Flapjacks and chasing the big fella round the mountains.

FlapjacksIn what can only be a vain effort to stave off the inevitable decrepitude that is staring me in my middle-aged face, I do my best to stay reasonably fit. I love to get out on my bike and lose the pounds, while searching for my long-lost youth, up in the wild Wicklow Mountains. One of my cycling partners is Rodrigo, a Portuguese photographer and videographer. We have kept at the cycling through the winter and are in reasonable shape for the various sportives over the summer cycling season.

My problem is that Rodrigo’s reasonable shape and mine are fifteen years apart. The other issue is one of size. I am a small fella akin to a leprechaun while he is a pretty powerful, big man. In cycling terms, this translates into my having the best of it when climbing the hills. He has the best of it on the flat or downhill. 

Rodrigo, heading into the distance as we train in the Wicklow Mountains.

Rodrigo, heading into the distance as we train in the Wicklow Mountains.

This means that I spend most of my time panting and gasping as I try to catch the Big Fella while out on our training cycles. The culinary high point of our slogs in the mountains comes when  we pause for fuel. The Big Fella will often produce a couple of his home-made flapjacks. Perfect endurance food and very tasty. The lovely blend of honey, oats and fruit throws energy into the depleted system and makes for a very pleasant chew.

All too soon, we are back on the bikes and I am trying to not focus on my burning thigh muscles as once again, I grind out the kilometres watching the Big Fella become smaller in the distance. To think I do this for fun. But, you aren’t here to listen to me moan. You want the low down on the tastiest cycling fuel around.

A pathetic attempt at artistic photography. How did I not notice the bowl out of position?

A pathetic attempt at artistic photography. How did I not notice the bowl out of position?

Rodrigo’s Flapjack Recipe

  • 480g Porridge Oats (half jumbo, half regular)
  • 240g Real Butter
  • 200g Brown Sugar
  • 150g Golden Syrup
  • 60g Honey
  • Add raisins or fruit to your taste.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the syrup and honey and mix.

Golden syrup makes for a lovely pouring shot. Look at the layers of goo!

Golden syrup makes for a lovely pouring shot. Look at the layers of goo!

Put the oats in a big bowl.

Any excuse for a pouring shot. Oats get the treatment this time.

Any excuse for a pouring shot. Oats get the treatment this time.

Chop the dried fruit quite small.

I used white raisins, raisins and cranberries. Lovely, if you will pardon me ringing my own bell.

I used white raisins, raisins and cranberries. Lovely, if you will pardon me ringing my own bell.

Add the honey / golden syrup / butter mixture to the oats, the sugar and the fruit, if using and mix it all so that it is consistent.

It is very difficult to refrain from eating it raw.

It is very difficult to refrain from eating it raw.

Put it on pre buttered, lined tray and pat it down.

Flapjack pouring shot. The aroma of melted butter and sugars is wonderful

Flapjack pouring shot. The aroma of melted butter and sugars is wonderful

 Then put it in a pre heated (180º C) oven for 30 minutes.

It should look like this when it comes out. Avoid temptation and let it cool completely.

It should look like this when it comes out. Avoid temptation and let it cool completely.

Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.

The cycling helmet and paraphenalia is proof that I do have a bike.

The cycling helmet and paraphernalia is proof that I do have a bike.

This year, we are again taking part in Cycle 4 Life in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital. It’s a great charity and a great cause. Cycling ace Dan Martin will be there to get us underway. Why not join us and you too can have the pleasure of a sore backside, burning legs, rasping throat, scorched lungs and mental fatigue. All while watching the Big Fella disappear over the horizon, fuelled by those beautiful Flapjack bars.

Cycle4Life takes place on June 7th at Dunboyne, County Meath.

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Latest comments
  • Good on you. The most exercise I get is staggering between the food fridge and the drinks fridge. Flapjacks look good.

    • They can be a great reason to not go cycling too. They are easy to make and eating them is a sport in it’s own right.

  • Beautiful flapjacks and great cycling fuel. It’s all about the pain, Conor – keep on spinning! I’ve been hurting on the mountains of Spain recently – definitely worth it.

    • Thanks Nick,
      Making my way back after a bout of pneumonia. It’s amazing how fast the fitness goes if you are lying in bed for a week. Lots more mountain pain ahead…

  • They look delicious, except we call them Oat Crunchies in South Africa. Like the cranberries and I suppose you can add a few nuts and seeds as well?

    Regards,

    Willie

    • Hi Willie,
      I seem to be spreading all sorts of confusion with this one. Flapjacks are pancakes in most of the world outside Ireland (or so it seems). I don’t care what you call them, they are really tasty. Nuts would be a great addition too.
      Best,
      C

  • I was very confused about these “flapjacks”, as that’s a name for pancakes over here. We call these granola bars 🙂 Since these are baked, are they the crunchy kind?

    • Hi Amber,
      Sorry for the flapjack confusion. These come in somewhere between soft and crunchy. The ones from the edge of the dish are crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle. The middle ones, just chewy. They are pretty delicious.

  • I think that your artistic photo was lovely (even with the uneven bowl).
    And now I know what they call flapjacks in Ireland. Do they have pancakes in your part of the world?

