Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
Earlier this summer we rescued a batch of hens who’d spent their lives cooped up in a barn and whose owner wanted to get rid of them. They were in bad shape, and some had breathing difficulties. A few died after a few days. But the remainder rallied after a lot of rehab, good food, free ranging and socialising with healthier peers, Jemima the goose, Barnie the dog, and cats Georgie, Peonie, Tigger and Roo. Gradually, these sickly, scrawny hens began to regain their feathers and their health. One of the consequences of this newfound contentment is eggs. Lots of them. Not everyone wants eggs for breakfast, and I don’t want to eat omelette every evening for supper for weeks on end. What other options are there? It so happens that I have just acquired a new waffle iron, on the recommendation of Tom, one of my recent Belgian guests. It’s a Krups machine, which is far superior to my previous Cuisinart. That one was too small, didn’t produce anything that remotely resembled a waffle and was a danger to use because the hot plates kept falling out of the machine every time you opened it. More to the point, I never used it because the results were inedible — and I tried all the recipes in its handbook. It’s fit only for metal recycling. Being half Belgian, I have a desperate need for waffles once or twice a year, and I was determined to find a machine that worked reliably. The Krups is expensive, but worth it. I tried it out for the first time yesterday, and even the first waffle come out perfectly. Tom’s suggested recipe is the real deal — proper Belgian waffles using yeast and stiffly beaten egg whites as rising agents. Because there is no sugar in his recipe, you could eat these with all kinds of topping, not just the traditional powdered sugar. There are two main types of waffle in Belgium, gauffres de Liége (heavier and stickier, with crunchy bits of caramelised pearl sugar in them, and which can be eaten cold) and gauffres de Bruxelles (crisper, lighter and best eaten warm as soon as they are made). They are still delicious when reheated from frozen, and I am tempted to offer them on my breakfast menu — even though Belgians never eat waffles for breakfast.