An Ode To A Cheeseboard & Scottish Oatcakes
I loves me a cheeseboard. I used to eschew a restaurant cheeseboard as a dinner out didn’t quite feel complete without dessert and to eat both felt obscene even for a glutton such as myself. This summer in Yorkshire has taught me the error of my ways. With almost every menu there sporting a Yorkshire cheeseboard and British cheese so clearly on the up, I was persuaded.
Now there are cheeseboards and there are cheeseboards, with most restaurant offerings sadly coming up a little short. But when beautiful, unpasteurised, artisan cheeses meet handmade biscuits and carefully chosen accompaniments, the cheeseboard is a thing of beauty.
So how did I solve the problem of missing out on restaurant desserts? I stopped ordering the rubbish vegetarian main courses that carnivore chefs have been subjecting me to my whole life. Cheeseboard for dinner? Yes!
These oatcakes are absolutely delicious. So very much better (and healthier) than their packaged counterparts. They are packed with toasted oaty flavour and texture. They contain a little butter (perhaps replace with coconut fat for a vegan alternative?) and a tiny bit of unrefined sugar, but the vast majority of the ingredients are wholegrain goodness. They are lovely with many different toppings, with the oatiness enhancing, but never overpowering, a huge variety of flavours. However they are, of course, at their transcendental best when topped with some mature, nutty, earthy, unpasteurised cheese.
This recipe for Scottish oatcakes comes from a reader of the BBC Good Food website, though I have elaborated on the instructions.
Makes about 20 oatcakes
- 225g oats
- 60g wholewheat flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 60g butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp unrefined sugar
- 60-80ml very hot water
Preheat the oven to 190C. Mix together the oats, flour, salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda. If you would like the texture of the biscuits to be a little more refined and less chunky (I don’t), blend part of the oats to flour before combining. Add the butter and rub or blend together until everything is mixed and has the consistency of large bread crumbs. Add the very hot water bit by bit and mix or pulse until you have a thickish dough. The amount of water varies, depending on the oats, but the final dough should not be too moist as it will stock when you try to roll it out. When I first made these biscuits, I thought my dough was perhaps a little too dry, but when it came to rolling it out and baking, the consistency was fine.
Sprinkle some extra flour on the work surface and roll out the dough to approximately 1/2cm thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out shapes (the final number will vary depending on the cutter). Bake on a tray (no need for paper) for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.