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Posts Tagged ‘oatmeal

Garam masala

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Of all the flavours that stick in my head from India, garam masala is by far the most evocative. Much to my surprise while I was there I found Indian food to be fragrant, and well flavoured, rather than just spicy and discovered that in many places they use garam masala like we use salt and pepper, or brown sauce, to flavour and liven up a diverse range of dishes. This was most noticeable when, after days of little but rice and lentils I thought I would treat myself to some western food and ordered some chips (something of a weakness of mine) and even those came with a good spoonful of garam masala on top; there was no escaping it.

Back home though I came to appreciate the spice’s subtlety a bit more. Treated with a slightly more gentle hand than my french-fry-maker, the careful balance of flavours can enhance dishes without overpowering them; in the right concentration it can leave you wondering what, exactly the secret ingredient is, and never guessing for a moment it’s something most people consign to curries and nothing else.

The blend of spices on the back of my garam masala bottle reads cumin, coriander, chilli, turmeric, fennel seed, dill, clove, but each blend is unique, and everyone has their own recipe. Of course the flavours are much more potent if you toast your fresh spices and grind them together, but if you can’t be bothered, then the effects are just as startling with six-month old, shop-bought stuff.

Garam masala oatmeal raisin cookies
Adapted slightly from npr

Once again these were slightly more scone-like than I would have liked. Make sure you flatten your dough balls a little before baking them so get more cookie-like results.

70g (3/4 cup) gluten-free oats (a bit of a misnomer, of course, but that’s a whole post in itself)
120g (3/4 cup) gluten-free flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
62g (1/2 stick) butter, softened slightly
60g (scant 1/2 cup) sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
85g (1/2 cup) raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

2. In a medium bowl stir together the oats, gf flour, xanthan gum, garam masala, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.

3. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Slowly stir in the flour mixture, and finally add the raisins.

4. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of the dough onto the baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between them, and flatten them slightly. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until going brown on top.

5. Serve with a warming cup of chai.

Makes about 12. They last a few days in an airtight tin at room temperature.


Written by guffblog

11th May 2011 at 13:23

Posted in Biscuits

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For a Sunday morning

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Pancakes. But not any type of pancakes. Pancakes with oatmeal. Sturdy, warming, and enough to keep you going, well, at least until lunchtime.

Oatmeal pancakes
Adapted from Good to the Grain, via The Wednesday Chef

85g (1/2 cup) gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons white sugar
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup cooked oatmeal (use gluten-free oats)
1 tablespoon butter
Scant 1/2 cup milk
1 egg

1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl prepare the oatmeal. While still warm, stir in the butter until it melts. Add the milk and then quickly whisk in the egg.

3. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and either use the batter immediately, or leave in the fridge overnight so it’s ready first thing next morning. If leaving overnight the batter will thicken up; thin out with milk before using.

4. Wipe a large frying pan with a little butter and then place over a high heat. Spoon scant 1/4 cups of the batter into the pan, 2 at a time, and flatten slightly. Leave to cook for about 3-4 minutes on the first side, then loosen from the pan, flip over and finish cooking. They should be golden brown on both sides when done.

5. Serve with honey, or chopped fruit.

Makes 4 pancakes.

Written by guffblog

8th May 2011 at 10:43

Fast and slow

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Oats contain gluten. Confusingly, it’s not the same as the gluten found in wheat, barley and rye. Its structure is a little different and for this reason most coeliacs don’t react to it (though in some it triggers the same immune response as any other gluten-containing cereal). Fortunately for me, I don’t seem to be sensitive to oats, but there is still the problem of cross-contamination. Oats are often grown alongside other cereals and processed in plants where wheat and barley are used in large quantities. As a result most commercial oats on the market actually contain quite high levels of gluten. Luckily it is possible to get gluten-free oats though, produced in dedicated factories, and they can add so much to a diet nearly bereft of cereals. Apart from the obvious advantages of porridge, and its warming and filling properties in the depths of winter, they can be used to add nutritional value to a wide variety of biscuits. Full of protein and fibre oats are a relatively low GI (glycaemic index) food. This means that unlike pure sugar, which sends your blood sugar levels rocketing before slumping just as quickly, oats release their energy over a longer period of time so you feel fuller, longer. Or in my case, you don’t get a headache from eating too much sugar too quickly.

