Friday, January 1

Oat cakes

When I got the River Cottage bread handbook for Christmas I was excited to see a recipe for Scottish oat cakes. I love oat cakes, and what doesn't taste better homemade than shop bought? Home made oat cakes: must be a definite yum yum. In between casting on another hat and ripping it out again and swearing and casting it on again and ripping it out again, I dived into that recipe the moment I had a moment.

I had a false start involving a misunderstanding about oatmeal* (you can't food process porridge oats and use that instead of oatmeal, OK? It's different stuff despite also coming from an oat.) A trip to a health shop later I returned to the recipe armed with proper actual oatmeal (chopped rather than rolled like porridge oats), and set about combining them with equal parts porridge oats, a pinch of salt, 2tbsp of sunflower oil, some just boiled water and a hefty pinch of salt.

Things didn't look too bad as they went into the oven: They held together in the cookie cutter I was using and went into the oven undamaged. Thirty minutes later we were standing over the oven waiting to taste (and waiting to go out for lunch).

I am sorry to report that my oatcakes mainly taste of plain old oat, with perhaps a hint of sunflower oil. A rather noticable and not very pleasant hint. I realise that given the ingredients this should not be a surprise, but somehow I expected them to taste a bit better. They may improve when introduced to some mature cheddar, but I suspect that the oatcake will have to be balanced on the cheese, as they are considerably crumblier than is practical for the other way around.

It is a disapointment: I cannot lie. I suppose I'll have to go and cast on that hat again.

EDIT: We tried them with cheese. Not only did they not taste that good, but they were incredibly hard work to eat. Hours of chewing.

*confusingly, the Americans call what we Brits call 'porridge' 'oatmeal', so if you google it you get a lot of pictures of porridge.

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