When I was little, living in Scotland, my father used to make porridge with oatmeal, water and salt. I hated it – grey, tasteless, gloopy stuff, I thought. Forty years later The Husband (he wasn’t then ) took me to his place his France. He offered to make me porridge which obviously I declined. He persisted and as is the way of new romances when you are trying to please and not be the one who won’t try anything, I gave in. And loved it! Jumbo oats and milk, a little demerara sugar, it was a completely different dish (it could have been France, the weather, swimming in the lake and the fireflies at night – but I like to think it was the love with which it was made as well as its taste!). I have eaten it since every single morning – even in hot weather – for the last 20 years!
A week or so ago, a friend made me the above – it’s a SPURTLE and is used to stir the porridge when it’s cooking so I thought this week we could look at this excellent breakfast dish and see who else I could convert!
Porridge is made from oats which is one of the most natural and healthiest foods around. Naturally low in calories, they have many health benefits – lowering cholesterol, a number of necessary vitamins and because they have a high content of complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, they release energy slowly. A bowl of porridge for breakfast should provide you with all the energy you need until lunch time.
I prefer to use JUMBO OATS – they are really not much more expensive than ordinary and well worth it! Some people, soak them overnight but I like a little bit of bite – and anyway whilst its cooking I can make the coffee and toast to go with it! I put a handful of oats to a pan, add a cup of milk and put on a slow heat. (For a different taste, put the oats in the pan and dry roast them till slightly brown – the kitchen will smell amazing and the porridge will taste toasty).
The fun part is what you serve it with – demerara sugar for a bit of crunch; soft brown for a caramelly flavour. And do add a twist of salt – it makes all the difference. You could also choose honey or syrup to sweeten – and, of course, raisins or any other dried fruit or any poached or pureed fresh fruit. By trial, the other day I made a carrot cake porridge (trust me!). I had made a cake the day before and thought I would just try the different spices on it – a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg each and a few raisins. I even grated a little carrot over it! And it definitely kept me going all day!
And for those of you who would rather eat breakfast on the run try these –
The Best Oaty Biscuits
4oz Oats, 3oz golden caster sugar, 2oz self raising flour, 3oz unsalted butter
½ tsp baking powder, 2 egg yolks.
Cream all the ingredients together and work the dough by hand until smooth. Grease and flour 2 baking sheets and split the dough into 8 well spaced pieces on each. Bake at 180oC for 15 to 20 minutes until coloured. Use a palette knife to slide them onto a wire rack to cool.
PS Waste not want not : Whisk the egg whites with a dollop of crème fraiche and a couple of grinds of black pepper to make the best omelette you ever tasted!
Do you know that if you click “follow” in the right hand corner of this website, a copy of the week’s recipes will drop nicely into your inbox without even having to think!