Susan serves up her flapjacks on a Nicholas Mosse medium heart plate in our Clover pattern paired with a small mug. Our new linen tea-towel lies underneath and a 19th Century antique spongeware jug stands beside it. The designs from Nicholas Mosse Pottery are often inspired by antique spongeware designs. 


This Irish spring will be packed with good times! First St. Patrick arrives with his flowing robes and shepherd’s crook to lure everyone outdoors to see the big parade and then Easter comes hopping along ten days later. Some serious festivals in the days ahead and that means lots of mingling, visiting, drowning the shamrock, hunting the eggs. And this very extraordinary Easter will see the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, a date dear to the Irish as it symbolises the beginning of the end of British rule. It gives us more to celebrate and a reason to gather together, to look back into the family past and think about local history.

We expect three families to arrive in for their spring visit. As I frantically check out the bed linens and dishwasher powder and tea cups, I am also thinking about what would be the best ‘staple’ to put up for these visitor, and how to pack in the good times with good treats. All our family are card carrying health fanatics (except me!) so whatever I make has to be ‘good’ for tiny children as well as the middle set. So I rooted out one of Nick’s Mother’s standard recipes, something she made all the time and something that was always in the biscuit tin. This recipe is for something called ‘flapjacks’. As an American, I knew nothing of flapjacks and found them intriguing; you could never buy a flapjack in a shop…they insisted on being homemade. They are quick and easy to make, but having said this I must confess I could never get her recipe to work! And I researched all over the place to find a recipe that would work for me and found nothing.

So, something Irish, something homemade, something healthy… it took another American friend to teach me how to make the most glorious flapjacks! Lo and behold, here follows the most scrumptious, health conscious, flapjack recipe ever.


Clifford’s Cookies
Preheat oven to 170° and grease a 10” square tin. I find silicone paper on the bottom is not a bad idea, but not obligatory. You could use a bigger or smaller tin but you will have thicker or thinner biscuits and you will need to watch your time!

Into a saucepan put:

8oz butter

4oz dark brown sugar

Heaped drippy tablespoon each of molasses (treacle if you have it) and golden syrup


Gather together

½ lb oatmeal…what you use here will dictate the outcome. If you use those big flat oats, the texture won’t be great.

¼ lb your favourite granola…here again, if your granola mix has been previously baked to death it will influence the outcome: more crumbly!

¼ lb self-raising flour, (a half teaspoon of baking powder sifted with flour will make an equivalent)

A good handful of nuts (brazils roughly chopped are nice…) hazels, almonds whatever. Mix them up!

Also a good handful of dried fruit, anything you love but not in too big pieces.


So, having stirred the dry bits together well, dump it all into the melted warm mix in the pot. Stir again and decant into baking tin. Spread evenly, corners are important here, and place in oven.


Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it all starts to get brown on top.


Like any of these flapjack biscuit things, when you remove from oven wait a little bit and then cut your pieces while still warm in the tray. Let cool and then you can lift out with a spatula. They should be raggedy at the edges.


For extra fun, a chocolate coating can be spread over these and sprinkles or tiny chocolate eggs stuck on top. (not quite as healthy)


Happy Spring, Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Easter!