If you mention oats most people will immediately think of breakfast cereals, but this fibre-packed ingredient can also be used as a delicious base for a host of healthy sweet and savoury dishes.
Low in fat and a good source of protein, oat flakes (or rolled oats), are basically the raw whole oat rolled out flat.
We sent some Country Range Oat Flakes to 2016 Country Range Student Chef Challenge winner Emily Bucknall, and she created these five ingenious dishes for us…
1. Toasted oat, pumpkin and freekeh and risotto, toasted pumpkin seeds & parsley jus
This is the dish that got us to the Country Range Student Chef Challenge final so it had to feature and it’s a favourite of mine. The fresh parsley jus adds a great earthiness to the dish and reminds me of fresh herbs in my granddad’s greenhouse.
2. Shortbread based apricot and blueberry crumble with an oat and pistachio topping
An alternative to an everyday crumble using oats to give a nice texture and crunchy topping.
Use apricots and blueberries that you may have frozen during the summer months that you can now cook with during the winter. The shortbread base adds more flavour and texture and gives an extra element to the dish.
3. Poppy seed and pumpkin seed power bar with melted chocolate topping
A tastier alternative to your usual post-workout snack, these provide lots of energy while also being more nutritious than normal power bars. Including poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds adds more texture and, with the chocolate topping, a sweet element.
4. Oat pane Gremolata chicken strips with a basil and tomato chutney
Great for a buffet, these easy to pick up crispy oat coated chicken strips taste fantastic dipped in a homemade tomato chutney. Deep frying them gives a lovely crunchy bite to the oats and the chutney provides a little sweetness.
5. Chilli and chocolate mousse and oatmeal biscuit
Chocolate is my favourite ingredient so I had to use it somewhere in my Five Ways. The addition of chilli gives the mousse a slight kick but doesn’t overpower and, in recent years, has become another classic pairing. The oatmeal biscuit accompanies this dish well and brings the flavours together.
About Emily Bucknall
Emily is a former winning team member of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, scooping the 2016 title along with fellow Loughborough College students, Daniella Bromley and Rebecca Brooks. As part of their prize, the team went on to compete with the Craft Guild of Chefs team at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. She was also a finalist in the 2017 Challenge.
Earlier this year, Emily won a City & Guilds Medal for Excellence in recognition of her outstanding performance in the Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery.
She is now embarking on the next step of her professional cookery development after being snapped up by the two star Michelin – Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms.
Emily completed a three-day stage at the illustrious restaurant and was offered a role of commis chef on completion after impressing Sat and his experienced team.
“For me, it all started with winning the Country Range Student Chef Challenge really. The win gave me direction, a huge confidence boost and a burning desire to work in the best kitchens with the finest chefs. The skills learnt, experienced gained and happy memories will stay with me for life so I recommend all budding college chefs to get involved.”