Dairy Free Peppermint Tart

As you all probably know, we keep a kosher home. That means that if we have a meat meal, the dessert needs to be dairy free.

This Rosh Hashanah, my brother hosted the meal, which was a feast of amazing chicken, deli roll, veggies and more, and I was making the desserts.

I really really wanted to make a Peppermint Crisp Tart (click on the link for the original recipe) but it needed to be parve/dairy free.

Fresh mint in closeup

My one issue was finding a solid slab of dairy free peppermint chocolate. Not so easy apparently. You can get After Eights but the peppermint part is soft and I didnt think that would work. I found an artisan, bean to bar, locally made chocolate but I could not get the peppermint one for love nor money. Eventually I gave in and bought plain dairy free chocolate and then found a peppermint extract to add to the cream. 

Another concern was what to swap the dulche de leche for. It had to be sweet but diary free and I came up with using Biscoff Lotus spread. I’m not sure this is available in SA but Im sure you can find some type of dairy free alternative.

All in all the dessert was a hit, everyone loved it and it was as close to a regular peppermint crisp tart as one could hope for.

Here is the recipe.

Dairy Free Peppermint Tart
A dairy free take on my traditional Peppermint Crisp Tart
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tub dairy free cream such as Rich's
  2. 1 jar Biscoff Lotus spread (or any dairy free sweet spread)
  3. 1 packet of plain biscuits
  4. 1 large slab of dairy free chocolate, broken or crumbled into small pieces
  5. A few drops of peppermint extract
Instructions
  1. Place the cream and a few drops of peppermint extract in a bowl.
  2. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
  3. Place a single layer of biscuits on the bottom of a large square/rectangular dish.
  4. Microwave the Lotus spread for a few seconds for easy pouring.
  5. Cover the biscuits with a layer of Lotus spread.
  6. Sprinkle half the crumbled chocolate over the Lotus layer.
  7. Add a thin layer of whipped cream.
  8. Add another layer of biscuits.
  9. Add another layer of Lotus spread.
  10. Cover with a thick layer of whipped cream.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top of the cream.
  12. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Notes
  1. I used a dairy free bitter chocolate, if you really want it to taste like Peppermint Crisp then look for a dairy free 'milk' chocolate or non bitter chocolate. Personally I liked the bitter contrast to the sweet Lotus spread and the minty cream.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Just call me Jamie

A while back I got a bee in my bonnet to haul out my pasta machine and make home made pasta.

What possessed me to start the process at 6pm for dinner that night will forever be unknown.

Making pasta from scratch should never be rushed. 

Actually making the dough, is a process that can take up to half an hour. You really need to give the kneading process time. The longer you work the dough the smoother and more elastic it is. You also need to let the dough rest before rolling it.

Then, since the machine is small, you need to actually make your pasta in small batches. Rolling the pasta takes time, you need to roll the dough through each setting a few times to ensure its even. Rolling the entire ball of dough can take over an hour.

But, its worth it, Fresh pasta is delicious!

So before I give you the recipe, here are a few tips from me to you.

  1. Plan ahead. Set aside a morning or afternoon where you have at least 2-3 hours uninterrupted time. I suggest an afternoon because of tip #3 below.
  2. Don’t make pasta alone. Rope in the kids to help. Mine had a blast helping me roll out the pasta and choose which type of pasta to cut. Alternatively invite some friends around and make a day of it. Make the pasta, make the sauces from scratch, maybe even make a batch of artisan bread to go with your fresh pasta.
  3. If you go the friend route (or even the kids route), open a bottle of wine and enjoy a sip or two between rolling batches.
  4. Take a break. The kneading and then the rolling takes work. Your shoulders will get sore. This is also why you need time. Sit between batches. Maybe stop rolling the dough for a while and make one of the sauces.
  5. Take the time to let your pasta dry a bit before cooking. You can cook it right away, but I find letting it dry for at least 20 minutes helps the pasta maintain its shape when cooking.

pasta
Bonus tip! If you don’t have a pasta drying rack, you can use a folding clothes drying stand. Just make sure the rack is clean before you start hanging your pasta to dry!

