I was very excited when I saw Sam would be hosting Fish and Quips to promote British food! I strongly believe the British Isles are totally underrated when it comes to food and defend them on many occasions, my boss even calls me a food Anglophile!! Having lived there for 5 years and now living with an Irishman (whose mother is an amazing cook!), I've had my fair share of great British cuisine.
One of my big loves are the breakfasts. And I'm not even talking about a proper fry with eggs, bacon, sausages, beans and more. This is very nice occasionally but gets very heavy, no I'm talking about the splendid selection of breakfast buns that can definitely compete with the Swiss Gipfeli (croissants etc). Give me a crumpet, english muffin or potato scone for breakfast any day. They are lovely just toasted with some butter or if you feel like it with jam or more.
One of my first encounters with these buns were crumpets. I had them at a friends house in highschool (they were English). They had gotten them from the Marks and Spencers store in Amsterdam (now sadly closed) and I was fairly sceptical about this holey pancake like "thing", but once I had bitten into the first toasted one with butter, I was hooked! I love the combination of the spongy top with the crisp bottom and all the holes are a great place to collect whatever you're speading on it. Living here now, they are not so easy to get but I've discovered with the help of Delia that they are very easy (and lots of fun) to make. I love watching them intently and being surprised by dozens of bubbles popping through the surface, just as you thought it wasn't going to happen.
Crumpets makes about 12
275 ml milk
55 ml water
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried or 20g fresh yeast
225 g flour
1 tsp salt
Let all the ingredients come to room temperature. Put the flour in a bowl, then add the salt and sugar and mix well. Crumble/add the yeast (depending on the kind you're using) into this and again mix well. Then stir in the liquid gradually until you have a nice smooth batter. Cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for about 1 hour. If you're in a rush, fill the sink with lukewarm water and leave it in there for 30 min. To cook the crumpets, use egg rings that are well greased. When the pan is hot, pour about 1 tbsp of the mix in each ring, let them cook for 4-5 min until bubbles start appearing on the surface. These will then burst into the traditional holes. Now lift the ring off and turn the crumpet over and cook for about 1 min on the second side. Repeat this with the rest of the batter.