Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oatcakes for tough times

We'd not bothered to make these until this past summer & are making up for it. Now we're sure to keep quick-cooking oats (not instant) on hand. We are far too frazzled to be baking lately; however, these are an exception. All biscuit/cookie cutters (except holiday themed) have inexplicably disappeared from our kitchen, but a small juice glass or clean tin ring works just fine. This recipe is from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess.

While looking for a photo (no, still no camera), we saw scads of different oatcake recipes, histories, & so on. Here is a similar recipe from an interesting blog, Bread, Water, Salt, Oil; also an article from BBC Home. Perhaps a running series on oatcakes (!) is in the abstract future. Meanwhile, we haven't time to ask permission from any bloggers for photographs, so the Walkers photo will have to do...& no, these are not the same oatcake but they are very good.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lard or butter, melted
6-14 tablespoons, very hot water
1 baking sheet
3-inch biscuit cutter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the oats in a bowl & add the salt & baking soda. Make a well, pour in the fat & stirring with a wooden spoon, enough hot water to mix to a stiff dough. Knead it for a while to make it come smoothly together, then roll out as thinly as you can. Cut into triangles or rounds & bake on the ungreased sheet for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden brown & the oatcakes themselves are firm (they'll crisp up upon cooling). Remove to a wire rack to cool. Makes 15-20.

Nigella's notes: "There's something very satisfying about making such good, plain fare as oatcakes--as if you're doing something sober & basic & not entertaining yourself with fripperies. If you can bring yourself to use lard, please do. Did you know that it is a less saturated fat than butter?"

GG Notes:
These are fast to make, even in the morning. At teatime, they're nice with a bit of demerara sugar sprinkled on top. These are subtle but satisfying & inexpensive to make. Store in a tin--if they last that long. GG's editor makes two batches at a time. We cannot bring ourselves to use lard, though.