Thursday, September 25, 2008

More from the Store

Normally, always keep a good supply of bog-standard porridge oats in my storecupboard. Not only do they make the cheapest breakfast possible (porridge), but are exceptionally good for us - containing protein and also help to lower cholesterol. Also one of the low GI foods that give slow release of energy.
When blitzed in a food processor, the porridge oats then turn to flour (as coarse or as fine as you wish), and this can then be added to ordinary wheat flour to make bread, cakes, biscuits etc. Add the oats as-is to bulk out something like spag. bol sauce (they take up the flavour of the sauce and are a cheaper protein than using all meat). The very fine flour makes a good thickening agent for soups and sauces.
This next recipe uses oats to make a type of shortbread, but far healthier than the rich Scottish shortbread.
PetticOAT Shortbreads:
5 oz (150g) oat flour (see above)
2 oz (50g) plain flour
3 oz (75g) caster sugar
quarter tsp bicarbonate of soda
half tsp salt
4 oz (100g) butter, softened
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until it comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to a dough, then roll out to a circle the thickness of a pound coin (or - more accurately 5mm). Mark the top across into 8 - 10 wedges (or can be rolled out to an oblong and cut into fingers - in other words cut them any shape you wish) prick with a fork then place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 15 - 20 minute until golden and just firm. Cool on a wire rack.

Another recipe using oat flour is offered, this time for a more savoury biscuit to eat with cheese. There are simpler recipes for oat biscuits to eat with cheese, but this one can be adapted in various ways. Use the whole rolled (porridge oats) for a rough textured biscuit, or blitz them down for a more finely textured biccie. Use wholemeal or white flour according to your pleasure (or what you have). Use less sugar if you wish (could use honey instead) or omit it altogether and add flavouring by way of celery salt (or even garlic salt?) instead of ordinary salt, and plenty of black pepper. If you find you enjoy the first batch you have made, then next time try a different version.
Oatie Cheese Biscuits:
2 oz (50g) oatmeal or porridge oats
6 oz (175g) wholemeal or plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
half tsp salt
2 tblsp caster sugar
4 oz (100g) butter, cubed and chilled
3 tblsp milk
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then rub in the butter. When like breadcrumbs add enough milk to make a dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead gently. Cover with a cloth or bowl and leave to stand for 15 minutes, then roll out to 3mm thickness. Prick with a fork then cut into rounds, triangles, squares or what you will, and place on a lightly greased or non-stick baking sheet. Bake at 180c, 350F, gas 4 for 10 - 12 minutes until golden. Cool on the tray then transfer to a cake airer until cold. Will keep in an airtight tin for a good week.

One further recipe using porridge oats. No not gone mad, it's just that porridge oats should always be to hand in our storecupboard, and with the rest of the ingrdients being fairly basic, we have no excuse not to make these cookies. Instead of chocolate chips, either coarsely grate chocolate or chop it very small.
Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies: makes approx 36
4 oz (100g) butter or marg
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
half tsp vanilla extract
3 oz (75g) plain flour
pinch salt
2 oz (50g) porridge oats
4 oz (100g) chocolate chips
Cream the fat and sugar together until light an fluffy, then gradually beat in the egg and vanilla. Sieve in the flour and salt then fold in the oats and chocolate.
Using a teaspoon, put blobs onto well greasd baking sheets, allowing room to spread. thn bake atll my favourite temperature 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 12 - 15 minutes until pale brown. cool on baking trays for five minutes before transferring to a cake airer.