Not being out on the plot so much at this time of year does have one benefit - it means that I've got much more spare time on my hands to stay in and read. The book that I've been reading most recently is Barbara Kinsolver's inspiring record of her family's year of local eating on their small farm in the Appalachian Mountains in the USA; "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". The book charts their journey to live a life where they eat a diet that focuses more on local, seasonal food through a process of growing their own food but also through engaging more closely with food producers in their own local community.
I have really enjoyed the book but it has got me thinking about the food that we eat at home. We try to grow as much of our own fruit and veg as we can and are lucky enough to live close to a wonderful market where we are able to fill in the gaps! We also make a conscious effort to avoid food that has come from outside Europe and always buy British, seasonal, local produce where possibile. However, reading the book also got me thinking about food that is individual to my local area, and what makes it particularly special.
Picture above is a glorious Staffordshire Oatcake that has been produced less than 50 miles away from my home here in North Manchester (Barbara sets her family a 100 mile limit on sourcing food, and if that's good enough for her...)
A Staffordshire oatcake is a type of pancake made from oatmeal, flour and yeast that is cooked on a griddle or 'baxton'. They are a local speciality in North Staffordshire area. It was once common throughout the area for oatcakes to be sold directly from the window of a house to customers on the street. In fact, one producer of this style still remains selling oatcakes fresh and warm, direct to the public.
We buy pre-cooked, oatcakes and I think they are really one of the oldest forms of fast food. They can be warmed up in a matter of minutes containing one of any number of fillings - my favourite is melted cheese or local honey! They are traditionally re-heated by steaming between two plates over a saucepan of water but can just as easily be grilled, fried or warmed in a microwave. Delicious!
Not able to buy Staffordshire Oatcakes in your local area? Why not try making some yourself? This recipe looks so simple I may even be tempted to give it a try myself.