Well, it’s snowing again today. SNOW. IT’S 23 MARCH. As the BBC gleefully repeats ad nauseum, this time last year we were wandering around practically naked, basking in an equally unseasonal 21C. I know which I’d prefer.
Either way, you’re in for a couple of guest post treats as the boyfriend and I, snow-willing, are off to Rome for 6 nights. I shall mostly be following Nuns around, as I understand it’s the only way to cross a road there without courting almost-certain death.
In the meantime, enjoy the culinary goodness coming your way from these excellent guest posters – today’s is from K who put her hand up to volunteer after a call to action was put out – and make whatever they tell you to.
Although it’s only 15 or 16C in Rome, in comparison to the snow I see falling out my window as I type this, it’ll seem almost tropical.
As this interminable winter stretches on, confining our household to indoor play most weekends, I’ve been baking with my almost-three-year-old daughter to avoid her going completely cross-eyed watching sing-along YouTube videos, or having to play with the crappy Play-Doh ice-cream factory and pick the dried bits out of all the crevices and find the attachments…and…
So we bake instead. Flapjack is one of her favourite things to make, presumably because of the opportunity it gives to lick vast quantities of (usually tightly-rationed) sugar off the spoon and spend the next half hour running around the kitchen wearing sunglasses whilst shouting “chase me!” into a remote control.
I intended to make these once she had gone to bed but, as soon as she saw me getting things out of the baking cupboard she wanted in, hence the little helping hands in the early photos.
My recipe gives a slightly crunchy top but with a very sticky middle. If you want to read some serious research into the matter then Felicity Cloake’s piece in the Guardian shows a dedication that I find hard to match http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/mar/10/how-to-cook-perfect-flapjacks.
The chocolate version came about because I love M&S Chunky Belgian Chocolate Flapjacks but object to paying over ONE POUND a slice for them. In finding a way to replicate them at home I came up with my now standard technique for Adding Stuff to Flapjack: anything that you want to add that could burn and taste revolting (dates, raisins, cherries) goes between two layers of oat mixture so that it doesn’t burn (don’t over-fill your flapjack sandwich though or the two layers come apart once sliced), whilst non-burning things (seeds, desiccated coconut, ground almonds), are added in place of some of the oats.
That sounds a bit too healthy though; back to the chocolate.
- 6oz unsalted butter
- 4oz light muscovado sugar
- 6oz golden syrup
- 12oz porridge oats
- 4oz dark chocolate
- A tin (my tin is about 20cm square and you wouldn’t want one much bigger than that as it would be tricky to get two layers)
- Some tin foil or greaseproof paper.
The measurements are in imperial because that’s how I’ve always made them but I’m sure you can cope.
Pre-heat the oven to 160C (mine is a fan over).
Weigh the butter, sugar and syrup and put them in a medium sized saucepan on a low heat. Stir occasionally as the butter melts checking that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While it is melting, pour yourself a drink line your tin, measure the oats, measure then roughly chop the chocolate.
Once the butter has melted and you can combine the mixture, turn up the heat a little to melt the sugar.
When the sugar has dissolved take the pan off the heat, add the oats and mix them in well.
Put half of the oat mixture into the tin and press it down firmly and evenly. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the layer of oat mixture.
Dollop the other half of the oat mixture on top and use it to seal in the chocolate.
Bake for about 20 minutes so that the top is golden. I normally turn the tin half way through to ensure an even bake.
Once cooked, leave it to cool in the tin. Resist the temptation to eat them straight-away as they will just fall apart if sliced whilst warm.
Once cool, slice into your desired size and pretend that the oats mean that it’s actually good for you.