These biscuits perfectly combine the fast-release, instant-energy hit of, well, lots of sugar and some chocolate chips with the slow-release energy from oats. On the plus side this means they have the chewy, soft texture of very sugary cookies. And on the plus side (that’s the other plus side) they are quite filling, because of the oats, so you can stop at just one. If you want to. Even those who mock your strange eating habits will unreservedly declare these delicious. And given they take but a few minutes to throw together and scoop out onto a baking sheet, I think these are going to become my go-to cookies for most occasions from now on. Fast to make, fast to eat, slow to linger in the memory.

Oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies
From The Baking Beauties

Personally I found the recipe just a touch on the sweet side, and next time would reduce the sugar by an eighth or so, to about 375g. Any less and I think the lovely chewy texture would be affected.

1 cup (230g) butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar (375g) – I used a mix of white and demerara
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups (280g) gf flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 cups (180g) gf oats
1 cup (200g) dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C.

2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl mix together the gf flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Fold these into the butter and eggs mixture, and stir well. When completely mixed in, add the oats and finally the chocolate chips to the mixture. The dough should be quite stiff and you should be able to form balls quite readily with your hands.

4. Using your hands shape the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet a couple of inches apart and flatten slightly with the heel of your hand. Bake for 12 minutes, until they have spread out, are going brown at the edges and still soft in the middle. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

Written by guffblog

16th November 2010 at 19:36

The kitchen sink

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I don’t know about you but my cupboards contain an amazing array of half-finished packets of food. Raisins, a giant bag of, because that’s all raisins come in round here; flaxseed; because I made a seed bread with it once but never found anything else to put them in; crystallised ginger; because I made some chocolate covered ginger last Christmas and it was so expensive I didn’t want to waste the rest of it on just any old thing. Trouble is, I’m not imaginative/adventurous e to use these things up. I’m a slightly strange person who likes their cereal plain, not cluttered up with dried-fruit-turning-gradually-soggy-in-the-milk additions. I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could come up with all sorts of uses for these leftovers – it’s not as if they’re not edible on their own. Raisins, nuts, seeds,candied fruit – all delicious just as snack foods. Plus seeds or nuts can be stirred into cooked rice to jazz it up a bit, dried fruit put with yoghurt to make a dessert, oh writing these down it seems purely idiotic that I have half bags of nuts going stale in the cupboard. It ends. Now.

This recipe is what got me thinking about leftovers. Elise calls them “everything but the kitchen sink cookies”, which I rather like. You could put anything in them, absolutely anything. For me, I stuck quite closely to the original recipe in terms of additions, but next time I might up the fruit zest/peel and take out the raisins, or take out the chocolate chips, or add coconut, maybe some cocoa powder. Have a play, dig around in your cupboard, see what you need to use up and throw it in. Waste not, want not.

Kitchen sink cookies
Adapted from Simply Recipes

Aside from making the recipe gluten free, I also played around with the flavours a little. The result is a predominantly orange-flavoured biscuit, with the nuts, chocolate chips and raisins providing a variety of textures. My biscuits were also quite soft inside, almost tending towards scones. If you want yours more biscuity then I suggest adding a couple of minutes to the cooking time, and making the dough balls a little smaller.

1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 orange, zested
2 eggs
3/4 cup of gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/4 cups of gluten-free oats
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2. Melt the butter in a large bowl in microwave for about 1 minute. Stir in the sugar, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk the mixture for a further 30 seconds, or until nice and smooth. Set aside.

3. Stir the gf flour, xanthan gum and bicarbonate of soda together. Whisk the butter/egg mixture for another 30 seconds, then stir in the flour mixture. Once combined, stir in the oats, chocolate chips, pecans and raisins.

4. Chill dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you skip this step the dough will be very sticky and difficult to form, leading to very messy fingers. If that’s not a problem, go straight ahead and make the dough balls 🙂

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll small balls of dough (mine were 2-3cm in diameter, smaller balls will produce crisper cookies), and place on the baking sheet a couple of cms apart. Flatten slightly with the heel of your hand.

6. Pop the biscuits in the oven for 12 minutes, or until nice and crisp on outside and still a little soft in the centre. Remove from oven, leave on the parchment for 5 minutes to cool, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 20 medium-sized cookies.

Written by guffblog

24th September 2010 at 20:44