By the time you read this, I’ll be strolling the green hillsides of Ireland while on a yoga, nature, and Irish culture retreat.
I’ve been excitedly preparing for this trip for months.
I love to read so all of my bookworm choices lately have been about Ireland – from Irish history, to both historical and contemporary Irish fiction, and even fairy tales.
I can’t wait to meet Irish plants! I’ve been reading about Irish herbs, both as medicine and as a fount of folklore.
I’ve also been researching my genealogy and getting acquainted with my Irish ancestors.
I’ve also been looking forward to Irish food! Okay, I’ll probably pass on the black pudding, but I am looking forward to shepherd’s pie and Guinness!
The Irish are also famous for their simple baked goods such as Irish soda bread and oatcakes.
I found a family oatcake recipe that has been passed down to me and decided to update it.
Instead of oil and shortening, I used butter; instead of milk, I used buttermilk; and I substituted honey for the sugar. I also added freshly dried sage from my garden. I’ve been eating these warm with a drizzle of wild rose petal infused honey.
They are amazing!
But before we get to the recipe, let’s look more closely at the ingredients.
Oats (Avena sativa)
Herbalists use many different forms of oats in herbal medicine. The unripened seed heads are tinctured fresh for a “milky oats” extract, which is often used for people with fried nerves.
Dried oatstraw is used as a nutrient dense and delicious decoction or nourishing herbal infusion that supports bone and cardiovascular health.
Oats can be a delicious treat; however, if you are eating them daily, I recommend soaking them first. This makes them easier to digest and can break down anti-nutrient qualities that can inhibit absorption of nutrients like iron.
To soak oats, place one cup of oats in a bowl; cover the oats by one inch with warm water; add two tablespoons of an acid such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or whey; and add a teaspoon of salt. Let that sit overnight. In the morning they can easily be made into oatmeal.
To explore more of oats’ many healing qualities, see my monograph on HerbMentor.com.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Outside of the herbal community, sage is often overlooked. As a culinary spice it gets pigeonholed into a couple of dishes, such as Thanksgiving stuffing, but is nearly forgotten the rest of the year.
Herbalists have long recognized sage as a powerful healing herb and recent research has been confirming this. Sage has been shown to be a powerful ally for Alzheimer’s disease, for alleviating hot flashes during menopause, and for helping people to digest heavy foods, especially fats.5 6 7
Whether you enjoy sage as a soothing tea or sprinkled into your food, this wonderfully aromatic plant can offer many gifts in your life.
These oatcakes combine the rich aromatics of sage with the chewiness of oats. They are delicious as is; however, I recommend eating them warm with a drizzle of rose petal-infused honey and a bit of tea. I make this with a gluten-free flour mix and gluten free oats; however, regular wheat flour and oats will work fine, too.
What you’ll need…
- 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the baking sheet
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup honey (warm temperature and liquid)
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not soaked; avoid quick or instant oats)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten free if desired)
- 1 teaspoon finely ground dried sage leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.
Mix the buttermilk and honey together until completely combined. Set aside.
Place oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Add the sage. Whisk well.
Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
Add the buttermilk and honey combination and stir just until it forms dough.
Form the dough into two disks. Set aside one of the disks.
Roll out the other disk on a floured surface until it is 1/4 inch in thickness. Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut out rounds or shapes.
Place the cut dough pieces on the buttered baking sheets.
Gather the scraps of dough, re-roll and continue cutting them out. Then continue with the other disk of dough.
Bake the oatcakes 10-15 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden brown. Don’t overcook!
Let cool slightly before eating…
…or cool completely and store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to three days.
Yield: Makes 15 two-inch diameter oatcakes
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Do you use sage as a tea or in a favorite meal?
Please share in the comments below.
- Thongoun, Pimonphan, Patcharanee Pavadhgul, Akkarach Bumrungpert, Pratana Satitvipawee, Yashna Harjani, and Anne Kurilich. “Effect of Oat Consumption on Lipid Profiles in Hypercholesterolemic Adults.” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand = Chotmaihet thangphaet 96 Suppl 5 (2013): S25-32. ↩
- Gulati, Seema, Anoop Misra, and Ravindra M Pandey. “Effects of 3 G of Soluble Fiber From Oats on Lipid Levels of Asian Indians – a Randomized Controlled, Parallel Arm Study.” Lipids in Health and Disease 16, no. 1 (2017): doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0460-3. ↩
- Li, Xue, Xiaxia Cai, Xiaotao Ma, Lulu Jing, Jiaojiao Gu, Lei Bao, Jun Li, Meihong Xu, Zhaofeng Zhang, and Yong Li. “Short- and Long-Term Effects of Wholegrain Oat Intake on Weight Management and Glucolipid Metabolism in Overweight Type-2 Diabetics: A Randomized Control Trial.” Nutrients 8, no. 9 (2016)doi:10.3390/nu8090549. ↩
- Raimondi de Souza, Simone, Gláucia Maria Moraes de Oliveira, Ronir Raggio Luiz, and Glorimar Rosa. “Effects of Oat Bran and Nutrition Counseling on the Lipid and Glucose Profile and Anthropometric Parameters of Hypercholesterolemia Patients.” Nutricion Hospitalaria 33, no. 1 (2016): doi:10.20960/nh.40. ↩
- Akhondzadeh, S, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, and M Khani. “Salvia Officinalis Extract in the Treatment of Patients with Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease: A Double Blind, Randomized and Placebo-controlled Trial.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 28, no. 1 (2003): 53-9. ↩
- Scholey, Andrew B, Nicola T J Tildesley, Clive G Ballard, Keith A Wesnes, Andrea Tasker, Elaine K Perry, and David O Kennedy. “An Extract of Salvia (sage) with Anticholinesterase Properties Improves Memory and Attention in Healthy Older Volunteers.” Psychopharmacology 198, no. 1 (2008): doi:10.1007/s00213-008-1101-3. ↩
- Bommer, S, P Klein, and A Suter. “First Time Proof of Sage’s Tolerability and Efficacy in Menopausal Women with Hot Flushes.” Advances in Therapy 28, no. 6 (2011): doi:10.1007/s12325-011-0027-z. ↩