Pasta Dough
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Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups pasta flour (you can use '00' fine flour or regular flour if you want, I bought a bag of flour that said pasta flour on it and it was delish)
  2. 6 large eggs
  3. A pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl or on a large, clean surface, place your flour and sprinkle the salt into it.
  2. Make a well in the middle.
  3. Crack your eggs into the well.
  4. With your hands, start bringing the flour into the eggs in the centre.
  5. Keep working the flour into the eggs from the outside in.
  6. Once the flour and eggs have become a rough ball, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading.
  7. Keep kneading the dough, adding a little bit of flour if it is too sticky until the ball starts to become smooth.
  8. You will know the dough is ready when the ball is smooth and silky and stretchy.
  9. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave in a cool place (or in your fridge) for about 20 minutes to rest.
  10. When you are ready to start rolling, remove a small ball of dough to work with and cover the remaining dough well before setting it aside.
  11. Follow the instructions on your machine to achieve the desired thickness and type of pasta.
  12. Once your pasta is cut, hang it immediately so it doesn't clump. You could also lay it flat on a floured tea towel.
  13. Let the pasta dry for at least 20 minutes before boiling in salted water for about 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. I had about a 3rd of the dough left and didn't feel like rolling it. I left it tightly wrapped in plastic in the fridge and rolled it out the next day and it was still easy to work with and delicious. I'm not sure leaving it for more than one day will work but if you don't have time to roll it all in one day you can definitely leave it overnight and have 2 days of fresh pasta out of one batch.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

We eat the food, then we do the things.

One of the things we decided when we made aliyah was that we were going to try live as Israelis as much as possible. In particular food. We decided to buy and eat Israeli products as much as we could. 

One, buying imported things is expensive. 

Two, support the local economy.

Three, the kids are growing up Israeli, they need to be comfortable eating foods we may not have eaten in South Africa.

All of this is not to say we don’t eat the same foods we used to eat in South Africa. I’m yet to see cottage pie on a restaurant menu but we often have it for dinner. 

Israelis also tend to eat larger, heavier meals at lunch and smaller, lighter meals at dinner time. We still eat a proper cooked meal for dinner, mostly, this summer we have tried eating lighter, smaller meals at night.

All this brings me to things that we don’t/cant buy here (there is one big store that imports food stuffs from SA and Australia and the UK, but it is hellishly expensive). Things that I miss. Things that I have asked people to bring me and that I hoard and cherish like a certain gold ring.

  • Anita mentioned on Facebook, samp, which I haven’t had in years and now have a hectic craving for. 
  • Along with samp, is a good stiff pap with tomato gravy. You can buy polenta here but its just not the same.
  • Boerewors. I’ve had locally prepared boeries but its just not the same. The meat here is very different to SA and you can tell.
  • Peppermint Crisp. Anybody who visits has to bring me at least 1 slab. 
  • Five Roses Tea. Israeli black tea is rather weak. At least that’s my opinion. I love a good cup of Five Roses. 
  • Biltong. I actually have a biltong maker, I just need to figure out what’s the best cut of meat to use so I can make some.
  • Mrs Ball’s Chutney. I dont even really like chutney but I use to use it for cooking. Maybe I should try make my own…

All in all I think we manage just fine using local products and ingredients. And I don’t really miss anything to point of agonising over not having it. But I wouldn’t say no, if someone gave me any of the above.

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Photo taken by Paul in 2005 (I cannot for the life of me remember which game reserve it was)

Scottish oatcakes of yumminess!

As you know, Paul is diabetic, and I am always trying to find yummy sugar free food to bake or cook for him.

Paul tends to eat a bowl of oats with fresh fruit in the mornings but its getting boring. I work with a lot of UK products and last week, Scottish oatcakes kept popping up. So I googled and found a variety of recipes and yesterday I tried out a simple Scottish oatcake recipe.

These biscuits can be used in place of bread. Spread some butter, honey, jam or cheese on top or just have them plain right out the oven!

