I’ve been home most of this week with FOUR sick kids. I’m only just getting used to having four children, let alone sick ones. It’s been snowy and cold here, so if there is a time to be taking care of sick little ones and baking, that time is now.
This whole cold, snowy weather, sick kids thing could really be a bummer, and while I hate that the kids are off their game, I’m feeling fortunate that it’s not this nasty flu everyone else is getting. Also, since I’m on maternity leave, I can be here to take care of them. And do what I would probably be doing anyway: Bake.
It’s funny how I think most people who know me would say that I’m an extrovert, outgoing, social and talkative (“excessive talking” was the comment I would get from every single teacher on my elementary school report cards). I’m all of those things, but I’m also a homebody to the core. I can go days, weeks even, without leaving the house. I always have a list of projects I want to tackle and it’s so easy for me to just get lost in one or a few of them. When I’m focused, I don’t notice the hours or days go by. Paul tells me that he can identify the look in my face when I’m “in the zone” and he knows to just get out of the way. Haha.
My point is, that for me, being snowed in with sick littles isn’t so bad. It’s an opportunity for me to get things done around the house, including trying some recipes I’ve had on my list. So, once again, I find myself cooking comfort food from the pantry.
I’ve been wanting to try this simple recipe for Donegal Oatcakes by Darina Allen for ages. When I surveyed the contents of our fridge and saw tomato-rosemary jam, a by-product of Paul and I both buying grape tomatoes on the same day, I thought it would complement these oatcakes perfectly. Well, as it turns out, I was right. These were nutty and homey and another easy and delicious way to use my favorite Irish flour. They are also great with fruit jam and clotted cream, creme fraiche, or greek yogurt. They can be taken in the direction of dessert with a generous swipe of nutella - sort of like an oaty, nutty, chocolate digestive. With just five ingredients, and a little time, they couldn't be easier to make.
Put the kettle on.
- 1 cup stone-ground oatmeal
- 1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter or lard, cubed and chilled, plus butter for serving (optional)
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1⁄2 cup boiling water
- 2 cups grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ to ½ cup of sugar
For tomato jam:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until tomatoes cook down and the mixture reaches a thick, jammy consistency, about 1 hour. Remove rosemary sprig, its ok to leave some whole leaves that have fallen off in the jam. Serve with oatcakes, brown bread, on a grilled cheese or even with chicken, fish or pork.
Add oats, flour, butter and salt to food processor and pulse until butter is in pea-sized clumps.
Drizzle in boiling water until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a ½” thick square. Place a kitchen towel over the top and let sit to dry out for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 250F. You can cut the cakes out with a biscuit cutter and gather and reuse the scraps or just cut them into squares as I did.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake, flipping once, until golden and slightly crisp, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter (or Irish cheddar) and tomato jam.
These last about 1 week in an airtight container.