids, "no more cookbooks please"; truly; I have no space left on my bookshelf.   I absolutely do not want to donate any more of my cookbooks. I've made three separate bundles to give to Lifeline and I simply don't want to do it again.  They're too meaningful to me and to who I am. One things for sure, if I change my mind and do put together another lot, then this book won't make the bundle. It's definitely a keeper - in fact it's located right at the top of my 'regularly used books" pile.

My darling daughter Larissa, who now resides in Melbourne, chose to buy and then lug this rather heavy book home on the plane.  I'm so glad she did.  It's lovely.  Issy(nickname for Larissa), said she was in the shop 'Books For Cooks' when she struck up a conversation with the shop assistant describing me and my cooking.  She said the assistant picked up this book and said sounds like this is exactly what your mother may appreciate.  Larissa said she thoroughly checked it out; remember; I'm tough about what goes on the shelf these days!  Issy said she felt warm and connected to the writing as it reminded her a lot of me!  "Mum, the author has lovely recipes and she accompanies them with stories and she lives in a beautiful part of the country, just like you do".  Well, I don't know about the 'lovely recipes' part, but I do associate cooking with stories and we certainly have a magnificent place in the country.  Thank you my very thoughtful daughter!

And thank you to Belinda Jeffery for your lovingly put together "seasonal jottings and recipes".  The Rosella Jelly has absolutely bowled me over - even more so, when I read it thoroughly to see that I make a jelly not too different to her method.  I feel really pleased about that.  But jelly isn't on my agenda or my mind today.  I want something less complicated and time-consuming.  The Blueberry Pikelets caught my eye.  I had a punnet in the fridge and everything else except for the buttermilk.  That didn't stop me.  I'm very much an improvise or "substitute with" kind of cook.

Blueberry Pikelets
(adapted from The Country Cookbook, by Belinda Jeffery)

1 cup SR Flour
1/2tsp bicarb soda
1/4tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 free-range egg
1 cup milk (the cookbook says to use buttermilk)
20gm unsalted butter, melted
extra butter for cooking
1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
butter, or jam and thick cream, to serve (Belinda's recommendation)
home-made lemon butter and whipped cream to serve (my recommendation)

  • Tip the flour, bicarb of soda, salt and sugar in a bowl; whisk to combine.  In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.  Mix well.  
  • Pour the liquid into the flour mixture; beat well till it comes together and is lump free.  I find the best way to achieve this is to pour only half the liquid in first and mix vigorously.  When the lumps are gone, whisk in the remaining liquid.  I left mine to sit for about 15 mins. Add the blueberries.
  • In a large non-stick frying pan, melt some butter; drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan.  Allow for spreading; do not crowd the pan. You really must use a gentle heat or else the pikelets will go brown quickly.  If this happens, the batter won't have risen adequately and the blueberries may well fall out of the pikelet upon flipping.  Keep the heat low; watch the batter rise nicely around the blueberries; when bubbles form then carefully turn over. Using a paper towel, wipe the pan each time before adding another lot of batter; not necessary of course; but the residual butter may turn them brown too soon. 
  • I'm a little pedantic and chose to wipe my flip every time I turned over a pikelet.  The blueberry juice will stain the flip and I wanted my pikelets to look as "unstained" as possible for my photo.  Told you I was pedantic.  You most likely won't bother, but the blueberries will definitely become soft and juicy if you cook them for too long. Like much of cooking, it's a balancing act.
My pikelets didn't seem to rise as well as Belinda's judging by the photo in her book. Perhaps the buttermilk may have added to the height; not sure on this one.   Either way, they're yummy.  Such an 'aussie' food. Enjoy!

I adore lemon butter; add some cream - a heavenly mouthful

With a cup of tea of course!

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