Has a whole year really passed since our last Burn’s Night supper?
Last year, O brought home a couple of bottles of Haggis Hunter, a real ale from the Harviestoun Brewery. We already knew (and loved) the regular Harviestoun beers from our student days in Scotland, but Haggis Hunter was new to us. It turned out to have a delicious balance of hoppy, tangy and malty tastes, everything that I enjoy most in a beer. We quickly bought up the last remaining bottles in the supermarket and even emailed the brewery to find out if the ale was available for mail order. To our dismay, we discovered that we would have to wait a whole year until the next batch would be produced especially for Burn’s Night.
Forewarned is for forearmed and we were ready for the Haggis Hunter this time around. I’m honestly not receiving any commission for this, but if you can still find any bottles this year, I really do recommend that you buy them up quickly (and send them to me 😉 ).
Our kitchen improvements have been galloping apace since my last post and we were able to celebrate Burn’s Night yesterday with a traditional supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.
Whilst M and T’s slightly less-traditional fish fingers were cooking in the side oven, I baked oatcakes in the main oven of my new Rangemaster cooker.
I found the recipe for the oatcakes in a book of Traditional Scottish Cooking by Eleanor Cowan. The cover claims that her recipes “employ traditional Scottish methods of cooking and preserving food, adapted for the modern kitchen”. Being used to Rose’s precise, trustworthy details, I was a bit off-put by the direction to add a “generous pinch baking soda” to the oatcake mixture … but I took a deep breath and, in the name of my Scottish ancestors, pinched away generously.
Robbie Burns must have been smiling on me last night as my oatcakes turned out beautifully. I’m not convinced I’ll be so lucky next time – I think my success in achieving just the right consistency was more through luck than good judgement!
Scottish Oatcakes (adapted from a recipe by Eleanor Cowan)
100 g/4 oz medium oatflakes
100g/4 oz pinhead oats
100 g/4 oz regular oatflakes
25 g/1 oz butter, melted
Generous pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I used 1 tsp)
4 to 7 tsps hot water
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
Combine the oats and stir well until evenly distributed. Weigh out 250 g/10 oz of this mix and reserve the remainder.
Stir the baking soda and salt into the oats, then add then melted butter. Stir until blended.
Add just enough hot water to form a smooth but stiff paste. Form the dough into a ball.
Sprinkle the counter with half of the reserved oats. Place the ball of dough on top and press down with your hands. Sprinkle the rest of the oats on top.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness (the edges will crack – just push the bits together again continue rolling). Use a medium-sized round biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Lift them carefully and place them on a greased baking tray.
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes (large oatcakes will take longer, but don’t let them become too brown).
Cool on a wire rack before serving with Scottish cheddar, ale and whisky.