The blog has become quite a foodie one recently as I seem to have done quite a bit of baking both with and without Andrew, and of course there was the Shrove Tuesday pancake fest! Last week we went to our local National Trust house and gardens, Anglesey Abbey, for the umpteenth time since we’ve lived here. We never tire of its beautiful gardens, where Andrew can run around or ride his bike, and the spacious cafe never fails to entice us in for a cuppa and cake. It wouldn’t be a NT location without a gorgeous selection of cakes – the only trouble is you have to decide which one, and that inevitably leads to me holding up the queue of other cake pilgrims awaiting their turn to deliberate as I um and err and um again and err a bit more! And I can’t forget the kids’ play table, a veritable treasure trove of books, toys, crayons and other random paraphernalia that keeps Andrew amused for hours, and there are even two, count them TWO, toy Brum cars from his favourite TV programme.
After much deliberation, last week I went for a Bakewell flapjack as my cake. It was, as you might guess, a cross between a Bakewell tart and a flapjack – a pastry base with jam on, but for the filling there was an almond flavoured flapjack instead of an almond flavoured sponge. I wasn’t disappointed, it was amazing (not that a NT cake has ever failed to deliver for me). So this week, instead of baking one of my usual flapjack recipes (blogged about here and here) to replenish my snack box – all in the name of breastfeeding of course – I made my own Bakewell flapjack inspired by the NT one. The base is a basic crunchy suet pastry, which I filled with strawberry jam and almond flapjack. It was simple to make and turned out really well; dare I say it, was good enough to rival the one that inspired it. Not that I’m planning on competing with the NT – I would surely fail.
Here’s the recipe if you fancy having a go yourself…..
- 100g self-raising flour
- 50g vegetable suet
- cold water
- 90g margarine
- 90g sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 120g oats
- 2 tsp almond essence
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (fan) and prepare a round cake tin or tart dish by greasing it.
- First make the pastry, by mixing the flour and suet together in a bowl, then add some cold water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together into a dough ball.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to just a bit bigger than your tin/dish, and put the dough circle into the tin/dish, pressing it into the corner where base meets side.
- Spoon some jam onto the base and spread around until evenly distributed and generously thick.
- Then make a start on the flapjack, by melting the margarine, sugar and honey in the microwave.
- Add the oats and almond essence and stir until well combined.
- Pour the flapjack mix onto the base and spread around until it’s all covered.
- Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool before cutting into slices.
I always seem to have a story behind what I bake, and this post is no exception. I was encouraged at the BritMums blogging conference that I recently went to when a top blogger (I can’t remember which one, I must find my notes and link to his/her blog!) said that this is what he/she liked to read in a good food blog post – the story behind the recipe, not just the recipe itself. I hope you find these little stories I tell before a recipe interesting!
A couple of things prompted me to think about baking some flapjacks. First, on Friday we went to our usual breastfeeding support group, and as usual I volunteered to take some snacks. Unfortunately I didn’t have many ingredients in to bake anything quick and easy, so I ended up popping by the local shop on the way, where there wasn’t a great choice of cakes/biscuits. I decided a tray bake of flapjack was the best choice. When I tried some later at the group, I thought it wasn’t bad, but was a classic bought flapjack – very sweet and golden syrup-y, and quite solid. I like home-made flapjack that is less overpoweringly sweet and more crumbly. So when we went shopping later that day I thought I’d get the thing I needed to make the kind of flapjack I like – honey!
I said above that there were a couple of things that prompted me to think about baking flapjacks. The other was the fact that I have half a bag of oatmeal that’s been sitting in the cupboard for a while. I used to love porridge made with oatmeal, but I went off it in early pregnancy, probably because I was sick on it and I found it quite stodgy for my stomach when I was feeling so nauseous. These days the nausea isn’t there in the morning, but I guess I don’t feel like eating something that reminds me of feeling sick. So this half-eaten bag of oatmeal has been sitting around doing nothing, and one idea I had of using it in something other than porridge was flapjacks. I usually make them with just whole oats, but this time I tried using 3/4 oats and 1/4 oatmeal.
The texture turned out really well, just how I like it, firm enough that the pieces of flapjack don’t disintegrate, but crumbly enough that they melt in your mouth rather than being quite chewy. Most of the sweetness comes from honey, which is a sweetness I’m more into at the moment than sugar in the form of actual sugar or golden syrup. They’re still a bit too sweet for Andrew to eat lots of it, but I have let him have the odd corner of mine here and there. I find flapjack a good source of energy when I’m feeling so drained from everything I’m doing and just need a bit of a pick-me-up; the oats keep me going for a while, so it’s not all about a quick sugar hit!
- 125g margarine
- 150g oats
- 50g oatmeal
- 40g brown sugar
- 100g honey
- 50g sultanas
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (fan) and line a shallow cake tin with greaseproof paper.
- Melt the margarine, honey and sugar together in a bowl, either in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water.
- Add the oats, oatmeal and sultanas to the molten ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and spread it out to fill the tin.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and still soft.
- Take out of the oven and allow to cool a little in the tin.
- Before they’re completely cool, cut into squares however big/small you like.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin, then remove and store in an airtight container until they’re all eaten 🙂