I’m going to come right out with it – I am a bundle of nerves. My heart is racing and I’m not sleeping well. We are going to a house auction in a couple of days and I’m tasked with bidding. I mean, I get nervous haggling for a handbag. And I lived in China, people. Bidding on a house? A whole house?! I’d love to give you a clearer explanation of how panicky I feel except that it would involve lots of swearing and capitals and maybe even some bold font. Yup. Bold font.
In times like these I find the only way to cope is to regress. Back to a time when the living was easy (thanks, Gershwin) and things were a lot simpler. Back to childhood. It helps to have children around when you do this because then it seems as though you are being all nostalgic, when really you are shaking in your boots and wishing for Mum to tuck you in at night and tell you everything will be alright [And then make it alright and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Side note: Thank God for Mums. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama x]
This time round, as thoughts and worries have been skating about in my head like overzealous dodgems, I’ve regressed right back to being about five years old. I want comfort food and comfort reading. Preferably books with pictures, thanks, and food that is satisfyingly stodgy. The reading material was sent, as if by an angel, from my best friend in London for B1’s birthday – an A.A. Milne collection with E. H. Shepard illustrations of swingy-haired Christopher Robin and a rotund Pooh. B1 is not quite ready for chapter books but that is not deterring me from reading them to her. I realise now that I didn’t actually read Winnie-the-Pooh as a child, so not only am I regressing but I am re-creating some imaginary, idyllic (British?) childhood I didn’t actually have…?! Oh, I don’t care. That Pooh bear is damn comforting. Last night Pooh and piglet were hunting a woozle. I dare you to say the word “woozle” out loud and not feel a little better about life. See? Impossible.
But back now to pikelets. Pikelets were most definitely a feature of my childhood. Almost every “kiwi kid”s chidlhood. Pikelets for afternoon tea when you had a friend over, cold pikelets smeared with thick butter in the lunchbox the following day, pikelets for a weekend breakfast if you were really, really lucky. Better for small hands than pancakes and thicker, easier to pile up with jam and cream. Despite their similar ingredients I’d never have jam with a pancake or lemon juice and sugar with a pikelet. There’s a certain tradition and ritual with the toppings, don’t you agree?
Pikelets are the perfect comfort food for my current nerves. They’re quick and simple. They require few ingredients and little time. They remind me of a time when all I had to worry about was getting through the ten word spelling list for homework. And let’s be honest (geek alert) I liked spelling. It was more of a joy than a worry. Pikelets make me feel as though afternoon tea is not a thing of the past but practically a necessity for late afternoon playing like jumping on the trampoline and building forts. Pikelets are easy. Satisfying. Safe.
Winnie-the-Pooh would eat pikelets if he wasn’t so keen on eating honey, don’t you think? And you’ve got to trust a bear and good, old fashioned nursery food in times of worry, right?
HUGS, Hannah x
Pikelets (in case you don’t have already have a stained and tattered handwritten recipe from your Mum / Nana / neighbour)
¼ cup caster sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ to 1 cup milk
1 tbsp melted butter
Oil for frying
Jam, to serve
Whipped cream, to serve
1. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg and sugar together until thick and pale.
2. Add sifted dry ingredients to wet ingredients in two lots, alternating with milk, adding just enough milk to form a smooth, thick batter. Lastly, stir in the melted butter.
3. Heat a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a film of oil and cook tablespoons of the batter in batches, for about 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface of each pikelet. Turn pikelets over to lightly brown the other side. Place on a plate and wrap loosely with paper towels.
4. Repeat the process with remaining mixture. Serve pikelets warm, topped with jam and whipped cream. Of course.
5. Feel better. Ahhhhh.