A savoury flapjack? Surely that’s evil? Well, these were a lunchbox favourite when I was growing up – my Mum used to make them in huge batches, using the ‘Cheesejacks’ recipe from the trusty Cranks 1980s veggie cookbook. I decided they needed a bit of revival, so I took the original recipe and gave it a twist. I sold a few batches at my occasional food stall at the local pub – they got the ‘Marmite’ reaction: people aren’t expecting a savoury flapjack, so you either love or hate them! They are intensely cheesy, herby and very moreish – a bit of the ‘umami’ flavouring going on. Plus I added a tiny whack of chilli heat to perk up your tastebuds. Great for lunches on the hoof, and for those who don’t have a sweet tooth – and a million times better than boring oatcakes! I passed the recipe on to the lady who had the cake stall next to mine, and she says all her friends are now making them…so I dare you to try them. They’re great with a glass of wine, a pint of dry cider or a mug of tea.
375g jumbo oats (don’t use porridge oats, this will make the flapjacks sludgy)
30g Parmesan cheese
400g extra mature Cheddar cheese*
3 medium organic free range eggs
125g organic salted butter
30g fresh rosemary
5g chilli powder
5g freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Line a large roasting tray with greaseproof baking parchment.
Grate the cheeses in a food processor to save time. Chop the rosemary roughly, beat the eggs and melt the butter. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and give them a good stir so that everything is incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture seems a bit dry – the cheese will melt and bind everything together.
Tip the mixture into the roasting tray and press down with the back of a spatula so that the oats flatten and stick together. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. The cheese will bubble up, so let everything cool down before you cut it into squares. These flapjacks improve with age and last about 6 days in an airtight Tupperware container. They also freeze really well.
* I use Colliers extra mature Welsh cheddar which is so strong it makes the roof of your mouth tingle and has lovely crunchy bits of naturally-occurring salt in it. Yum.