The decorations have been taken down, the leftover food has been eaten, the thankyou letters have been written and we are already well into the new year and back in our usual routines.
Part of my routine is starting the day with a mug of strong Assam tea and some buttered oatcakes. Traditionally oatcakes were made with lard or dripping but nowadays they are made with palm oil.
I have noticed that palm oil seems to be in a wide range of products, not just foods but also soap, shampoo and cosmetics. It is also used as a bio fuel so every time you fill up your car you are using palm oil.
The ecological impact of the massive increase in palm oil production is well documented. The website of the World Wildlife Fund is a good source of information. Reading this and other sites made me decide to try to at least cut palm oil out of my diet. However, I really didn’t want to give up my morning oatcakes so I would have to try and make my own.
I looked up recipes in both Irish and Scottish cook books and managed to come up with my own recipe for homemade oatcakes.
Homemade OatcakesCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
4 ounces / 110 grams fine oatmeal
4 ounces / 110 grams medium oatmeal
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 ounce / 25 grams lard, dripping or butter (I used beef dripping)
5-6 tablespoons hot water
- Mix the two oatmeals, salt and bicarbonate of soda together.
- Melt the lard, dripping or butter.
- Mix the melted fat into the oatmeal (I used the handle of a wooden spoon).
- Add 5-6 tablespoons of hot water and mix to a soft, spongy dough.
- Sprinkle some fine oatmeal onto your working surface.
- Tip your dough onto the working surface and sprinkle with more oatmeal.
- Roll out to approximately ⅛ inch / 2 ½ mm thickness. Cut into rounds using a metal cutter. I used a 3 ½ inch / 8 ½ cm cutter.
- Using a palette knife lift the biscuits onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
- Gather the remaining scraps of dough together and re-roll to cut out more biscuits. Repeat until you have used up all your dough.
- Alternatively you can divide your dough into two and roll into two rounds approximately 7 inches / 18 cm diameter. Cut each round in 6 or 8 segments.
- Work quickly as the dough is more pliable and easier to work with while still warm.
- Bake for 35 minutes in a pre-heated oven 350°F / 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4 until crisp.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- When cold store in an airtight tin.
Oatcakes with lashings of butter
I like oatcakes with lashings of butter with my cup of tea in the morning but I also like them with cheese or pâté or soup for lunch and as an afternoon snack with cream cheese and honey. In fact I just love oatcakes at any time of day, especially as I am now making my own palm oil free ones.
Next time I shall be trying out some recipes for homemade sweet biscuits as so many of the biscuits in the shops are made with palm oil – just check out the biscuit aisle in your local supermarket.
My granddaughter and I are going to have a baking day at the weekend and will be having fun making (and eating) biscuits.