It’s time for a little savoury interval around these parts. Sometimes (rarely) there is such a thing as too much sugar, butter and chocolate and the only thing that will do the trick when your tummy is rumbling is something crunchy and salty.
When in this savoury frame of mind I will most often turn to biscuits and cheese to cure my craving, a favourite bed-time snack in my family. All types of crackers are welcome – water biscuits, cream crackers, oatcakes – the latter being one of my favourite, paired with creamy brie or a fragrant blue.
Homemade oatcakes were a revelation. After struggling slightly with my crumbly dough it was completely worth the effort when I crunched in to one of them fresh from the oven. The background flavour of the parmesan and the kick from the black pepper tastes great even without any topping. The freshness of the oatcakes seems to be the best part, as good as shop bought oatcakes can be there is just something about them that you didn’t even realise was wrong until you try these.
They taste particularly delicious with sharp cheddar and homemade relish, such as the pineapple relish you can see above, recipe coming at the weekend!
Boiled water is used to bind the mixture together. I was afraid of making the dough too sticky and ended up with dough that was too dry and very crumbly. I just gathered it all together again, back in the bowl and added some more water.
They turned out very well do I don’t think this was an issue. You can use a scone cutter for these, or cut around a sideplate then cut this circle in to four.
These are baked until they are crisp and dried out. The colour of the oatcakes won’t change very much at all but you will be able to tell they are cooked by checking that they are crisp.
Black Pepper and Parmesan Oatcakes
adapted from Bill Rona via Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
140g medium oatmeal
140g porridge oats
50g parmesan, finely grated
20 twists of black pepper
½ tsp salt
75ml olive oil
About 80 – 120ml of boiling water (between 1/3 and 1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly flour two baking sheets and set aside.
Add both types of oats, parmesan, pepper and salt in to a large bowl and mix to combine.
Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and as much of the water as you need to bring the dough together.
Tip the mixture out on to a work surface dusted with oatmeal, form in to a round and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thick and cut out with a round pastry cutter, I used a 6cm cutter.
Place oatcakes on the baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, before turning and continuing to bake for a further 10.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy topped with cheese, as an accompaniment to soup, with hoummus or whatever else takes your fancy!