Oat cakes are C’s favourite biscuit. He eats them with everything: hummus, cheese, tapenade – if it clings, spreads or stacks, it can go on an oatcake. (I’m the same with crisp bread.) Luckily, oatcakes good for you. They are also very versatile. I like them with cheese, but there’s more to them than cheeseboard staples. Oatcakes work well with all kinds of other toppings. Below, are two recipes that will be on our Christmas table. Both come from Nairn’s, oatcake bakers extraordinaire, and are developed for oatcakes. They do work well on other breads and biscuits too, but on oatcakes, they make tasty and easy-to-make canapés. The mushroom paté is lovely, so much nicer than the ones you can buy, and the beetroot spread has a deep, earthy flavour and a glorious colour.
Mushroom and Walnut Paté
- 450 gr mushrooms - flat ones are good because they have more flavour.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- About 10 grinds of pepper
- Thyme (optional)
- 220 grPhiladelphia cheese
- 1 generous tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- Heat the oven to 200 C (gas mark 6).
- If you have a fan assisted oven, either lower the temperature by 20 degrees, or remember to keep an eye on the mushrooms when they're in the oven.
- Chop the mushrooms into thumbnail sized pieces.
- Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet (line with baking parchment if not non-stick) and add oil, pepper and salt. Mix and spread evenly.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Check it after 20: my fan assisted didn't need longer and you don't want to dry or burn the mushrooms.
- Let the mushrooms cool (15-20 minutes should do it).
- Put mushrooms and Philadelphia in a food processor and whiz until smooth.
- Either roughly chop the walnuts and add them, or add whole ones and pulse the food processor to chop them. You want them chopped, not powdered, for texture.
- Transfer the paté to a bowl and mix in the parsley.
- Serve a good spoonful of paté on an oatcake, either heaped high, or shaped neatly into a cone. Sprinkle with some parsley, and serve. Or serve ramekins of paté and a stack of oatcakes for people to build their own.
Roasted Beetroot and Parmesan Spread
- 2 medium raw beetroots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 60 grms pinenuts
- 30 grms soft cheese (If you bought a large tub of Philadelphia, there will be enough left from the above recipe to also work for this one.)
- 30 grms grated Parmesan cheese (I used an extra matured Cheddar because I couldn't find a vegetarian 'Italian-style hard cheese'.)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4).
- Place the cleaned beetroot on a piece of foil, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.
- Wrap the foil to make a parcel and roast in the oven for 1.5 hours or until cooked (a skewer should go through it without much resistance).
- Remove the beetroot from the oven and let it cool.
- Peel, roughly chop and place in a food processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process to a smooth spread.
- Season to taste.
- Serve about a tablespoon of spread on an oatcake. If you want to decorate, add a couple of pine nuts or a grating of cheese. The sharp flavour and crunch of a cornichon works very nicely with this spread too.
Nairn’s oatcakes are available from most supermarkets and many independent shops.