By Elizabeth AtiaMay 7th 2014
Elizabeth Atia

I am constantly on the lookout for recipe inspiration, especially Shetland recipes and the stories behind them. These are the sorts of things I want to share with Taste of Shetland readers. These are the true Tastes of Shetland: real people, real recipes, real stories.

So, you can imagine my delight when I saw a photograph of half a recipe on the Shetland Photo A Day Challenge Facebook group, posted there by my neighbour Charmaine Inkster! I was virtually knocking on her door right away! I wanted to see the rest of the recipe, and better yet, I wanted to try these best oatcakes ever for myself!

This morning Charmaine gladly obliged my request, and I joined her in her kitchen as she made her granny's oatcakes.

Charmaine was born and raised here in Shetland and her granny was Doris Inkster from Scalloway. Doris was an avid baker and she raised a family of seven children on wholesome home cooked food. At one time she had four children under the age of four! Even after her children grew up and left home she'd still make large family lunches as she knew someone would always turn up for a bite to eat.

Charmaine fondly recalls her granny's oatcakes. Most times she went visiting as a child and even as an adult she'd ask her granny if she had made any oatcakes for her. When Charmaine left Shetland in 1998 she asked her granny for the recipe and shortly before her grandmother died seven years ago she gave Charmaine a handwritten copy of it.

Granny Inkster's oatcakes are now made by Charmaine for her own two children (with a third on the way) now that she's living back in Shetland. She returned three years ago to raise her children closer to her family and now Charmaine has kindly given me the recipe to share with you all.

This recipe makes a big batch, Charmaine says, so it needs to be cooked in two lots. Although her grandmother used to cut them into squares Charmaine prefers to use shaped cookie cutters, as these appeal to her children, (Carah likes the flower shaped cutter). When it comes to mixing, hand mixing is always the best. The children like to get involved in this as well.

These oatcakes are delicious on their own or served with butter and cheese. They are absolutely wonderful oatcakes; I tried them myself this morning warm out of the oven. They are crisp and crumbly but sturdy enough to withstand a topping. They are also incredibly moreish - I don't think a batch would last very long in my house!

Granny Inkster's Oatcakes

Course: Main
Servings: 20 oatcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes


  • Medium oatmeal - 8 oz
  • White self raising flour - 4 oz
  • Wholemeal self raising flour - 4 oz
  • White sugar - 2 oz
  • Margarine - 6 oz
  • Egg - 1 large


  1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Then rub in the margarine or melt it and stir it in (notice not to do this if it's hot).
  3. Beat the egg and stir that in.
  4. Divide mixture in two and roll out on a board or table which has been sprinkled with oatmeal.
  5. Cut into ten pieces each and lift carefully with fish slice on to the baking trays.
  6. Have your oven preheated to 350 F/180 C and if it's a fan oven 170 C
  7. Cook for approximately 25-30 minutes

Granny's notes: If they are not crisp enough the first time just cook a bit longer when you make them again.

Charmaine's notes: Scottish porridge oats work well in this instead of medium oatmeal.

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