Susan Musgrave’s Welsh Griddle Cakes

January 2, 2016

This one goes out to my friend Carole. She pointed out that I’d been missing in action – that I hadn’t blogged very consistently lately. Actually her words were nicer than that…She told me that she missed reading about what I was up to in my kitchen. So Carole – for you – I’m back. Thanks for the prod.

I know I’ve been remiss – I’ve been away from my blog for nearly a month and prior to that, for the past six months, I’ve been, at best, erratic.

My life got a little unmanageable in ways both wonderful and also sad. I haven’t managed to spend one entire week at home since the beginning of last September. Between work, a surprisingly extensive book tour, and visiting my elderly mother in hospital six hours drive away across the province – I’ve been on the road constantly. Aside from the fact that my mother is seriously unwell and I’ve had so little chance to get anything done at home – it’s been an amazing ride. I’ve seen bits of countryside that I didn’t know existed. I’ve driven thousands of kilometers on highways and back-roads – seen forests, and cities, and sunsets over Ontario’s beautiful northern lakes. I’ve listened to hour after hour of CBC radio, endless Adele mixed up with Joan Baez, and a whole load of 99.1 Jazz FM. I’ve seen so many old friends, even ones from grade school who showed up and warmed my heart at various events I’ve been at. I’ve met some fabulous new people. I’ve faced a stack of fears. I’ve spent time in Toronto and Ottawa and places I haven’t been to for years. Rode my friend Susan’s husband’s bicycle around Waterloo with her as we grocery shopped at fabulous little stores and then cooked dinners together afterwards. And discovered new places too – charming old hamlets like Almonte and Millbrook where it feels like graciousness perseveres.

And I spent time, not enough, but still hours and hours, with my mother, in her hospital room. She likes it when I read to her. And I like it too because there’s never enough time to get through all the books I both should and want to read. Reading out loud to someone is such a way of slowing down. Of sharing. We read a beautiful story about the real life Alice of Alice in Wonderland. And we read other things too. On one of my last trips, I read to her from A Taste of Haida Gwaii. This is a new food book by much revered Canadian writer, poet, and novelist, Susan Musgrave.

A Taste of Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii, for those of you unfamiliar, is the archipelago formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. It takes its new name for its original population – the Haida people.

I can hardly begin to express how much I love this book. Part memoir, part cookbook, part photography album – it is such a rare and substantial treasure. At times revealing, at times touching, at times funny, and constantly real – this book is a brilliant reminder about the significance of food to life. I read chunks of it out loud to my mother. When I got to the Welsh Griddle Cakes, I first read her the section of text and then stopped when I got to the recipe. “Please read me the recipe,” she said. So I did. And she knows her griddle cakes, my Mum, she came from the North of England. When I finished, she said, “It’s right – that recipe. Exactly right. How I wish I could have one.”

So for my Mum – here you go – Susan Musgrave’s perfect recipe for Welsh Griddle Cakes. I adapted the recipe ever so slightly. I didn’t have any candied peel and so made them with just the currants. I made half the quantity. I also didn’t have any mace. They were wonderful even without the peel and mace but if I’d had them – I would have used them. I also don’t own a griddle or an electric fry pan. So I made them on the stove top, where they took slightly longer than the recommended four minutes per side but my pan was probably not hot enough.

This book – A Taste of Haida Gwaii – is simply wonderful. A joy to read and cook from. Probably my absolute favourite food book. I’m devouring it.Welsh Griddle Cakes

Susan Musgrave's Welsh Griddle Cakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  •  1  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied peel
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 tbsp milk

Sift dry ingredients together and cut in the butter until the texture of fine bread crumbs is achieved.

Add the currants, peel, eggs, and milk; mix to form a stiff dough.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, handling the dough as little as possible. Cut in 2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter, preferably a fluted one (see A Taste of Haida Gwaii for more on this…).

Cook on low heat on a lightly greased preheated griddle, cast iron frying pan, or electric frying pan set at 250 deg F. Cook four minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve hot, by themselves, or with butter, jam, or cheese. Or serve them any way you like – warm, cold – with whatever you see fit. I served them warm with butter and red wine jelly. They were just as my mother expected, exactly right.

