homemade scottish oatcakes

Recently I decided to include to my diet some foods I used to eat and really like and see how I feel about them now. With Spring I feel less fancy to eat meat, cheese and other more “heavy” foods. Spring and Summer will be my time to experiment with lighter diet full of veggies, fruits and more healthy carbohydrates. I want to see how I will feel on this kind of “diet”. Now I’m more concious about my body and I can feel what serves me and what doesn’t. Spring and Summer will be the great time to naturally boost all vitamin levels, so my plan is to take advantage of all veggies and fruits that will be available in this season. Expect more veggie and fruit recipes, I’m very excited to make smoothies and salads I will be able to take to work.

One of the food I used to love and eat a lot was porridge oats. Oat flakes is the main Scottish food ingredient, in larger stores you will find whole shelves of various types of porridge, which is a traditional breakfast dish. For about 2 years oats was my favourite breakfast. Thick, warm porridge served with summer fruits, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or nuts and drizzled with honey was my everyday “go to” breakfast. This Spring I will give it a go and test some new porridge recipes to see how I feel about them.

Oats are also an ingredient in many desserts – oatcakes are one of them. And as with any traditional national dish, there are dozens of recipes to prepare them. Before they became sweet treat, they were treated as bread, hence many recipes completely lack sugar (only salt). Many recipes speak of pre-roasting cereal in the oven, I chose the simple and quick version that can be baked when we feel like a little healthier snack. Oatcakes are quite fulfilling, so they make a good snack at work or when you go for a trip.

In general there’s two main types of oats: oat flakes and oatmeal. Oat flakes are the uncooked and unprocessed version of the grain, oatmeal is a processed product. Apart from that you can find many different types of oats. Scottish oats – whole oat groats are stone-ground to create small broken bits of varying sizes. Rolled oats – oats become flakes by being flattened to varying thicknesses between two rollers. Oat groats are the type of oats that take the longest time to cook, they are whole grains oats, dried, cleaned and strip off inedible parts.

For this recipe the best would be more fine Scottish oats or rolled oats. If you have quite thick rolled oats and you’d like to make them more fine, simply use food processor to get smaller bits. I also used muscovado sugar to give my oatcakes more flavour, but you can use any type of sugar or sugar replacement.

Thinner you make them more crispy and light they will become, if you’d like them to be more chewy and fulfilling make them a bit thicker. They will also need couple more minutes in the oven. Oatcakes are really quick and easy to make. And this is very basic and simple version of this recipe, but you can spice them up using other ingredients like: nuts, dried fruits or different spices.

homemade scottish oatcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g oat flakes or porridge oats
  • 3 tbsp heaped plain flour
  • about 100g butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar (muscovado, brown, coconut or sugar alternative like xylitol)
  • about 60ml hot water

DIRECTIONS

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl: oats, flour, salt, soda and sugar. Add butter and knead until the butter is fully combined with oats. Don’t worry that the oat flakes are still very loose and are unlikely to be formed into cookies.

Next pour a little hot water (it must be hot) and knead again. Now the dough should take shape and it can be easily formed.

Set the oven at 190°C. Spread the baking paper on the baking tray and start forming oatcakes. You can roll the dough and cut circles with a glass or cookie cutter, or like me, form small balls (the size of a large walnut) in our hands and flatten it. You can make cookies smaller or larger, it depends on your preferences. The thickness is important. If they are thin, they will be tender and crumbly after baking. Thicker ones will need more time to bake and will not be as light and crunchy.

Place the cookies on a baking tray and bake them for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Store them in airtight container so that they do not absorb moisture from the air.

low carb coconut, peanut butter & chocolate bars

This is a typical ketogenic dessert – low in carbohydrates and high in fats, also great if you need a boost of energy and you rather like less sweet snacks. It’s a mix of coconut, chia seeds, peanut butter, dark chocolate and dried cranberries. As an extra touch I decided to add little bit of dried lavender. It adds quite original aroma. But you can skip it or add something else: freeze-dry fruits or nuts. But slightly sour taste of cranberries goes great with the rest of ingredients.

It’s great as a snack or dessert when when you’re on high fat diet. The only downside I see is storing – bottom layer is made mostly with butter and coconut oil, so in the room temperature it melts quite fast. So if you’d like to take it with you as a snack for a outdoor summertime trip it will melt in couple minutes. But it’s a great snack if you have a fridge on hand.

