CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Oatcakes - Rediscovering a Lancashire tradition

16:43 15 February 2011

Oatcakes - Rediscovering a Lancashire tradition

Oatcakes - Rediscovering a Lancashire tradition

Cookery editor Philippa James hunts down a Lancashire oatcake

This article was sparked by one of our readers; Elizabeth Wood, originally from Preston, but now living in Hertfordshire, she wrote in asking if we may know of an old delicacy (I use the word advisedly, having
looked more into this!) known as a Lancashire Oatcake.

Elizabeth went onto describe this with fondness. She said: It was very thin, smooth on one side, knobbly with fine oatmeal on the other and oval, measuring approximately 11" by 6". Being flexible, we used to butter it and spread with golden syrup, roll up, slice and enjoy!

I remember buying it at a little shop in a ginnel between Fishergate, and Friargate and possibly at Booths.

I believe these oatcakes are known as Haverbread; the Lancashire Regiment used to be known as the Havercake Lads and the oatcakes used to be cooked in Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, so they were also known as a Pennine oatcake.

They are made from oatmeal, yeast, sugar, salt and water, made into a pancake batter, then cooked each side on a girdle (griddle) pan, cooled and either used, soft, immediately, or dried out to preserve them.

This is how the regiment came to gain the nickname, when the dried oatcakes became known colloquially, as hard; they were traditionally served, to create a Lancashire dish, known as Stew and Hard, with the biscuit form of the oatcake so dry, that you needed to dunk it into the stew, to soften it for eating.

I managed to track down a company who still sell the oatcakes, and discovered that they make their own traditional beef Lancashire Stew, to go with them. This is Jack Simpsons, owned by Mr and Mrs Bibby, stall 31, on Burnley Market.

Lancashire Oatcakes


450g/1lb fine oatmeal (you can grind regular oatmeal in a food processor if you wish)
2 tsp instant, dried, yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 dessert spoon oil
1.5l/ 2.5 pints warm water (approx) - hand hot, no warmer


1. Combine the oatmeal, yeast, sugar, salt and oil in a large bowl. Form a well in the centre and add just over half the water. Stir to combine then keep adding water until it resembles a pancake-like batter.

2. Heat and lightly oil a frying pan then add one cup of the batter and cook for about four minutes per side. Set aside to cool as you finish cooking the remaining batter. Either use immediately or dry to make hard. The oatcakes will keep a few days in the fridge and they freeze well.

1 comment

  • You can still get oatcakes (soft or hard) in several places in Colne, including the Market and Grahams Poultry, and Stew and 'ard is a regular feature in a number of shops

    Add your comment |


    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Tue, 16:35
Ten Acres Hamper

Welcome to Ten Acre - a wonderful world of deliciously quirky snacks, where every flavour has a story to tell

Read more
Gaynor Doyle preparing the batch of cupcakes ready for the oven

Treat yourself this Christmas with a boozy bake from Liverpool Cake Company. Words by Rebekka O’Grady

Read more
Friday, November 20, 2015
10 of the best champagnes and sparkling wines for Christmas

It’s hard to deny a glass of champagne over the festive period - but which sparkling wines are worth the splurge and which should you avoid?

Read more
Friday, November 20, 2015
Eggnog cupcakes with dark spiced rum

The Liverpool Cake Company share their delightful, boozy festive recipe for 24 cupcakes

Read more
Friday, November 20, 2015
Steaks are the speciality of the house

This country inn has become a hot ticket for diners who love exceptional steaks cooked to perfection. Martin Pilkington reports

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
First of the Seasons Grouse
Roasted with Lavender and Honey, Fennel and Peach, Yakitori Livers on Toast

Game season is in full swing. For Steven Smith and his team at the Freemasons at Wiswell, there is no better time to celebrate good food.

Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Game Meat Lancashire Restaurants
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Seafood Pub Company

Why not treat yourself to an overnight stay for two people with dinner, breakfast and a bottle of Prosecco at the Barley Mow in Pendle for £125, or Derby Arms in Longridge for £150

Read more
Monday, November 16, 2015

Undergraduates are working with Lancashire super-chef Nigel Haworth to come up with the ideal dish. He spoke to Roger Borrell

Read more
Lancashire Food
Friday, November 13, 2015
Nigel's hotpot

Betty’s hotpot was the stuff of legend on Coronation Street, here is one that award winning chef, Nigel Haworth, made earlier

Read more
Lancashire Food
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Merlin's Milk Loaf

By Julie and David Peeks of Artisan Foodworks

Read more
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Tucking in to a delicious lunch at Fourstones

Harriet MacArthur braves all weathers in some of Lancashire’s remote regions to feed hungry people on game shoots. Emma Mayoh reports. Photography by Glynn Ward

Read more
Game Meat
Friday, November 6, 2015
Pupils, Putter Ransibrahmanukul, Amelia Greenwood-Smith, Jacob Holgate and Niamh Burby with head chef, Danny Holder

Meet the award winning chef reinventing school dinners in Clitheroe. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Spicentice Tikka Masala Kit

A great way to use up leftovers from Christmas dinner, this turkey tikka masala recipe is the perfect Boxing Day supper

Read more
Roast hake with Jerusalem artichoke and celeriac puree, girolle mushrooms, hazelnuts and brown shrimps

The seventh site for the renowned Seafood Pub Company, Town Green Brasserie exudes the quality and class expected from this award-winning Lancashire business. Words by Rebekka O’Grady

Read more
Lancashire Life Luncheon

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job Search in the Cotswolds

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search