Scottish Oatcakes
Yields 16
A quick to make, yummy biscuit. Can be served with butter, cheese, jam or as is.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 250g oats, whizzed in the blender until they become a flour consistency
  2. 25g butter, melted (I used margarine so they are dairy free, you could also use oil)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 150ml hot (not boiling) water
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Set aside a bit of the oatmeal flour for later.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a rough dough ball.
  4. If its too sticky add some more oats, if its too dry add a dash of water.
  5. Dust your surface with the oatmeal flour you set aside earlier.
  6. Roll out the dough about 2-3mm thick.
  7. Take a clean glass and cut out rounds.
  8. You can re-roll the scraps until there is nothing left.
  9. Place rounds on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. These were delicious fresh out the oven with a bit of butter.
  2. If you are not using them right away you can warm them up in the oven for a few minutes before serving although they are just as delicious cold.
  3. Store them in an airtight container.
Adapted from Penny's Recipes
Adapted from Penny's Recipes
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Peanut butter ice cream

I usually make ice cream in my churner but that requires some forethought and planning and since this was a last minute decision I went will a ‘no cook’ ice cream. 

image

Basic ice cream recipe with peanut butter
A simple 'no cook, no churn' dairy free ice cream
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box dairy free cream
  2. 4 eggs separated
  3. Half cup caster sugar (I use sugar replacement to make it diabetic friendly)
  4. Splash of vanilla
  5. Any addition you like I.e.
  6. Peanut butter
  7. Crushed biscuits
  8. Fruit
  9. Chocolate
Instructions
  1. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form.
  2. Slowly add in sugar and blend gently.
  3. Add egg yolks and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl beat cream until about double in size.
  5. Combine both bowls together.
  6. Gently fold in your addition. I used about 3 tablespoons of sugar free smooth peanutbutter.
  7. Place in freezer proof dish, cover well and freeze for at least 2 hours.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Pumpkin!

My mommy in law sent me a recipe for pumpkin bread and last night I finally managed to make it.

The original recipe called for 3 cups of sugar and white flour. Since Paul is diabetic I switched things around a bit so he could also enjoy it.

When I started writing up this post I realised that I had only taken a quick picture of the breads before going into the oven.

bread

The loaf I brought to work went so quickly I didn’t have a chance to take a picture either. So I asked Paul to take a quick picture and send it to me.

Why I was surprised when he didn’t just send a quick cell phone pic is beyond me. I know better.

What follows is the gorgeous styled photo shoot he did.

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

And now for the recipe.

Pumpkin Bread
Yields 2
Yummy, sweet pumpkin bread
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
  2. 2 cups sugar replacement (original recipe calls for 3 cups sugar)
  3. 1 cup oil
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 2/3 cup water
  6. 1 and 1/3 cup white flour
  7. 2 cups wholewheat flour (original recipe was all white flour)
  8. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. 1 teaspoon nutmeg (I didn't have so I left it out)
  10. 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I didn't actually measure, I just poured a whole lot in)
  11. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  12. 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds since that's what I had on hand)
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 180C.
  2. Prepare 2 bread tins.
  3. Cook your pumpkin and then drain and mash it.
  4. Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  5. Split the mixture between the 2 tins.
  6. I kept a little back and used my 4 teeny tiny little miniature bread tins, just for fun.
  7. Bake for between 45 minutes to an hour. I stuck with Hilary's suggestion of an hour (I put the mini tins in for the last 20 minutes).
Notes
  1. Enjoy hot out the oven with melted butter.
  2. Its equally as good, cold the next day.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Whisky: The water of life (and dinner)

I often use wine when I cook. I dont only drink it, I use it in the dishes too.

Many of my chicken dishes use wine, especially when baking the chicken.

A while back I purchased a bottle of Golan Heights Distillery Whisky. Its the first Israeli whisky and I think its pretty decent.

whisky

So I got to thinking, if I can cook with wine why not whisky?

A quick google search showed quite a few whisky chicken recipes so I mashed a few recipes together according to the ingredients I had on hand and O. M. G! I wish the internet allowed you to smell images. This was one of the best roast chickens I have ever made!

