Recently I decided to include to my diet some foods I used to eat and really like and see how I feel about them now. With Spring I feel less fancy to eat meat, cheese and other more “heavy” foods. Spring and Summer will be my time to experiment with lighter diet full of veggies, fruits and more healthy carbohydrates. I want to see how I will feel on this kind of “diet”. Now I’m more concious about my body and I can feel what serves me and what doesn’t. Spring and Summer will be the great time to naturally boost all vitamin levels, so my plan is to take advantage of all veggies and fruits that will be available in this season. Expect more veggie and fruit recipes, I’m very excited to make smoothies and salads I will be able to take to work.
One of the food I used to love and eat a lot was porridge oats. Oat flakes is the main Scottish food ingredient, in larger stores you will find whole shelves of various types of porridge, which is a traditional breakfast dish. For about 2 years oats was my favourite breakfast. Thick, warm porridge served with summer fruits, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or nuts and drizzled with honey was my everyday “go to” breakfast. This Spring I will give it a go and test some new porridge recipes to see how I feel about them.
Oats are also an ingredient in many desserts – oatcakes are one of them. And as with any traditional national dish, there are dozens of recipes to prepare them. Before they became sweet treat, they were treated as bread, hence many recipes completely lack sugar (only salt). Many recipes speak of pre-roasting cereal in the oven, I chose the simple and quick version that can be baked when we feel like a little healthier snack. Oatcakes are quite fulfilling, so they make a good snack at work or when you go for a trip.
In general there’s two main types of oats: oat flakes and oatmeal. Oat flakes are the uncooked and unprocessed version of the grain, oatmeal is a processed product. Apart from that you can find many different types of oats. Scottish oats – whole oat groats are stone-ground to create small broken bits of varying sizes. Rolled oats – oats become flakes by being flattened to varying thicknesses between two rollers. Oat groats are the type of oats that take the longest time to cook, they are whole grains oats, dried, cleaned and strip off inedible parts.
For this recipe the best would be more fine Scottish oats or rolled oats. If you have quite thick rolled oats and you’d like to make them more fine, simply use food processor to get smaller bits. I also used muscovado sugar to give my oatcakes more flavour, but you can use any type of sugar or sugar replacement.
Thinner you make them more crispy and light they will become, if you’d like them to be more chewy and fulfilling make them a bit thicker. They will also need couple more minutes in the oven. Oatcakes are really quick and easy to make. And this is very basic and simple version of this recipe, but you can spice them up using other ingredients like: nuts, dried fruits or different spices.
homemade scottish oatcakes
- 225g oat flakes or porridge oats
- 3 tbsp heaped plain flour
- about 100g butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tbsp sugar (muscovado, brown, coconut or sugar alternative like xylitol)
- about 60ml hot water
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl: oats, flour, salt, soda and sugar. Add butter and knead until the butter is fully combined with oats. Don’t worry that the oat flakes are still very loose and are unlikely to be formed into cookies.
Next pour a little hot water (it must be hot) and knead again. Now the dough should take shape and it can be easily formed.
Set the oven at 190°C. Spread the baking paper on the baking tray and start forming oatcakes. You can roll the dough and cut circles with a glass or cookie cutter, or like me, form small balls (the size of a large walnut) in our hands and flatten it. You can make cookies smaller or larger, it depends on your preferences. The thickness is important. If they are thin, they will be tender and crumbly after baking. Thicker ones will need more time to bake and will not be as light and crunchy.
Place the cookies on a baking tray and bake them for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Store them in airtight container so that they do not absorb moisture from the air.