"Ther gooth a brook, and over that a brigge,
Upon the whiche brook ther stant a melle"
The Reeve's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer
When we were in the Lakes a few weeks ago, we decided to visit Little Salkeld Watermill, one of the few remaining working watermills in the country. It's a charming place. Loose chickens scratch around in the car park. At the back, you can walk down a tiny pathway through the bushes to see the clear water swoosh rhythmically down the wheel. If you climb the steep wooden stairs through the faint haze of dust you can see the huge, grooved millstones at work, grinding flour from wheat, barley, rye and spelt.
One of the millers took us on a very extensive tour, demonstrating and explaining how each part moved and linked to the next (I think he took a bit of a fancy to mum... though thankfully our visit didn't end up quite as eventful as Chaucer's tale). I really recommend it if you're nearby - it's fascinating to see the ancient technology in action.
The mill also has a lovely tearoom and shop where you can buy the flour. Though I didn't think they looked that interesting, I bought a treacle flapjack after our lunch, mainly out of curiosity. My first bite was ok. Yet as I kept eating, the flavours started to develop. By the end, I was smitten.
When I got home, I started playing around with various flapjack recipes. At first I didn't think an all-treacle flapjack would be right, so I used varying ratios of treacle to golden syrup. They were delicious (a tablespoon or two of treacle adds depth and takes away some of the sweetness) but they weren't what I'd eaten. I then found a Cranks recipe online and decided to brave a full treacle version. It worked.
They're dark, sort of malty, a tiny bit salty and incredibly addictive.
I've had serious issues resisting them. I ended up skipping supper one night - which very rarely happens - so I can definitely attest to their ability to keep hunger at bay (except for the hunger for more flapjacks, of course).
(adapted from the Cranks recipe)
150g unsalted butter
75g black treacle
75g brown sugar
pinch of fine sea salt
225g porridge oats
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Crumple up a bit of baking parchment and line a 7"/18cm round tin (or similar). Add the butter, treacle, sugar and salt to a big pan and place over a low heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Turn off the heat then stir in the oats. Scoop into the tin and press down. Bake for 23-25 minutes until the edges have darkened. Leave to cool then slice up when they're just slightly warm (if you do it too soon they crumble). They keep in an airtight tin for 4-5 days, maybe a bit longer.
(Makes 12-14 small flapjacks)
Three other posts that involve oats:
2012: Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
2009: Ginger Oat Biscuits