Whisky Roasted Chicken
A dark roast chicken, perfect with rice and roast sweet potato
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large whole chicken
  2. 3 tablespoons whisky
  3. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  4. 2 tablespoons silan (date syrup), you can use honey too.
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon basil
  8. 1 teaspoon oregano
  9. 1 teaspoon rosemary
  10. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed/diced finely
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. In a bowl mix the whisky, lemon juice, silan, salt, pepper, herbs and garlic.
  3. You can give them a whizz with a hand blender but I just stirred them with a fork.
  4. Place chicken, breast side up, in a roasting dish.
  5. Using your hands, scoop up some of the sauce and rub all over the chicken.
  6. You can rub some of the sauce under the skin too.
  7. Keep rubbing in the sauce until the chicken is covered.
  8. If there is any sauce left, pour it over the chicken, it will mix with the chicken fat as it roasts and makes a delicious gravy.
  9. Roast, uncovered, for at least 1 hour per kg of chicken.
  10. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before carving.
Notes
  1. Serve with rice or couscous to mop up the gravy.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Cheese, cheese, everywhere!

Shavuot, a celebration of the day the Jewish people received the Torah. As with all Jewish celebrations, we have special food related to the holiday. For Shavuot that means dairy.

Cheese, cheesecakes, pasta with lots of cheese and cream, ice cream, and most importantly (to me anyway), cheese blintzes. Yummy crepes filled with a sweet cream cheese mix and fried. They can also be made as savoury blintzes.

I found a recipe on Tori Avey’s site and modified it slightly. They were delicious!! Recipe below. All the lovely pictures taken by Paul.

batter
batter

 

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Fold over the bottom

 

Fold sides in
Fold sides in 

 

Keep rolling up and tucking the sides in
Keep rolling up and tucking the sides in 

27622307335_6ef3fc8bd3_z 

 

Cream Cheese Blintzes
Yields 9
A yummy sweet cream cheese filling wrapped up in a delicious crepe.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Crepes
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1/3 cup sugar (I used cup for cup sugar replacement)
  4. 3/4 cup milk
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1 tsp vanilla
  7. Pinch of salt
  8. Nonstick cooking oil spray
  9. Oil
Filling
  1. 1 package cream cheese
  2. 1/4 cup sugar (I used cup for cup sugar replacement)
  3. 1 egg yolk
  4. 2 tsp fresh lemon juice (I didnt have any and it was fine)
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. Pinch of salt
Crepes
  1. Mix all the crepe ingredients together.
  2. Make sure the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.
  3. Transfer your batter to a jug for easy pouring.
  4. Spray a non stick pan with oil spray.
  5. Pour a small amount of batter (about a third of a cup) into the pan and swirl the pan around to spread the batter.
  6. Leave for a minute or two until the crepe is set, the exposed side of the crepe will feel slightly tacky if you touch it but not completely dry.
  7. Do not flip the crepe.
  8. Set aside on a plate and separate each crepe with wax paper or paper towel.
  9. You should get about 9 thin crepes.
Filling
  1. Mix all the filling ingredients together with a fork.
  2. The mix should be thick-ish and slightly lumpy.
Put together
  1. Lay out one crepe.
  2. Place a tablespoon or so of filling onto the bottom half of the crepe.
  3. Roll the crepe up and over the filling and fold in the sides.
  4. Continue rolling (and folding in the sides) until the crepe is sitting, fold side down on your surface.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Continue this process until all the crepes are rolled.
Final Step
  1. Heat a small amount of oil in the pan.
  2. Place 2 or 3 blintzes, fold side down, in the oil and fry for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Carefully turn the blintzes and fry the other side for 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.
  5. Repeat this process with the remaining blintzes.
  6. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. The original recipe called for ricotta cheese as well as cream cheese. I didn't use ricotta and the filling was fine.
  2. If your batter is too thick you can add a dash more milk or water to thin it out. Your crepes should not be too thick or you wont be able to roll them up.
  3. You can leave out the sugar in the filling and add mushrooms, spinach or any other savoury filling.
  4. These are best served hot but I ate one that had cooled down and it was just as delicious.
Adapted from Tori Avey
Adapted from Tori Avey
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

#Zombieprompts Week 14

Share your best soup recipe.

