Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Salt & Pepper Oatcakes

I’m slightly concerned that you’ve been subjected to an overly meaty few posts recently, what with cheeks, tails, scratchings and butchery.

So here’s something to redress the balance – homemade oatcakes and a completely meat free post.

Oatcakes are great and are pretty much the ideal base for almost any cheese as well as being perfect for dipping into creamy, garlicky hummus.

They are also incredibly good for you – oats are a slow release carbohydrate and have a very low glycemic load. For a long time I used to have oatcakes and tomatoes for lunch almost every day – fresh, seasonal tomatoes with a little olive oil and a smattering of seasoning. Perfect.

There are plenty of great ones on the market (these made with smoked oats are a particular favourite) but they are also staggeringly easy to make yourself.

Making up your own batch means you can flavour them with whatever you like – herbs, spices, cheese, seeds – anything at all depending on what you are going to be serving them with.

They could be pepped up with a little grated Parmesan, for example, if you wanted them to accompany a broccoli soup or maybe a little cumin and ground coriander for dipping into hummus.

But to act as a base for great cheese, it’s best not to go over the top with flavourings. Keep it simple. So, with that in mind, here is a recipe for:

Salt & pepper oatcakes

Whilst the oatmeal provides a nice texture, the addition of a few porridge oats is a nice little touch, both visually and for flavour.

250g of oatmeal
50g of porridge oats
25g of melted fat (I used rendered pork fat – damn! So not totally meat free then…). Butter or even olive oil would work great.
¼ of teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
salt and pepper
Some freshly boiled water (about 100ml)

Turn on the oven to about 180 degrees C.

Mix the dry ingredients together. A couple of pinches of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill should be more than enough. You don’t want to detract from the flavours of the cheese that will grace these little crunchy delights.

Add the melted fat and start to mix it in. Slowly start adding the water until the dough just begins to come together. You might need a little more or a little less but don’t fret too much. You can always add a little more oatmeal if you get a juicy slop.

Knead the ball of dough for a few minutes. It should be relatively dry and quite hard. Roll it out to about half a centimetre’s thickness and use a cutter to press out the rounds. Bake on a baking sheet for about ten minutes until the oatcakes just start to brown. Let them cool and then top with decadent wedges of your favourite cheese.

This is a Stichelton – an unpasteurised blue cheese made using traditional methods. Allegedly it is everything that Stilton once was before it became sanitised. It’s fantastic and well worth seeking out if you can.


I read a lot of food blogs but occasionally one pops up on my radar that really makes me smile.

I devoured the whole of Ryan Adams' Nose to Tail at Home in a single sitting. This bold culinary adventurer, as well as being the namesake of one of my favourite musicians, is bravely cooking his way through Fergus Henderson's superb cookbook.

Inspired by the exquisite efforts of Carol Blymire to cook her way through The French Laundry Cookbook, Ryan is taking on the Whole Beast. I urge you to head on over right away.

For more culinary capers, follow me on Twitter.


Sandy Smith said...

Want to make these very badly, but as a US reader, I need to clarify . . . are "porridge oats" something like quick-cooking oats and regular "oatmeal" something like our rolled oats? I'll just give it a go, but I'm guessing here! :)

Just Cook It said...

Hi Sandy - I'll email you this as well but to clarify, over here 'oatmeal' is the very finely ground oats, almost like flour and 'porridge oats' are the same as rolled oats.

Jennifer said...

Those look so good!!! I can totally see myself spreading soft goat cheese and a drizzle of honey or fig preserves over! Thanks for the meat-less adventure this morning:)

I didn't know about Carols blog from the French Laundry!! thanks!!!!

Alicia Foodycat said...

They look wonderful, Alex!

Simones Kitchen said...

Ah finally... no more meat...:) I just made oatmeal cookies with raisins just this morning for the first time ever and your savoury option sounds like a splendid idea as well!

Elena Bruno said...

Thank you for the recipe, oatcakes with english cheese is fantastic! in particular for blue cheese ... great!

Just Cook It said...

Jennifer - goat's cheese and honey would be perfect on the oatcakes. What a great idea. And fig? Oh yes.

Thanks Foodycat!

Junglefrog - I don't think I've ever had them with raisins but they sound like they'd be really good.

It's a pleasure, twostella. I have to say, though, that you have some pretty good (read excellent) cheese over in Italy as well!

Anonymous said...

Healthy cookies? Can´t believe it, I have to try them! And much better they´re not sweet :-)))

Just Cook It said...

Aniko - Thanks for the comment. Yes, healthy, unsweet cookies. Makes you feel less guilty when you pile them them high with butter and cheese!