Scottish Oat Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche
Weird Food Rule that Jenn lives by #1: Try to eat foods that humans have been eating for the past 200 years, at least, and try as best you can to eat “traditional” foods from your ancestral region of the world.
Weird Food Rules that Jenn lives by #2: Do this 80% of the time you eat.
Hey, it works for other animals, so why shouldn’t it work for us? We are animals after all. My small dogs do better eating dog food with animal products that they could easily catch in the wild – like fowl and poultry and their eggs (and as close to their natural state as possible). But, not so good on beef or venison. I know we can’t all be wild foragers, but it is good to keep this principle in mind when we choose our mainstay foods. I know I think I feel better when I do this as much as I can, but I trust my dogs, because they don’t have the placebo effect.
Well it is no surprise to those of you who read my blog regularly that I am a huge fan of Mediterranean cuisine. I grew up in a primarily Southern Italian American family, eating lots of olive oil, garlic and tomato sauce. I love wine, olives, pita bread, hummus and cheese. In fact, quick meals are often comprised of many of these things. Antipasti, tapas and small plate eating is my favorite way to make a meal. These are all super healthy foods, that are a mainstay of my diet and will continue to be, because they are so darn good and good for you and well, super tasty. However, all my life, I have also had a strange love for other foods, from more colder climates. Things like salmon, brunost, wild game (especially those with antlers), lingonberries, blackberries, blueberries, seaweed, wild mushrooms, beets, turnips and sauerkraut. I find myself really CRAVING these foods. As well as other foods that can be found in both parts of the world like cheese, yogurt and other cultured dairy products.
Preparing Dough for Oat Cakes
So it was interesting for me when I got the results of my DNA test to find out that I have 100% Northern European ancestry, with heavy British/Western Isles connections on all sides, and quite a lot of recent Scottish influx. So in my quest to fulfill more of my Weird Food Rule #1 combined with my quest to find a good cracker recipe, I decided to try making Scottish oat cakes. People of the Western and Northern Isles in Europe have been eating oats and porridge for quite a long time. Oatmeal is good for us, and so I thought this would be a good recipe to experiment with.
It really and truly is a great recipe. It covers all my requirements – significantly more oats than flour, no white flour, holds up well with a pre-soak of the oats and flour – and works really well with buttermilk as the pre-soaking agent.
Buttermilk is an amazing liquid, and extremely easy to make. It is what raw milk becomes when it sours, like yogurt sours (DISCLAIMER: DO NOT try this with pasteurized milk, it ROTS, as opposed to sours, due to the lack of beneficial bacteria and is not safe to drink). Buttermilk is a actually a probiotic food. Even those who are lactose intolerant can generally consume it, since the healthy bacteria makes it easier to digest. I have been making cultured buttermilk (by using store bought milk and a powdered culture) regularly for the past several months. Buttermilk uses are many: pancakes, biscuits, bread, cakes, muffins, and of course these oat cakes. It makes all of these baked goodies nice and tender and airy. I have even drunk buttermilk straight from the glass, on occasion in lieu of kefir and it works well in smoothies, too.
Scottish Oat Cakes with Cheddar Cheese and Brunost
These oatcakes are a great vehicle to serve with cheese – I like brunost, Roberto like cheddar. Also good with homemade crème fraîche and smoked salmon, even salami. Or you could try butter and jam or raw honey for a sweet treat!
Scottish Oat Cakes
1 ½ cup of Scottish Oats (or sub any whole grain oats)
½ cup of oat flour, spelt flour or whole wheat flour
1/4 cup fresh buttermilk, kefir or yogurt (homemade is preferable)
¼ cup hot water
¼ tsp of salt
¼ tsp aluminum free baking soda or powder
¼ cup melted butter
flour for dusting
In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, buttermilk and water. Mix well. Cover bowl and let sit on counter top overnight, or at least 8 hours. The next day, preheat oven to 325F. Add the salt, baking soda and melted butter to the bowl. Mix everything with a fork, and break it up evenly. If it is too dry, add a bit more buttermilk – maybe a tablespoon or so. With your hands, form into a ball. Sprinkle a dusting of flour on your counter top or a large cutting board. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick. Then cut with the top of a glass into round shapes. Be sure to re-roll the scraps to make more cakes.
Place cakes about ¼ inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden. Let cool. Makes 6-8 cakes. This recipe is easily doubled.