Monday, 18 July 2011

Singin' Hinny

Recipe Number Sixty Three:  Page 329.

Now there is no doubt that the name Singin' Hinny is a bit odd. Thankfully, Mary has put a header at the top of the recipe which offers a bit more information! Apparently it is a Northumberland griddle cake and it 'sings' or sizzles as it cooks, hence its name. 'Hinny' is Northern slang for honey, which is a term of endearment. Well, you learn something new every day! The Singin' Hinny recipe sits within the scone and bun section and, judging from the picture, it looked to me like a giant scone!

I was a little worried about making this Singin' Hinny as it is cooked on a griddle, which I do not own. Mary does say, however, that you can use a large heavy-based frying pan instead, which thankfully I have. I was, though, still worried! I measured the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar into my weighing bowl. I hoped I would require some cream of tartar in other recipes, as I'd had to buy some especially! Butter is not used in this recipe; instead lard or vegetable fat is used. Hmmmm, sounds yummy! As I'd recently made a pie which had vegetable fat in the pastry, I already had some in the fridge, so that was one less thing to buy. I found it really easy to rub in the vegetable fat, much easier than butter. Next I stirred in some currants and quite a bit of milk. There are no eggs in this recipe, which was a bit surprising. Maybe it wouldn't be like a scone after all. I mixed everything together until I had formed a soft but not sticky dough. Now for the fun part of giving the dough a bit of a knead. It was really easy to work with and I barely needed any flour on the worktop. I didn't want to overwork the dough, so quickly moved on to rolling it into a circle. The thickness of the circle should have been about a quarter of an inch, but mine was just a tiny bit thicker. If I had rolled it any thinner it would have been too big to fit into my frying pan!

After lightly oiling the frying pan, I turned on the hob to get the pan nice and hot. I was glad I hadn't rolled out the dough any thinner as it was a tight squeeze once in the frying pan! I made sure I listened out for the 'singing', but I couldn't hear anything. I leant in over the frying pan with my ear as close as I could get without cooking myself, but still no 'singing'!! After cooking it for the suggested five minutes, I had to check to see if the cake was ready to be turned over to cook the other side. I tried to lift up a side with a spatula and it started to break apart. It really was impossible to check to see if it was undercooked or burning without sacrificing my perfect circle, so I gave up! When I couldn't put off turning it any longer, I admit I panicked. I just couldn't bring myself to do it! Neil, who heard my anxious mutterings, came to see if he could help. He's a good egg! He managed the job without any dramas but he said it was very tricky. When both sides were cooked, I volunteered Neil to turn the Singin' Hinny out onto a wire rack to cool! I couldn't watch so had to go in the other room, but it didn't help that I could hear Neil keep saying “Oh no”! When I went back to the kitchen, only a little piece of cake was on the floor and the rest had been reassembled and pushed back together! So, although far from perfect, it wasn't a complete disaster.

I let it cool on a wire rack while I washed up. One big plus point for this cake is that it didn't create much washing up! Singin' Hinny is supposed to be served hot, so I only let it cool for about ten minutes. As I was feeling hungry, I was grateful for this. There was no way I was going to be able to split the cake in half to butter it, as it was broken into pieces. Instead, I split each individual uneven piece and buttered it that way, maybe not as pretty but would still taste the same! As the Singin' Hinny was still hot, the butter melted straight in and it did look tasty! I have to say that, after trying a bite, I was left feeling a little disappointed. I think it could have done with a few more minutes in the frying pan as it was a bit doughy and stodgy. I found it so hard to judge how cooked it was when using the frying pan; I think using a griddle would have made things easier. The flavour was nice but plain, maybe a pinch of mixed spice would have helped. It did remind me a bit of a scone. A scone just buttered is also a little plain, hence the jam and cream, so maybe a more exciting filling might be in order!
Not the prettiest thing I have ever seen!!!


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