August Letter from The Ferns Vegetarian B & B chatting about ‘Oatly’ organic drink, windfall apples and Newport Nocturne

Oatly Organic Oat Drink



I was asked to review some ‘Oatly’ products recently.  All of them come from Sweden, which immediately makes you things of fresh air and healthy living! The company are based at Malmö and  they use their own Swedish oats. They are particularly nice because many of the nasty pesticides that are used on growing oats in the rest of Europe, are forbidden in Sweden.

Two of the most interesting things about ‘Oatly’ that attracted me to them are firstly that  the product bypasses the meat industry with their huge waste of   grains. (Most oats are grown to feed beef cows not humans). In addition ‘Oatly’ tell me that there  are lots of ‘betaglucans’ in ‘Oatly’ and they are immense at activating the immune system  and lowering   blood cholesterol. I think I’ve always been aware that oats are good for you anyway.

The two people who did the testing

close up

Hubbie taste testing ‘Oatly’

were myself and my hubbie.(see right)

I have often used soya milk in the past and so I wanted to ‘taste test’ the ‘Oatly’. I have never been entirely happy with drinking  cows milk or soya milk for that matter, since both have ecological and sustainability issues.

oatly 1







So we  started by simply comparing the flavours : milk, Alpro soya milk and Oatly organic. The photo below shows: milk to the left, ‘Oatly’ in the centre and Alpro to the right.

Before we go any further, I have a confession to make. I failed to read the little message on the top of the ‘Oatly’ carton, which reads ” Shake me” and for the photo above, the ‘Oatly’ looks a little pale, because I hadn’t shaken it.. Maybe  the ‘Oatly’  boffins  could make the  ‘Shake me’ sign a bit bigger or perhaps have it on the front of the carton.  Still – this is why they want people like me to do reviews of products, so that things can improve.

The taste test indicated that milk tasted and looked like milk.  The Alpro looked quite similar to the ‘Oatly’. The ‘Oatly’ and the Alpro  had a rather bland taste, but the ‘Oatly’ had a very subtle oat flavour

In  a breakfast cereal scenario – see ‘Cheerios’ below – with our homegrown autumn raspberries and  ‘Oatly’, you would not know that you were not drinking cows milk. It tasted very nice. I would buy it again as an alternative to what we normally have  (hubbie  cows milk, Linda soya milk)

cereal and oatly

Afterwards, I did an experiment in respect of one of my vegan  choices for breakfast. I always have Staffordshire oatcakes on the menu. Normally I would do a vegan cheese for the filling  for my vegan guests, but this time I experimented with a stewed mushroom filling using ‘Oatly’ for the sauce and it worked really well!

with Staffordshire oatlcakes

In the garden with my vegan mushroom oatcakes and a glass of ‘Oatly’ to wash it down!

I havent  included the  recipe here because I think most people know how to do  stewed mushrooms.

But briefly …

For four oatcakes

or try puting on toast

(for 2 people)


  • I chopped and fried some mushrooms -perhaps 6-8 ozs.
  • Then I added some ‘Oatly’ (perhaps 1/4 pint) and let simmer for  about 5 minutes.
  • I added a dessertspoon full of cornflour to a small amount of milk  in a cup. Creamed it in, and then
  •  I  added it to the gently simmering mushroom until the sauce thickened.
  • On the top I added wild rocket from the garden and on the side some of our tomatoes. It tasted brilliant!

N.B. – ‘Oatly’ provided me with vouchers for the purposes of this review, all opinions expressed are my own though. I shall be  looking at their Chocolate Oatly  (loving it already!) drink in my  September  letter and a Creamy Oatly in October.

What to do with windfall apples?

We normally get windfalls at this time of the year in the garden. Even though I have a pheromone trap  to protect our James Grieve apple tree, we still get a lot of holey apples and they are always the first to fall.  What I do with them is to quickly peel, core and slice, They are so small that I  only peel them very roughly,  then pour a little boiling water over them and cook vigorously for about 1 minute (this stops the enzymes working on them apparently. Put them under a cold tap for about  30 secs, drain and then either freeze or serve. I don’t put any sugar on these, because, being  a desert apple  – although these windfalls are not quite ripe – they are  sweet enough to eat without sugar.


Preparing and boiling for a minute


Quickly cooling under cold water tap

I  noticed my friend at ‘Garden Tea Cakes and Me’ has blogged about storing apples. (Have a look here at her blog and get jenned up on storing apples. Her blog is always so very interesting with lots of unusual cake ideas).

The Newport Nocturne

Well only 10 days to go to the Newport Nocturne our biennial nighttime cycle race. Two years ago  we had our first Ladies Race.,  and this will be repeated again this year.  The race  attracts thousands of people to Newport, Shropshire.Will be good fun – especially at the end when the winner gets his weight in beer.

The winner also  wins his weight in beer

The winner on the beer scales in 2012!

And finally, we now have a resident hedgehog in the garden, thanks to our efforts firstly to be pretty much organic ( no  pesticides which kill the hedgehogs who each the dead slugs and snails) and also I have put two holes in the bottom of the garden fence  (each about  inches square) so that the hedgerows can move between gardens. See Hedgehog Street website which tells you some ideas to make your back garden more friendly for hedgehogs.

Here he is. You can’t see his face  – we didn’t want to disturb him too much!

hedgehog in the garden - sorry not a very good photo. We didnt want to disturb him too much!Of course he could be a lady hedgehog!

Best wishes to all my readers. Next time I will tell you about our resident Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar! He’s big!