vegan mofo 2013
I was down the pub not so long ago with a friend who hails from near Newcastle, and were chatting about MoFo. I asked her if there were any dishes from the North East she could think of that I could cook, and she told me about singing hinnies.
Nice name, huh?
I'd never heard of singing hinnies, and a bit of extensive research reveals that they were griddle cakes, simply made and studded with sultanas.
Their name, so the legend goes, is a reference to the noise they make while cooking on the stove top, or that's what the women that made them would tell their 'hinnies' - a local word for darlings or similar. I read that they'd tell their hungry kids that the griddle cakes weren't quite ready, but 'you can just hear them singing, hinnies'. Not sure I believe all that - sounds painfully twee! - but I don't believe in the Easter bunny or that broken biscuits lose all their calories, so I may just be too hardhearted for that.
I decided I needed to add singing hinnies to repertoire. I read up on all the variations of the recipe (sadly mostly with lard - nyargh!), and there seems to be a common theme - equal quantities of fat and flour, brought together with a little milk and then currants mixed through. That's the sort of cooking I can cope with! You want me to fry dough and pass it off on my blog as some piece of folk cooking? Sure, with pleasure!
With singing hinnies, there's debate then over whether you need a bit of baking powder, or spices like nutmeg or cinnamon to go with it. I tried to go as simple as possible, leaving out all that, and going for the stripped down version of the recipe. I used vegan margarine and a bit of vegan suet (to try and recreate the hardness of lard) and sultanas because I fear currants. Horrible things. Like finding dead spiders in your desserts. Yeah, they are that evil.
Anyway, I mixed equal weights of fat and flour, put in a bit of soy milk to bring it together, then added the sultanas and fried it all a bit.
So fried dough should be good, right? Only it wasn't. It was just a bit odd. It needed to be sweet dough, and it definitely needed leavening. And it was bland, so yep, it needed those spices in it - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or all three would have gone down a treat.
So there you go - my first MoFo foul-up. Turns out not all English food is actually nice - who knew?!