For fairly unimaginative reasons, I was in Stoke on Trent yesterday, a first.
Well, Hanley, which is the city centre of Stoke. Confusing!
But, like any good foodie, I’d done my research, just in case of some foodie time out. And what results! There were three things on my list: pie from Pieminister (fail, the shop is no longer there), ice cream from Quadrelli’s (fail, ran out of time) and a trip to the market to buy oatcakes.
Now, just in case you are confused, these are nothing at all like Scottish oatcakes. As you can see from the photo, they have the distinct look of a small pancake, and tastewise are more akin to a Breton galette. If you want to try them at home, there’s a good recipe and brief history on the Allotment Growing website. This is not just regional food, this the food of just half a county.
Most places round about served them stuffed with cheese and bacon, or any combination thereof. I bought 12 for £1.80 from The Original Oatcake Stall in the market, and brought them home to experiment. The bag also contained a very good looking black pudding.
So, I give you lunch today at Tarver Towers: Staffordshire Oatcakes with Black Pudding and Caramelized Apple.
I have to admit, you couldn’t eat this every day, but it was divine. The oatcakes have a bit more body than a pancake, the black pudding was nicely spiced with good, uneven chunks of fat giving away its handmade origins, and the apple was a good combination of tart and sweet. If I was to change anything, I would use eaters not cookers next time, just as they would hold their structure a bit better.
Needless to say, dinner will be a meat-free affair! If you want to try them without getting into the kitchen, then you can get them by mail order from StaffordshireOatcakes.com, who will send them anywhere in the world. What you do with them when you get them is up to you!