Oats are one of our oldest natural crops. These unleavened cakes, also known as strones in Ulster and bannocks in Scotland, were originally eaten spread with butter. They were baked on the griddle, then dried out on ornamental "harnen" stands. Delicious with cheese or honey.

25g/ 1oz plain flour
pinch salt
pinch baking soda
110g/ 4oz medium oatmeal
25g/ 1oz butter, margarine or bacon fat
1/4 cup boiling water
Makes 4

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into the oatmeal. Melt the butter, margarine or fat in boiling water and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until the mixture is a spongy mass (a little extra water can be used if necessary). Turn mixture on to a surface covered with plenty of dry oatmeal and scatter more on top. Flatten the dough and roll out until 1/2cm/ 1/4inch in thickness, then place a dinner plate on top and trim into a neat circle. Scatter on more oatmeal and rub it in all over the surface. Cut into quarters before baking on either a griddle or in the oven.

Griddle Method
Place the oatcakes on a heated griddle or heavy pan over medium heat and bake until they dry out and curl. Then place under a grill at medium heat to cook the top of the oatcakes.

Oven Method
Bake at gas mark 4/ 180°C/ 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until dried out.