Because of my family's fairly nomadic lifestyle, I attended several schools. At one of the schools I went to we took cookery classes in our final year. I think they called it "home economics" but the idea was to have us leave school with a degree of independence in terms of feeding ourselves.
One of my favourite recipes from that era was the traditional British flapjack (a type of cereal bar). Typically this is made from golden syrup and brown sugar but my recipe is based on the issue of not having access to golden syrup, so I substitute honey in its place.
I was feeling peckish this afternoon and, while waiting for the paint to dry on a watercolour sketch I was working on, I decided to make a small batch of flapjacks.The nice thing about flapjacks is that they are quick to make if you have the ingredients in hand - 40 minutes from start to finish, as long as you like hot flapjacks with your coffee.
I am not the sort of person that sticks rigidly to recipes. Just as well as some ingredients don't come in the amount stated in the recipe. For example, I have plenty of oatmeal in the house in support of my regular breakfast of oats, dried fruit/nuts and yogurt. I happened to have two brands of oats - Quaker (the one that I prefer) and Nestle. The Nestle packet was 170 grams versus 200 grams in the Quaker packet. So following a recipe that calls for, say, 250 grams of oatmeal requires the use of a calculator!
So, I work to approximate ratios that seem to work for me and certainly gives acceptable results.
My recipe for my favourite flapjack mix is as follows:
- 1 packet of oatmeal (ie approx 200 gram)
- 100 grams of butter
- 100 grams of sugar
- 4 tablespoons of pure honey
- chopped dates (or other dried fruit)
The reason I have given weights here is to indicate the proportions - the butter and sugar will be about the same weight as the oatmeal. In fact, I tend to be lighter-handed on the sugar in view of the fact that honey will be in the mix.
Mix the whole lot up in a pan over low heat - the butter will bind the ingredients. Then transfer the mix into a shallow baking tin that has been greased with butter. Press the mix so that it fills the tin and is nicely flat and even. The back of a spoon will help in this process.
The oven should be pre-heated to 180 degrees. Place the tin in the oven and leave it to bake for about 20 minutes. When the mix is a nice golden brown it can be removed from the oven.
Score lines with a knife through the flapjack to create small bars of about 1 inch by 2 inches. Leave to cool then EAT THEM! or place in a biscuit container.
The pictures above are of my flapjacks with raisins but any dried fruit (my favourite are dates) eg apricots, currants, nuts etc are great too.