We’ve just seen the end of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere (good riddance!) so no more soup for us. Although chicken soup is always welcome, even in 40°C weather.

chicken-doctor-people-soup-prescription

This winter I made a few ‘throw everything in the pot’ soups and they all actually turned out really well.

In my opinion there are a few basic steps that MUST happen in order for any soup to be good, regardless of the ingredients.

  • Onion. Diced finely and fried until golden. Every soup should start with this as a base.
  • Herbs. Dried or fresh or frozen. You can use whatever you have on hand and don’t be shy, the more the merrier.
  • Time. You cant rush a good soup. Cook your veggies on a lower heat for longer. If you can, make your soup the day before you need it. Soup always tastes better the next day.

So, here is a basic recipe. You can adapt it depending what veggies you have in your fridge.

'Throw Everything In The Pot' Soup
A thick, smooth soup, perfect with fresh bread. The recipe below includes veggies I happen to have in my fridge at the time of writing this.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil (I use 2 'ice cubes' with chopped herbs from my freezer, very Pinterersty of me)
  2. 1 large onion, diced
  3. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, cilantro, mixed Italian herbs, basically whatever you have on hand
  4. Garlic, either fresh, chopped or garlic powder
  5. Salt & pepper to taste
The following veggies are not set, use all or some or add what you have
  1. Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  2. Sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  3. Carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  4. Turnips, peeled and cubed
  5. Leeks, leaves chopped off, cut into 1 cm thick slices
  6. Celery, leaves chopped off, cut into 1 cm thick slices
  7. Water to cover chopped veggies
Instructions
  1. Once you have washed, peeled, diced and chopped all the veggies, add your olive oil and onion to a large pot and saute until golden.
  2. Add remaining veggies to the pot and sprinkle with the herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir the veggies until they are all coated in the oil and spices.
  4. Keep stirring the veggies every 5 minutes or so until they are all heated through and starting to soften.
  5. Add enough water to the pot so that all the veggies are covered. I usually add about 1 cm above the veggie line.
  6. Turn down your heat to a simmer, cover the pot, leaving a small gap to allow steam to escape and simmer for an hour or longer until veggies are soft and falling apart when poked with a fork.
  7. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  8. You can leave the soup at this point and have a chunky broth or you can blend the veggies with a stick blender which is what I do.
  9. Reheat the soup when you are ready to eat.
Notes
  1. You can really add any veggies you want to this soup, peppers, squash, pumpkin, you name it you can add it.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Whole wheat scones of yumminess!

Over the last few months, Paul’s blood sugar has started acting up. He’s now on a new medication and I’ve renewed my efforts to cook and bake healthier, more diabetic friendly options.

On Saturday we decided to watch a movie with the kids and I wanted to make a snack of some sort that we could all enjoy.

I cant really remember what made me think of scones but I bought some organic whole wheat flour and decided to do a google search.

scone2

The results were divine. The kids went back for 3rds and 4ths and Paul said the scones were excellent.

Sugar free whole wheat scones
Yields 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 3 tablespoons 'spoon for spoon' sugar substitute
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (I totally forgot to add this and it came out just fine)
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/3 cup butter
  9. 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  10. 1/3 cup buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk so I used a mixture of 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar and then used the required amount)
  11. 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  12. Buttermilk for brushing
  13. Rolled oats to sprinkle on top of the dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar substitute, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, beat egg slightly; stir in the 1/3 cup buttermilk and cranberries.
  6. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture.
  7. Stir just until moistened (some of the dough may look dry).
  8. Turn out onto a floured surface.
  9. Knead dough for 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth.
  10. Pat dough to an 8-inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.
  11. Brush top with additional buttermilk; sprinkle with oats, pressing gently into dough.
  12. Cut into 12 wedges. (I used circle and heart shaped cookie cutters, I then took the left over dough and smooched it into 'rounds')
  13. Place dough wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  14. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are light browned.
  15. Serve warm.
Adapted from Diabetic Living
Adapted from Diabetic Living
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/