If you skip the butter, add only coconut oil and use dairy free chocolate, it will become a great vegan keto snack.

low carb coconut, peanut butter & chocolate bars

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • about 3-4 tbsp butter
  • about 10 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 4-5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp xylitol or other sweetener
  • couple spoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • 200g 80% cacao dark chocolate
  • handful of cranberries
  • optionally: little bit of dried lavender

DIRECTIONS

You will need soft butter, so it’s best to take it off the fridge at least an hour earlier. Mix together butter, coconut oil (not melted), desiccated coconut, chia seeds and xylitol using a spoon or food processor. When combine transfer it to a form and spread all over the bottom and the sides. Place in the fridge or freezer to set.

In the meantime melt the chocolate using double boiler method. In a small pot heat some water, place heat resistant bowl over the pot, so the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of water. Place pieces of chocolate in the bowl and slowly melt until runny. Set aside.

Place a layer of crunchy peanut butter over the coconut. Slowly pour melted chocolate on top and even the surface. Add dried cranberries and a little bit of lavender. Again place in the fridge or freezer.

Cut with a sharp knife. Chocolate will break so if you want to avoid that, place your knife in a hot water, should help.

Store in the fridge, as bottom layer melts quickly in a room temperature.

keto chicken korma

Since I’m back at work, I have less time for cooking and experimenting. At least one good thing of being furlough, is that you have plenty time for cooking, eating and trying for new recipes. Now I’m back to my old routine, looking for quick and healthy dinners and meals I can prepare in the morning, dump into my slow cooker and enjoy after coming back from work.

Recently I’ve discovered korma spice blend in my local eco shop, and I’ve already almost emptied it. I’m not the biggest fan of Indian spices, but this one is fantastic. There’s plenty of cinnamon in it, so it not only gives amazing aroma, but also a lot of sweetness. I’ve balanced it with couple spoons of tomato passata, it also gives it a bit more colour to the sauce. I’ve used double cream to make it very creamy, but coconut milk would work even better. For finish use some chopped fresh coriander, which gives this specific flavour. And of course quite a lot of fresh garlic, natural antibiotic and fresh ginger for extra warming effect. Ginger and garlic it’s a great combo for upcoming Autumn and Winter. Especially this year, our bodies needs an extra care and awareness. So it’s good to always have on hand fresh garlic cloves, ginger and when you feel like cold or runny nose is on their way to catch you, you can just finely chop large garlic clove (or use a garlic press) and mix it for example with cottage cheese or natural yoghurt and have this mixture once a day. To make a ginger tea, chop some fresh ginger and boil for about 5 minutes. Drink it while it’s warm but not boiling hot. It will warm you up from the inside on a colder days.

To make korma chicken, you won’t need more than 30 minutes. Remember to find good quality chicken, from local butcher or farmers market. You can serve it with bunch of cooked or fresh veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or leafy greens.

If you can’t find korma seasoning, you can make your own blend using: ground coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, ground cardamom, clove and chilli powder.

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keto chicken korma

INGREDIENTS for two portions + leftovers:

  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 350ml double cream (or a can of coconut milk for no dairy option)
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • about an inch (2.5cm) of fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter
  • about 3 tsp korma blend spice
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • about 3 tbsp tomato passata (or 1 tbsp tomato paste)
  • fresh coriander for finish

DIRECTIONS

Chop the chicken in smaller pieces, do the same with onion.

Heat a large skillet adding 2 tablespoons of clarified butter. Toss the chicken and fry on a high heat until it gets golden. Then add some salt and chopped onion. Fry for another couple minutes, so it also gets slightly browned.

Slice or use a garlic press, also finely chop a piece of ginger, and add to skillet. Lower the heat and add all the spices. Give it a good stir so the spices goes everywhere. Add double cream or coconut milk, about 3 tablespoons of passata, and simmer on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

You should get thick, creamy and aromatic sauce. Just check if it’s salty enough, also if you like it a bit more spicy, sprinkle some chilli flakes on top. To finish sprinkle some fresh chopped coriander.

Serve hot with some fresh o cooked veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, or some salad leaves.

Enjoy!

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