A lazy Sunday morning. Outside our new draft-proof windows it’s solidly pouring rain but indoors at the cottage, the fire already lit, we’re all warm and still sleepy.
The Husband’s parents have spent the last two-and-a-half weeks in Ireland, staying here while they build cookbook shelves, hang mirrors (it was a while since we had seen ourselves) and weed the garden. Yes, we are very fortunate! Today is their last full day with us and we’re relishing every precious moment. Little Missy is grabbing her Poppa to “read a book, read a book!” while the Small Girl is in Nana’s arms for cuddles which send her straight to sleep.
My parents and the Student Siblings are coming over for lunch so we will be eight, plus an LM of uncertain appetite. I took the easy way out: a slow-roast pork shoulder went into the oven at 6am after the Small Girl’s early morning feed. Rubbed with spices and sitting on a bed of onions and apple juice, the rest of the household woke to tantalising, savoury aromas and everyone is hungry already.
The NZ vs France match is underway on the computer so that the three Kiwis can see what’s happening, with half-Kiwi LM engrossed “watching,” as she says, “the boys run around.” With lunchtime still an age away, it’s time for mid-morning tea and – hands-free kitchen time a luxury and delight these days – I have a chance to mix up some pikelets. The easiest little pancakes, made light with baking powder, they may be known as drop scones on this side of the world, but in New Zealand they are always pikelets.
As each batch comes hot off the pan, they are landed on to the plates of engrossed match-watchers who, after a plaintive request for whipped cream (“not unless you get in the car and drive to the shop!)”, slather them with raspberry jam and eat, still glued to the screen. LM, however, has eyes for nothing but pikelets. Out of the 20 that made it to the table, I’m sure she devoured more than half. Last lot to cook, big pot of tea on the table and then it’s time to sit and eat with my family.
New Zealand wins the rugby, there’s the smell of a good lunch about to happen and we’re all full of pikelets. It may be raining outside but the Small Girl is still asleep and her grandparents are with us for another 24 hours. Life is good.
Adapted from Ladies, A Plate by Alexa Johnston.
If you’re making these and think, for some strange reason, that they won’t be all eaten, then add a tablespoon of golden syrup – just melt it with the butter – and they will keep well in an airtight tin for a couple of days.
Egg – 1
Caster sugar – 30g
Milk – 170mls
Flour – 125g
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Butter – 15g, melted
Golden syrup – 1 tablespoon, melted. Optional
Butter for cooking
Whisk the egg and caster sugar together. Add the milk, the flour and baking powder and mix well. Finally, fold through the melted butter and, if using, the golden syrup.
Heat your frying pan – I use a heavy cast iron one – on a medium heat. Grease the pan lightly and put tablespoons of the batter, well apart, on the pan.
Cook for approximately 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on the top of the pikelets and the underside is golden. Flip and cook the other side until golden.
Transfer to a plate and serve with, if you’re part of the Husband’s family, whipped cream and raspberry jam. Personally, I go for a butter and jam combo. Makes about 20 pikelets.