Tag Archives: oats

Flapjacks, the best and most simple bar around.

A year ago today I was 28 + 6 weeks pregnant and camping out at Royal North Shore hospital waiting for Thea’s imminent arrival. A dodgy placenta meant that Thea wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed to grow and was very small for her gestational age. The consequence of this was that somewhere between 28 to 30 weeks of my pregnancy, when it was  seen on my bi daily ultrasounds that the blood flow in the umbilical cord had gone into reverse and was flowing away from Thea, she would be delivered.

It’s amazing writing this now, so matter of factly, because at one point getting to 28 weeks had seemed like an insurmountable feat. Thea’s dad and I first learned about her restricted growth somewhere around 24 weeks. I can remember so vividly the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, the blood rushing to my cheeks, my heart thundering in my chest, as the news was explained to us. Our baby may not survive and there was nothing that we could do about it. All the love and hope and possibility that we felt for our unborn child as prospective parents was fully realised, as we learned that the blood flow in the umbilical cord was so bad that it could reverse at any point, cutting off Thea’s lifeline. We were made aware that it was not a good course of action for our tiny baby, who was estimated to weigh 360g, some three weeks behind in growth, to be delivered, as a baby that young and that small does not have a good chance of survival or at best, survive with out long term damage. We were advised that the best thing to do would be to wait and hope that the blood flow sustained until 28 weeks or a weight of 500g was reached, at which point the outlook would be slightly more positive. But it was up to us. We decided to take a leap of faith and wait.

For 5 weeks I patiently rested on my left side. I drank beetroot juice (thought to promote good blood circulation) for breakfast followed by eggs and bacon. I ate liver, kidneys, meat, butter and cream. Nutrient dense food to help my body and my baby. I had acupuncture. And I googled the hell out of IUGR (in uterine growth restriction) for two weeks whilst at home. Then I was admitted to hospital where I stayed for another three. In hospital, I had breakfast delivered to me in bed every day. I read books cover to cover. Dozed. Meditated. Had visitors. Received flowers. Food parcels. Felt loved. I listened to my baby’s heartbeat for nearly an hour everyday and saw her on a screen every other. She reassuringly kicked me late at night and early in the morning. “Mum, I’m still here. I’m ok”flapjacks


During my stay in hospital, I asked my mum to make me some flapjacks. A comforting and familiar childhood snack to munch on with my morning tea. And that’s the recipe for this post. Reminiscing about my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter, I was inspired to make a batch of these oaty, wickedly moorish biscuits. The act of baking them acknowledges how far Thea has come, how beautiful and alert and simply perfect she is and how wonderful it is to be a family of three. On Saturday we will celebrate her first birthday. But that’s another story.


  • 150g brown sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 1tbs golden syrup
  • 350g oats

Simply melt butter, sugar and syrup together in a pot over a low heat. Add the oats and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a lined baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes at 150 degrees. Slice into squares when cool.




Thea three days after being born at her lowest weight of 525g. I love this 
picture. It's the first time I saw her with her eyes open and the pen speaks 
volumes about her tenacious personality.

Steel cut oats make your life easier.

I am hopeless when it comes to routine. Beyond getting out of bed each morning, for the rest of the day, nothing is ever the same. I could blame this on Thea and the fact that she wakes at different times every morning and I usually always wait until she calls out to me before I get up, to try and capitalise on sleep. I could accuse my job for my irregular attitude to the day, always working for different clients on a range of ever changing culinary tasks. Or I could just take accountability for the fact that I get easily bored and have always stated that I never wanted a nine to five lifestyle. That said though, as a mum, I can now see the  advantage of familiar daily events. And that has become ever clearer since returning from a holiday to Bali.IMG_2303

Don’t get me wrong. The holiday was great. Uninterrupted time spend with the contemporary builder and Thea (who started to crawl and stand up while we were away) was beautiful. But it was also exhausting. Thea just hates sleeping. Or rather, she has never really had much of a routine to be able to recognize that she is supposed to nap. I vowed to myself that on our return, Thea and I would commence a regular daytime pattern, involving set activities, punctuated by sleep. And what better set activities that breakfast, lunch and dinner, just like on our family holiday.

DSC_0232 DSC_0237 DSC_0242

Now Thea’s breakfast, lunch and dinner at this stage of her life, eight months give or take, is pretty easy. Pureed meat and veggies. Yes, even for breakfast. I have tried banana and yoghurt and eggs for brekkie, as is more the norm, but she won’t have any of it! Chicken is her preferred start to he day. So while she is taken care of in the form of pre prepared frozen cubes of sustenance, my first meal of the day can take a bit longer (I like to have something more nutritious and sustaining than toast or commercial cereal) and when its preparation is hindered by the demands of a small person, I can end up eating at midday. Again, all routine out the window. That is until I discovered steel cut oats. A revelation. I can soak a cup on a Sunday night and I’m set for the week. Just add some milk, blueberries (Thea does like to share these), coconut oil and panela, reheat and my morning meal is ready. However, I do have to wait until after Thea’s first nap before we can go out and get coffee, but one step at a time. At least we are making progress. To be continued…DSC_0253




Steel cut oats

In the evening, simply combine one part oats to four parts water in a pot. Bring to the boil and then turn off heat. Cover pot and leave to stand overnight.

In the morning, just take the amour that you want from the pot of soaked oats, add more water or milk, fruit, sugar, nuts, whatever you fancy, and reheat.

Refrigerate the remaining soaked oats and repeat the process every morning. Easy!