Tag Archives: Oats

Oatcakes 

This weekend my culinary repertoire was added to by another something I can’t believe I’ve never tried to bake before; oatcakes. Despite being on a big old attempt at a health kick ahead of my friend’s wedding, I treated myself to some snoked duck pâté as a lunchtime treat and accompaniment to salad (you have to take a break from roast chicken occasionally!), so I was looking for something to spread it on without breaking any of my new rules. Although this recipe contains white flour (although I suppose wholemeal would work if you cared enough) , the main ingredient is lovely, fibrous, sustaining oats, with a few seeds to add some good oils and to ramp up the texture and flavour. You can add whichever seeds you like or leave them out if you’d prefer. 

  

You will need: (makes approx. 14 medium oatcakes)

50g butter

100g oats 

100g plain flour

2 tsp sesame seeds

2 tsp pumpkin seeds, chopped 

  
1. Heat the oven to 180C fan. 

2. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan and allow to cool.

  
3. If your oats are large, you may want to grind them up a little in a pestle and mortar. I used a mixture of slightly ground and whole. Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl then pour on the butter and mix well. 

4. Add 5-6 tbsp boiling water until it comes together as a dry dough. 

  
5. Roll out as thinly or thickly as you prefer and cut with a cutter or knife into your preferred shape. Roll up the remnants and repeat.

  
6. Place on greaseproof paper on a tray in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown.

  

These give off a glorious smell when baking once those seeds and oats start to toast. This recipe takes no time at all and I will definitely be repeating it!

  
Delicious and crunchy with cheese or pâté and a great lunchtime base that will keep you fed and fuelled for an early evening workout.

Honey and Peanut Butter Granola Bars

These guys may not be as healthy as you’d like, but they are packed with nutritious stuff and will keep you going all morning as an at-your-desk-with-coffee snack breakfast or on the go (great for your train commute!). And they might just keep your hands out of the biscuit tin. 

The other great thing about these is that you can add all sorts of great ingredients to them to make them to your liking: your favourite dried fruits, nuts and seeds, difference cereals, additional spices, almond butter, perhaps, if you don’t like peanut, or even chocolate chips!

You will need a square cake tin or brownie pan for this, but if you don’t have one you could try using a cake tin and cutting it as you fancy, but a loose bottom is really helpful. Grease the tin but experience tells me not to line it with greaseproof paper!

You will need:

125g salted butter

150g light brown sugar 

1tsp cinnamon or mixed spice (optional)

125g crunchy peanut butter, no added sugar, or another but butter of your choice

75g runny honey, plus extra to glaze

Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (not essential!)

200g porridge oats

200g dried fruits, I like a mixture of sultanas, dried cranberries, raisins and dried apricots

100g mixed seeds and/or chopped nuts, I like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaked almonds

  
1. Preheat the oven to 160C. 

2. Put a medium to large saucepan on a low to medium heat and add in the butter, sugar, honey, spice, zest and peanut butter and allow to start melting together before stirring occasionally. Be careful with the heat as you don’t want the sugar to burn, but you do want the sugar to melt and for the ingredients to be nicely combined. 

   
3. Meanwhile, weigh out the oats, fruits, seeds and nuts you have chosen and mix together in a bowl. I like to keep back some flaked almonds and sunflower seeds to sprinkle over the top for texture.

  
4. When your liquid ingredients have melted and combined, stir in the dry ingredients until everything is nicely combined – you’ll want to avoid any dry oat patches. I like to keep this on a very gentle heat while I’m doing this so nothing stiffens up too much. When you’re happy, pour into the prepared tin and spread out, but try not to be too tempted to eat too much of the raw mixture off of the spoon!

  
5. Once it’s all smooth in the tin, sprinkle over the reserved seeds and nuts and drizzle over some more honey…..this is easiest if your honey comes in a squeezy bottle. 

   
6. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, or until golden around the edges and caramelised in the middle. Be careful not to burn them!

7. When they’re ready, take out of the oven and allow to cool. If you’ve used a greased loose bottomed pan you can just push the bottom up (I like to use an upturned mug or canister to help with this – set the loose part on the canister and help the sides to drop away) then you can lever it off the base with a pallette knife where you can cut it up into bars. I like to wrap them individually in cling film and keep them in an airtight tub. Then should keep for around 2 weeks, but I’ve often had them after that and they’ve still been great.