These are similar to the drop bannocks, but here oatmeal is used instead of porridge oats (rolled oats), and the proportions used are slightly different. This recipe results in what's basically an oatmeal pancake - a good alternative if you have to avoid gluten. They make a tasty breakfast served with a little butter, sugar and lemon juice, or whatever your preferred pancake accompaniments might be...
If you can't find any golden syrup, try using an equal amount of honey, or use two teaspoons of a darker sugar (light muscovado, demerera or whatever you prefer) instead of just one teaspoon of sugar. As with the other bannocks, these ones lend themselves well to spicing up a little with cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice or the more traditional caraway and dried fruit. You need to be organised for this one because the batter is best left overnight before cooking.
6oz (3/4 cup) oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt (or less, if you prefer)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp golden syrup
10 fl (1 1/4 cups) oz milk
Butter, sugar and lemon juice, or whatever you prefer
1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Stir in the milk and the golden syrup until well mixed. As you pour in the milk, say:
Progeny and prosperity of family
Mystery of Michael, protection of Trinity2
3. Leave the batter in the fridge overnight and then beat in the egg when you're ready to use it. The oatmeal will absorb a lot of the milk, so if the batter looks a little thick, add a little more milk until it look more workable.
4. Spoon about a tablespoon or so of the batter onto a hot, lightly greased frying pan. Use the tablespoon to smooth the batter out into a thin round and fry over a medium-low heat, then toss (if you're feeling brave) or turn to cook the other side. As you spoon out each one, you can bless it for whoever it's intended, or the group/family in general:
Progeny and prosperity to ________ (whoever it’s for – person or family name)
Mystery of Michael, shielding of the Lord3
5. Serve immediately with butter, sugar and lemon juice, or your preferred accompaniment. If you have to stack them before serving, they can be heated up again in the microwave or kept warm in the oven.
At Fastern's Eve (the eve before Lent began) sauty bannocks were made with great festivity, it being the last time that foods like eggs were supposed to be eaten before Lent began. One person might pour the bannocks into the pan, while another would turn or toss them, and another person would hold the plate onto which they were turned, adding to the fun of the occasion.
The last bannock might be the dreaming-bannock, and here the bannock was supposed to be made in silence, giving the opportunity for everyone else who was watching to try and make the cook say something. While specifically associated with Fastern's Eve, the idea of the dreaming-bannock could be adapted to other occasions if it was felt appropriate - perhaps incorporating the idea of cooking the Bealltainn bannock that would be used for divining the Bealltainn carline from the group in ritual silence, for example, or for other divinatory purposes.
The batter for the dreaming-bannock was supposed to be somewhat thicker than usual, perhaps with a little soot added, and charms for divination added as well. The bannock would then be broken into pieces, each piece containing a charm that represented the profession or kind of person the recipient of the charm might marry, which were then supposed to be put into the pocket of the housewife's apron. Everyone present would be invited to come and pick a piece out to see what their fortune might be for the coming year, or the housewife was blindfolded and would choose the pieces herself and call out "Wha owns this!" until everyone had claimed their charm.
Otherwise, each person present might cook their own bannock, and instead of eating it they would keep it - unbroken - and take it to bed with them and place under their pillow so that they might dream of their future spouse.4
1 Recipe adapted from here.
2 See Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica, 1992, p590-591. Michael and the Trinity can be substituted for names you feel are more appropriate if you wish.
4 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume 2, 1959, p43-44.