I was recently offered the chance to try some Oatly products. Oatly is a Swedish company that make oat-based alternatives to dairy products such as milk and cream. They also make products such as ice cream and a creme fraiche alternative, which aren't currently available in the UK, but I hope they will bring them over here because they sound amazing! Oatly products are suitable for vegans and are a great source of the soluble fibre beta glucan which lowers cholesterol, helps to keep the heart healthy and controls blood sugar levels. Swedish oats are used to make the products, which grow strong and tall in the Nordic climate, without the use of pesticides.
The products that I tried were Oatly Original Oat Drink, Oatly Organic Oat Drink and Oatly Organic Oat Alternative to Cream. The products can be found in most good supermarkets and health food shops. I did want to try the Chocolate Oat Drink, but sadly I couldn't get hold of any.
I only really use milk alternatives in porridge, baking or cooking as the texture of any milk grosses me out (it was really easy for me to become vegan since I've never really drank dairy milk anyway)! I've never tried any oat based milks before (I normally use soya, rice or almond) so first of all I tried the oat drinks in my usual porridge with raisins and cinnamon. I couldn't really taste any difference between the original and the organic oat drinks, but the organic one is not fortified with any vitamins or minerals. They both worked well in porridge, however the texture was a little 'paste-like' due to the high water content of the product. My porridge still tasted lovely and creamy though, and I probably did overcook it a little to be fair (I can never get it right!).
I also used the oat drinks to make some Yorkshire puddings. Unfortunately they didn't turn out as well as they usually do when I make them with soya milk. I'm not sure why but the Yorkshires stuck to the tin and didn't rise as much as they normally do. The two that could be salvaged still tasted quite nice though.
Finally I made some chocolate brownies using the oat drink. They turned out well and were really tasty. I made a ganache topping by melting equal parts of the oat cream and some dark chocolate in a double boiler then leaving it to set in the fridge. Once it had thickened considerably I spread it on top of the cooled brownies then placed back in the fridge. I cut them into squares and served them warm with vegan ice cream and they went down a treat with my family. The ganache was absolutely divine! I think it would work well as a filling in a rich chocolate cake, but I think if I were to make it again as a topping I would use a little more chocolate and a little less cream to make it firmer. It would also be great on its own as a mousse.
I also used the oat cream in a savoury recipe. One of my favourite meals to make at the moment is pasta with mushrooms, peppers, courgettes and ready-made pesto as it is so quick and easy to make. I mixed a little of the cream with the pesto, veg and pasta before serving and it worked really well. The dish tasted lovely and creamy and I will definitely be making it again.
Overall I thought the Oatly products I tried were really good and I will purchase them in future. I think the oat drinks work best in cooking and baking, and although I didn't try them like that, I feel they would be good used in tea and coffee and on cereal. The oat cream is a great all round product to use in both sweet and savoury dishes, and again, although it didn't try it this way, it would be fab to pour over desserts and fresh fruit.