The weather has turned rather autumnal today-all blustery winds and leaves strewn across the rain peppered garden. Monty’s sensitivity to typical British weather is such that, instead of venturing out for our morning walk, he took one look at the pigeon grey skies before deciding he was better off indoors, leaving just Porridge (our Whippet cross Collie, with a penchant for chasing our next door farmer all day!) and I to it.
So, when we got back (fairly soaked), and bearing in mind that it doesn’t take much to get me in the mood for some comfort baking, it wasn’t long before I was stood peering inside the kitchen cupboard to see what I could make out of a big jar of oats, some brown sugar and half a block of butter (I had a bit of an experimentation day yesterday with recipes for the Cakery so stocks were fairly low on anything more extravagant!)
The tins are groaning after yesterday’s sugar fuelled Bake-fest, so I thought I better try to do something savoury: time for Hamish McDougall’s Oatcakes. We are having some people over for supper tomorrow, so, as an added bonus, I thought these would go really well with the cheese. Now, as regards the name, these aren’t really made to a recipe from some canny old Scot called Hamish McDougall, I just wanted to give them a really Scottish name and this was the most Scottish name I could think of!
You can buy some really lovely oatcakes in the shops now that almost taste homemade, but, given how comparatively cheap (and easy) a batch of homemade ones are to make, I think it’s a no-brainer, if you have a spare 10 minutes, to make your own.
These oatcakes are made with a little bit of brown sugar but don’t let that put you off-they are still a savoury biscuit. The sugar just gives that lovely sugary/salty contrast.
Makes about 30 small biscuits
25g plain flour
25g plain wholewheat flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp salt
100g butter (softened)
12g soft brown sugar
1. Blitz oats in a food processor until they are fine;
2. Add all the other ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. I like to transfer all the mix to my food mixer and let the mixer do the hard work but you can do this by hand if you like. Also, if, once the mixer has been going for a while and the dough isn’t coming together in the mixer automatically, I sometimes find it helps to get in there with your hands and push the dough together-I think the warmth of your hands really helps at the end;
3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about ¼ inch thick and cut it out with any shaped cutters you like. Place the cut outs on baking trays (you don’t need to grease them);
4. Bake in a preheated 180c oven until pale golden and firm to the touch (usually around 15 mins). Transfer to a wire rack to cool;
Try them-they taste really good!