Experiments with singing hinnies: Vegan MoFo



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?!



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11 comments

  1. Ah, too bad the recipe didn't work out! It's always a disappointment when a lot of work is for naught. I'm surprised you have such disdain for currants. To me they're like John Mayer. I can't imagine them being anyone's favorite, but they seem fairly inoffensive.

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  2. What a bummer! They look delicious. Like fried dough (mmmmm)

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  3. Love the name and story behind it. Fried dough with sultanas sounds great to me! What a shame they didn't work out, would you try them again with a sweet dough and some spices?

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  4. Not necessarily a foul-up, just room for improvement. The post remains a gem for the title alone.

    PS Dead spiders in your dessert? After Lazy Smurf suggested soy curls were made of hair, I didn't think I'd gag again so soon this week.

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  5. I have to agree that they do look beautiful even if they didn't taste too great! I would definitely try making these with the sweetness and spices included.

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  6. With a name like that, it's a bummer that didn't turn out. But a great attempt considering you never even heard of them before. :-)

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  7. what a shame they look so lovely and have such an interesting name - though hinnies just reminds me of ninnies which is probably not that nicest association - I hope you heard them singing hinny :-)

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  8. Aw, what a shame! They look good, like toasted English muffins and now I'm really craving some :D

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  9. Love the name - but I'd never heard of it either. I'm in need of some griddle cakes and I love that you add spices! Yum!

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  10. It kind of reminds of where blueberry grunt got it's namem because apparently it grunts when it cooks. Singing hinnies sounds way cuter though. Who knew that fried dough could taste not so good, maybe if you slather them in jam or something?

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