Monday, 23 April 2007

Mucky Mixtures

One of my earliest food memories is making mucky mixtures with my sister Ruth. While my mum, who is an excellent cook, made dinner she would put us on the floor and let us cook up our own recipes. Quite often we used such delicious ingredients as toothpaste or shampoo in which case we had to be prevented from actually eating the mix, but from time to time we actually used entirely edible products. The finished mixtures were extremely variable in quality. I distinctly remember cups of sugar and pepper water, which, for some reason I thought were delicious, but then I think I liked the toothpaste concoctions too!

Once in a blue moon we made something tasty, even to the discerning adults around us. One time my mum informed us that we had made drop scone mixture and interjected to help us cook them and one of my other sisters remembers us making banana fritters at some point. I presume this involved accidentally making a batter mix and then throwing bananas into it, which my mum will have fished out and fried for us.

These mucky mixture sessions decreased as I got older, I guess partly because as my other brothers and sisters were born it became more difficult to control the chaos that would ensue but also as the recipes became more and more palatable and just turned into helping make dinner. I have retained quite a few of the methods learned in these sessions; a general disregard for strict recipes and weighing scales or other measurements and a desire to constantly experiment. Hopefully a greater proportion of the food I cook today is non-toxic.

Here is our drop scone recipe (very roughly):
125g plain flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
25g caster sugar
2 eggs
100ml milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 handful or two children's handfuls of sultanas

If you are a small child (even at heart) then just put it all into a bowl and whisk till you have a smooth batter.

(If you are a more serious cook then you should lightly beat the eggs and set them aside, sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and gradually add the eggs and the milk, whisking until smooth then add the cinnamon and sultanas, mixing well.)

Set aside for 20 mins (while mum finishes dinner/for the flour to swell). Then heat a flat gridle iron or heavy frying pan till quite hot, add a little knob of butter and drop tablesoopfuls of the mixture onto the pan, a fair distance apart from one another, as they will spread. When they have set and small bubbles have formed on the visable side, flip them over and cook till the bottoms are browned. You will most likely have to cook them in batches unless you have a massive griddle iron so keep the first batch on a warmed plate covered with a clean teatowel till you are ready to eat. Serve with softened butter and cinnamon sugar.