Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scottish Oat Cakes

My secret is out! This blog is being posted late in the morning because I normally write in the evening, post-dating my blog to pop onto the Internet at 6 a.m. as I saw logs (Memo to international readers: I’m not really “sawing logs.” That is a North American expression that means I am asleep - snoring, mouth open, tonsils twisting in the breeze). So why no early morning blog post, today? 

Well! We’ve had a bit of excitement, here in the Time Zone and at the Latitude Where I Live! A major power failure that lasted 12 hours! I’d already written out today’s recipe for Scottish Oat Cakes when disaster struck - ka-blooey! I’d taken the necessary ingredients from the cupboard, and - thinking this would be a minor blip in the electrical system - proceeded to cook by candlelight, getting everything ready for the oven. My oat cakes never made it that far. 

We carried on in darkness until just a few minutes ago. I made breakfast over a butane-fired Japanese cooker (Safe and intended for indoor use! I’ll tell you about this must-have device on some future day when I blog my recipe for Sukiyaki. I love my Japanese cooker almost as much as I do Ron!).

Butane-fired Japanese cooker

Water on the boil
for instant coffee

The start of bacon and eggs: It was very dark!
These photos were taken with a flash

Bacon and eggs by candlelight

Ron likes his eggs over easy

This scattering of photos - all taken in total darkness, some with a flash, some by candlelight - will show you how things were last night and early this morning. I wrote the recipe below while we still enjoyed the luxury of electricity, and - using my battery-operated laptop - added the notes below the recipe after the power went out.

Reading my recipe by candlelight

Here is the original post: 
Gather round, lads, lassies, and bairns! It’s Robbie Burns Day! I was going to make a haggis, but the sheep escaped, so today’s nod to the Bard is all about Scottish Oat Cakes. Ron is half Scot - the bottom half, I’m sure, because he reliably informs me that Scots wear nothing under their kilts. He proudly wore his Mackenzie tartan as a lad in the Seaforth Highlanders. It was widely rumored that the Regimental Sergeant Major used to conduct inspections with ... um, a mirror attached to his swagger stick. 

Moving right along …  Egad! Lost my wee bonnie way for a moment! It’s recipe time, Dollinks! Once you’ve made these oat cakes, don’t overlook my April 16, 2011 blogged recipes for Grandma Innes’s Rolled Griddle Scones, my own Scottish Scones, Jim Lefevre’s Dropped Griddle Scones (also known as “Girdle Scones”), and my Nov. 9, 2011 blogged recipe for the same Jim’s Scottish Afternoon Tea Cake. As for the oat cakes below, I love them with a little butter and a dab of jam.
Scottish Oat Cakes:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1-½ c. large-flake rolled oats
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ c. vegetable shortening
½ c. cold water
Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in shortening using fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water, mixing in with fingers until dough clings together and can be formed into a ball. Divide dough in half. On a floured work surface, pat dough into a circle, rolling and patting as thinly as possible. Slice circle into eight triangles. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Bake 10-to-15 min., just until dough starts to brown but still remains pale. Cool in pan on wire rack. 

I added this note late last night: Well, Dollinks! In the cheerfully parsimonious spirit of the Scots (a stereotype for which I apologize), Ron and I saved a bundle tonight (“last night,” when you finally read this!) after the power to our home was cut (“You paid the bill, didn’t you?” “I thought you paid the bill!”). Naaah, it wasn’t like that! 
We have had a massive, widespread, electrical failure. A main transformer has blown on the grid that serves our community, affecting more than 4,500 homes. I’m writing these notes by candlelight, on my battery-operated laptop. We have been plunged into darkness.  
We’ve been told the electricity will take a long, long time to come back, so I’m going to pop these oat cakes into the oven in the morning, and will take a photo of the finished product then. You’ll see your blog a little later than usual, I’m afraid - and pretty soon, you won’t see it at all, as I take another hiatus from blogging to buckle down on a writing project. Not surprisingly, the photos I took as I prepared these oat cakes were duds: White flour + pale oats + white sugar + white salt + white shortening … You get the picture, Dollinks - or rather, you don’t get the picture! 
But hey! Lucky me! I’m heading to bed with a man who wears nothing under his kilt! Now where’s that Mackenzie tartan?

Ron in full regalia

Ron sans kilt


  1. I read the part about the mirror and know it to be true. I also know that in our house as children when Dad headed off in his kilt, my mother would always check to make sure that he was wearing underwear before she would let him leave the house. And quite wisely! There was a St. Andrews Day dance at my Presbyterian Church once, where a kilt-wearing gent took a bit of a tumble after one of the twirls. Well, let’'s say that the display was hardly appropriate for a church basement. –The Baptists wouldn'’t have stood for it. The Presbyterians just passed more oat cakes.

  2. Hope Ron's landing gear doesn't catch cold!


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