Thursday, 10 May 2012

Montage Part two: Secondary characters (or Oaty bars, which is more literal)

I don't know if I've really talked about M's job much - but he's very active, and is often hungry. The quest to make sure he stays warm and has energy is one that I've struggled with, we've tried dried fruit, chocolate bars, bananas, but nothing quite hits the mark and I hate the thought of him being cold and hungry (it's clearly love).

Cereal bars that you can buy often seem to be a miss for us, they taste processed, oily even and I just don't enjoy them. So a couple of weeks back when I caught an old River Cottage I was intrigued by the idea of Hugh's oaty bars. Akin to a thick flapjack, using honey and peanut butter as the base they were chockablock with good things; dried fruit, seeds, nuts. The recipe is one of those that you can take as more of a guideline, and over the last couple of weeks I've run with it, taking the rough quantities and interpreting them loosely, depending on what we have in, and M's tastes.

Oaty bars - the Pantry version

125g butter
150g light, soft brown sugar (darker sugar would make your bars more treacley and would work really well with chopped, fudgy dates)
125g crunchy peanut butter - a no sugar one if you can find it, I'm using a Whole Earth
75g of honey (or golden syrup) and 2 teaspoons to drizzle over at the end
Zest of any two citrus fruit you have
200g porridge oats
150g of dried fruit - again go with what you like - we had chopped dates and sultanas last week, plain sultanas this week. Don't forget to soak your sultanas in tea to make them more succulent
150g of mixed seeds - last week we used sesame and pumpkin, this week we used the end of those, pumpkin and linseeds

As long as you don't alter the ratios too much, this is a completely versatile recipe - change it up to suit your tastes. Once you've made it once it would also work perfectly well doing it by eye. I can't say I weighed much this week when I made them *cough*lazycook*cough*


Melt the butter, sugar, peanut butter, citrus zest and honey in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat
Stir in the oats, dried fruit and seeds
Press into either a greased and lined brownie pan (about 20cm square) or if you prefer flatter bars a roasting tin
Cook at 160 degrees for 35-40 minutes
Take out of the oven and leave in the tin to cool completely
Using a sharp knife cut into squares or bars and store in an airtight tin for up to a week.

This is such an easy recipe I wouldn't hesitate to do it with the Guides - in fact we are next week as part of their On Your Marks badge. (Just check for allergies) I'll type this post out as an activity plan.

PS: This post is without pictures because the light is APPALLING this week, and the oaty bars look like mush in every photo I take. What is my life? *overreacts*

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