When I first met my husband, I marveled at his lack of understanding of cheese. He once made nachos with Doritos, with shredded mozzarella, and Thai sweet chili sauce. He said, “All cheese tastes the same.” Wait. What???
It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that I figured out how he had been operating under this unfortunate delusion for so long. Most cheese in the UK is pretty much the same. Almost everything is a variation on cheddar. This can make for a pretty boring cheese plate. Not to mention that in Scotland, instead of a nice chunk of baguette, they give you dry, bland oatcakes. I have frequently been underwhelmed.
Because I’m somewhat neurotic about working my way through a cookbook, I decided to try Nigella’s recipe for homemade oatcakes. I wasn’t expecting much. Turns out, oatcakes are pretty awesome if you make them yourself and roll them as thin as you can before baking.
Make sure you include a fat pinch of salt and cook them until they’re golden brown around the edges. Eat them with a variety of cheeses with a variety of textures and flavors from a variety of countries. That’s how cheese plates should work. Throw in some grapes and some salted almonds or cashews.
Drink wine. Eat oatcakes and cheese. Live it up.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick cooking oats
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 6-8 tablespoons of recently boiled water
- Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the oats, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl, and give them a stir to combine. Pour in the butter and start add the first six tablespoons of hot water. Start stirring, and add hot water as needed until a stiff dough forms.
- Knead your dough a few times until it comes together smoothly. With a rolling pin, roll it out as thin as you can.
- Using a three-inch round cutter or whatever shape floats your boat, cut out as many oatcakes as you can. If you find your dough is sticking slightly, use a thin spatula or butter knife to lift it off the counter and onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown slightly. Cool on a wire rack.