    • We certainly do. Pancakes if you are cooking them yourself. Crepes if you are paying for them in a restaurant.

  • Bring some extra, I’m not heading to Clare this weekend !

  • These look lovely. I suppose you could make them all crunchy around the edges if pulled apart and left in the oven just a little longer. I might try that. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Great thought Anne. The problem is in cutting them before they are cold. They do fall apart. Still, the crumb bits are just as nice.

  • I really love oats. Here flap jacks are pancakes. They’re synonymous. These look like great energy bars. We also are big bikers. I love it. Fitness is a huge part of my life. If I’m not in the kitchen or at work, I can be found on my bike or the tennis court or just at the gym. They go hand in hand. I plan to age gracefully if I must.

    • My plan is to try an wear the body out. The harder I try, the better it seems to work. Lovely irony.

  • Love this post Conor. I can’t think of anything I would rather do than cycle in Ireland. Thank goodness our previous Mayor was a cyclist. He put loads of money and energy into making this city cycle friendly and thanks to him we have stellar biking routes. But I still can’t think of anything I would rather do than cycle in Ireland. Nice recipe today!

    • You are lucky with your Mayor. We have gone through years of cycling getting lip service with awful cycle lanes that are badly thought out and in many cases dangerous. However, I live near the Wicklow Mountains and I can be up there in half an hour. It is like being born again.

  • Must try these flapjacks: have ‘my’ kind of ingredients in them! Highly amused by your cycling story, at the moment holding my eyes open with matchsticks after the 11th day [oops of the Giro!! Does it always rain and blow in Ireland or did our ‘mob’ just get a rough trot 🙂 !!

    • A rough trot Eha. Though, it is advisable to always pack the rain jacket or be prepared to get soaked. It comes with the territory, as they say.

      • Sorry to read above that you managed to muck your lungs up . . . . and that after the lurgy season supposedly was over . . . . take care , , , ,

  • I adore flapjacks. I’ve been eating them since I was a wee English lass in Hammersmith.. I still eat them over here in Australia but they tend to be called ‘muesli bars’ or ‘granola bars’. Your/Rodrigo’s recipe sounds delicious, I’d definitely attempt to eat it from the bowl! Serious respect for your cycling adventures Conor ‘the leprechaun’!!

    • Thanks Laura,
      We have great fun out there on the bikes. The different names around the world is an education for me.
      Best,
      C

  • The only thing I ever liked about doing bike rides was stopping at the rest stations and enjoying fun goodies like these! In America, flapjacks are pancakes, so I was wondering how in the world he was taking pancakes with him on rides! mystery solved.

    • Thanks Mimi,
      If I were taking pancakes on the cycle, I would probably wear them inside the cycling helmet. On second thoughts……

  • What happens if i eat the flapjacks but dont have a bike? Do i gain any health benefits?

    • You gain the guilt that eventually leads you to going into the spare room and getting back on that treadmill of yours…
      Win!

      • Given up on that. The wife’s joined a new gym – she’s pulling the guilt and shame thing on me. I will be attending in the near future…..

  • Does running to the refrigerator could as exercise? I do quite a bit of that! Great looking flapjack recipe and love your action shots and that copper pot.

    • Thanks BAM, that run does qualify as exercise BTW.

  • Being from the States, I too was confused by seeing flapjacks in the headline but granola bars in the lead photo. Yep, mystery solved. Our small town has a good many cyclists and we host a good many cycling events. A universal activity, for sure…

    • The cycling is universal. The food naming certainly is not. We have muesli, you have granola. We have flapjacks, you have pancakes. I wear a vest under my shirt in the winter. A trunk is not part of the car. Nor is it part of the automobile. God bless the differences. It keeps things interesting.

  • I love the simplicity and purity of the flapjacks. They sound – and appear – like deliciously perfect fuel. The charity event sounds like a most wonderful cause – and you get some exercise to boot (or bike!).

    • Thanks Shanna, it is a fantastic cause and a great fun way to help a little.

  • There’s nothing wrong with the photo! So what if the littler bowl is slightly out. Artistic licence. Hmm, okay. So I wouldn’t go that far. Anyway, the other bowls are such a nice shape. Perfect for showing off the ingredients.

    • Thanks Johnny, I use that licence a bit too often.

  • Haha! Look at those pour shots! The man’s starting to freeze the action! And the Lyle’s syrup, excellently done, Conor! Oh, man, do i know what you mean. EVERYONE I ride with is younger than me, often by decades. But, I like the look of those bars! (If you guys are raising money through your ride, shoot me the link at drbuoux@gmail.com). Ken

  • Although I’m not one for painful exercise, these would be a delicious and healthy morning snack for my girls. And for me too, as I sit and begin to enjoy the sunshine.

  • I have discovered your blog yesterday and I congratulate you for the quality of the recipes, the pictures and your so subtle and clever sense of humour. Sorry for my bad English… I made today your flapj., adding a bit of chocolate and grated zest of a lemon – not very celtic, I suppose, but very good. Thank you for giving us all this good time ! CLAIRE

    • Hi Claire,
      Thank you so much for the kind comments. I love to get them (good and bad). I love the idea of your additions citrus and chocolate would be lovely with the sweet flapjacks.
      Best,
      Conor

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