Kent's Mum likes to cook and bake things she has never done before (perhaps she should write a blog), and we have often been recipients of her experiments. Recently she dropped off a few samples of some Scottish Oatcakes, and I must say they didn't look very appealing. They just looked so plain, but I think I also expected some unpleasant flavour lurking beneath. But I had a try, and they were indeed plain, pleasantly plain, fairly crunchy, and just right for carrying butter/cheese/avocado/cream cheese, or whatever you like on your crackers.
I have been looking at cracker recipes lately, I'd love to be able to make my own, and just needed to decide on a recipe to begin with and get going. Reuben loved Gran's Scottish version and I was curious, so what better place to start.
I asked Gran what was in them and she said something like "well, just oatmeal and not really anything else." I was pretty sure there had to be something else, and kept digging for more information, but she had thrown away the recipe because she didn't enjoy having to turn oats in to oatmeal. Fortunately there's this thing called Google on my computer, so I found more recipes than I could ever need online, and chose one from Greedy Gourmet.
I don't have any oatmeal, but I do have porridge oats, so I blitzed them in my mini-chopper until they were fine and powdery. I found the dough a bit too dry to roll out with a rolling pin, so added a slosh more water. The extra slosh helped, but not quite enough, and I found it easier to press the dough out with my hands. The end result was a little bit dry, and a little bit thick, so I recommend 2 extra sloshes of water (if you try to roll it and it keeps cracking, try a bit more water), and see if you can get it thinner that what you see in the photos.
Speaking of photos, I was keen to get on with the job but fairly uninspired as to how to go about it. Fortunately Reuben, Esther and my front porch came to the rescue (all of them accidentally colour coordinated). I have nothing else to say about these simple biscuits, so find your way through the photos to the recipe below. Actually, I will say these are really good to have around if you have children to feed under urgent circumstances, and I discovered thanks to a friend they are great with sun dried tomato cream cheese.
The recipe is based heavily on the one from Michelle at Greedy Gourmet, with a few changes from me.
|"Oh you'd like to photograph my biscuit? OKAY THEN!"|
I'd just like to say that I hadn't said anything, all I'd done was point the camera at her.
225g (2½ cups) medium oatmeal, plus extra for dusting
1.25ml (¼ tsp) bicarbonate of soda
1.25ml (¼ tsp) salt
15ml (1 tbsp) unsalted butter
(or salted butter and just a pinch of salt)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the oatmeal, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and mix well. Heat the butter and 150ml (3/4 cup) water in a small pan until the butter melts. Remove from the heat before boiling, so as not to cook the oats (porridge, anyone?).
Make a well in the centre of the oatmeal mix, pour in the liquid and use a palette knife to mix everything together.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with oatmeal. Tip out the dough, then roll out to about 5mm thick. Use a small biscuit cutter to stamp out the oatcakes or a knife to cut in to squares. Re-roll any trimmings and continue to cut out the biscuits.
Brush off any excess oatmeal, then space the oatcakes over 2 baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, carefully turning the oatcakes every 5 minutes or so to stop them from steaming and going stodgy (porridge, anyone?). When cooked they should be crisp and lightly golden. Lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container.