Cheddar Scones

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IMG_20150428_091745[1] 28/04/2015

These are absolutely fantastic served warm from the oven and equally tasty warmed through or toasted the next day.

I used a really tangy, mature cheddar for this recipe – the sort that makes the roof of your mouth tingle when you eat it – and this gives the scones and intense savoury, cheesy taste.

Makes 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 200g self-raising flour, plus a little more for dusting
  • 50g butter, at room temperature
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of mustard powder
  • 75g grated cheddar, plus extra for topping (optional)
  • 150ml milk

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200C. Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Stir in the oats, cayenne, mustard powder and cheese then the milk – if it feels like it might be dry, add a touch more milk then bring together to make a soft dough.
  2. Lightly dust the surface with a little flour. Roll out the dough no thinner than 2cm. Using a 4cm plain cutter, firmly stamp out the rounds – try not to twist the cutter as this makes the scones rise unevenly. Re-roll the trimmings and stamp out more.
  3. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, dust with a little more flour or grated cheese then bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving on their own or with your favourite toppings. I love them served slightly warm with a bit of salted butter but they are also great with toppings such as avocado, soft cheese, ham, pickle and salad leaves.

Why not try adding cooked, chopped bacon or chorizo to the scone mix for extra flavour. These scones take no time to knock up and go fantastically with a big bowl of soup for a satisfying dinner.

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Oat Crunchies

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IMG_20150424_100927[1] 24/04/2015

This is one of the easiest, most straight forward and quick recipes to whip up but it results in incredible buttery, crunchy, oat goodness!

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams self-raising flour
  • 100 grams porridge oats
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100 grams butter or margarine
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C. Grease large baking trays with butter or margarine.
  2. Mix flour, oats, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl put to one side.
  3. Put margarine or butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat on a low heat until butter and sugar are melted, stir occasionally, take off heat and stir in the oat mix and beat well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Scoop dessertspoons of mixture up and make into ball shapes and place on a greased baking tray when the tray is full slightly flatten the balls out with the back of the dessert spoon.
  5. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. When ready remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving onto a wire rack.
  6. Repeat and do the same until all the mixture has been used up. Serve with a cuppa and any remaining biscuits can be kept in an airtight tin for about a week (if they last that long).

Flapjacks

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IMG_20150217_205229[1] 27/02/2015

Here is a recipe for the simple, honest flapjack. There are tons of variations out there for healthy, this free, that free blah blah blah but these are good old fashioned sweet and sticky flapjacks. My only advice would be to double up the batch and bake in a 9×13 tin as they will not hang around.

Ingredients:

  • 3oz margarine
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 3oz muscovado sugar
  • A pinch of salt (optional)
  • 5oz porridge oats

Method:

  1. Lightly foil and grease a 7inch square tin.
  2. Put margarine and syrup in a saucepan. Heat gently until margarine has melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in sugar and salt if using to dissolve and add rolled oats. Mix well.
  4. Spread mixture evenly into the prepared tin.
  5. Bake in the centre of an oven preheated to 180C for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
  7. Cut into 4×4 strips. Leave in the tin until cold then break into bars.

Flapjacks improve with keeping. Store in an airtight tin for up to 4 weeks.

Variations:

  1. Add 2 rounded teaspoons grated orange zest and 2oz sultanas to the mixture at the end of stage 3. (I made this variation in the flapjacks pictured)
  2. Top flapjack mixture with 4oz halved glace cherries before baking.
  3. Replace 1oz of the rolled oats with 1 oz desiccated coconut.

Seeded Oatcakes

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IMG_20141212_091416[1] 12/12/2014

I have a bit of a fascination with cheese and crackers in all forms, shapes and sizes at the moment. These oaty biscuits are crunchy, nutty, crumbly and buttery and go very nicely with pretty much any cheese you like. Feel free to experiment with nuts and seeds or try adding dried herbs or spices to the mix too.

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter
  • 100g medium oatmeal
  • 100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tsp assorted seeds (I used 2 tsp sunflower seeds and 2 tsp pumpkin seeds)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200C. Melt the butter in a large heatproof bowl in the microwave then allow to cool slightly. Tip all the dry ingredients into the bowl, with ½ tsp salt and mix to form a crumbly dough. Add 5-6 tbsp boiling water and combine to make a firm dough.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface then roll out until about 0.5cm thick. Cut into small squares or rounds, place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

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Date Bars

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IMG_20141031_154359[1] 31/10/2014

These are great for a little afternoon pick-me-up, or for breakfast, or any time of the day really. They keep very well in an airtight box for up to a week and can also be frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 250ml water
  • 200g stoned dates, chopped
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g porridge oats
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 175g unsalted butter or margarine

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line an 8×8″ square cake tin with grease proof paper and margarine.
  2. Place the water and chopped dates in a medium saucepan and bring up to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, uncovered, on a medium-low heat until the date mixture is very soft and thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and oats and mix well. Add the butter or margarine and, using your fingertips, rub it in until moist clumps form.
  4. Press half of the oat mixture evenly over the base of the prepared tin. Spread the cooked date mixture over this then sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture. Press gently with the palm of your hand to flatten it on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown and set in the centre.
  6. Allow to cool completely in the tin then cut into 16 bars and serve.

Buttery, crunchy oat layers encasing a sweet and sticky date filling, these bars are so simple to knock together but deliver amazing results. I don’t want to hear that you don’t like dates. These are awesome. Try them now!

Lemon Crunch Bars

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IMG_20140822_081548[1] 22/08/2014

These things are seriously tasty. With oaty, crunchy, buttery layers sandwiching together a smooth and creamy centre, it’s easy to see why. But less of the M&S advert sound-a-likes, don’t just see for yourself… bake and taste! The lemon filling is similar to cheesecake with a subtle lemon sharpness and the oat crunch biscuit layers are crisp and buttery with the tiniest saltiness to cut the richness and bring out those wonderful homely baking flavours. This is such a simple recipe and delivers lovely results.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted or margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, salt and baking soda. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix until no clumps of sugar remain.
  2. Stir the vanilla into the melted butter/margarine and pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Using a spoon, stir the mixture until evenly moistened. Sprinkle half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased and foil lined 8×8 baking dish and gently press into an even layer.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside (leaving the oven heated at 180C).
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and lemon extract until well blended. Pour this mixture over the crumb crust in the baking dish and spread it into an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining crumb mixture.
  6. Bake in preheated oven 23 – 26 minutes until lightly golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes – 1 hour then remove and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.