 

 

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23 Comments

  • Reply Amanda | What's Cooking January 2, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Wow you have been a busy woman but it’s always lovely when you do check in. It sounds like in typical Lindy fashion you are making lemonade where there would otherwise just be lemons. And you also see the inevitable beauty of lemons alone. Sounds like the book tour was kind of amazing. Glad you took some time out to make a morning of this cookbook which I must check out. Be well. Happy New year!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Dear Amanda – if anyone knows what a life away from home does to you – you do! Thanks for commenting and for being such a wonderful friend. Looking forward to heading over to your blog shortly to find out what you’re up to in your NYC kitchen. Happiest of New Years to you… xox

  • Reply William Mechefske January 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your Mum’s failing health. I can relate to your statement about not spending enough time with her. There just isn’t. On top of a book tour, idle is not in your vocabulary. Keep the faith and thank you for a thoughtful and delicious blog.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 2, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Bill – how lovely to see you here and what a kind comment. Thank you so much! Happy, happier, and happiest of New Years to you. xo

  • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso January 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Such an interesting post and recipe. I love such cookbooks. I’ll look for it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 2, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Ronit – thank you so much for reading and commenting. When my friend Carole wondered what I’d been up to in my kitchen – I thought of all the bloggers I admire and realized – I wondered what my favourite bloggers – you amongst them – have been up to as well. I’m carving out time to spend on your blog soon, I promise.
      And all the best for 2016 to you!

      • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso January 2, 2016 at 8:33 pm

        sometimes gets in the way, and the blog is not a first priority, but it’s always nice to see your posts. All the best for the New Year for you as well. 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous January 2, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Dear Lindy, This has been such an exciting and yes difficult time in your life. I’m sorry that your mother is not well, and I’m sure that the time that she has with you is precious. I’m also so proud of your accomplishments over the last few months. Your book is amazing and I’ve enjoyed so much seeing your presentations. You should be very proud. I’m honoured that this blog is for me, perfect timing, I love your blogs, and I will have to make sure to read Susan Musgrave’s book. The recipe looks delicious.
    Thank you Lindy!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 2, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you Carole for the sweet, gentle prod! And for all your support…. xox

  • Reply apuginthekitchen January 2, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I am terribly sorry to hear about your Mother being ill. I have noticed your absence and wondered what was going on, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate between work and caring for your Mother, Your book is fantastic and I hope the book tour is going well. These lovely griddle cakes sound delicious and also look like home, warm and comforting. All the best to you in 2016 and be kind to yourself.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 3, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Suzanne – you are a darling. Thank you. Cannot believe my fortune to have so many wonderful friends – you amongst them. Will catch up more soon. But in the meantime – thank you for your presence on my blog and therefore, in my life. Best of 2016 to you too. xo

  • Reply Johanne Lamarche January 3, 2016 at 1:13 am

    What a beautiful post Lindy and bittersweet. So sorry about your mom. Your words painted a very poignant and intimate picture of some very special time spent with your mom. I just picked up Canadian author Jane Urquhart’s Changing Heaven today. I will have to read Susan Musgrave’s food memoir as well. My own mom is 84 and in good health. We share a passion for food as well and are very close. I feel for your situation. Godspeed.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 3, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Johanne – what a heartwarming, throughful comment – thank you so very much.
      Enjoy every minute with your mother – it is perfect that you share a passion for food with her. Food really is, after all, about loving and nurturing. Looking forward to reading you soon! xo

  • Reply chef mimi January 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

    This is a beautiful post, and wonderful recipe. I hope things slow down a bit for you in 2016. Happy New Year!

  • Reply Tammy Lloyd January 3, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I will be making a point of cooking these tasty little treats as part of one of my historic cooking demos in this wonderful new year. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Tammy – how lovely to find you here. Thank you so much! I was going through cell phone photos the other day and am not sure I ever sent you copies of the food shots from the day at Macauley Heritage Park in Picton. I truly loved that day. You did a brilliant job!

  • Reply Tammy Lloyd aka Lady Victorian January 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I love your blog by the way. ..keep it coming!

  • Reply Louisette January 3, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Nice recipe, Wonderfull photos,Happy New Year,
    Best regard from Belgium.

    http://louisette.eklablog.com ” blog my city Mons in Belgium”

    http://retriever-louisettesblogs.blogspot.com

  • Reply Anita Kushwaha January 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Happy New Year, Lindy! I hope you’ve had some time to rest over the holidays. Loved this post! 🙂

  • Reply Barbara January 5, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I haven’t made griddle cakes for decades, but these are making me long for them again. Looks like something i can make on the grill in my cast iron skillet.Thanks.

  • Reply Tonette Joyce January 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Lindy, I , too, have been away a great deal from my blog and have an erratic life.I pray that your situation lightens up, (the bad parts, not the successes!) and for your mother , you and allof your family.
    I will try the griddle cakes.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske January 20, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks Tonette – lovely to see you again!! Hope all is well in your world.

    I'd love to hear from you...

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