More than just oats in the pot.

I know rolled oats/oatmeal/porridge/whatever you want to call it is not everyone’s idea of a yummy breakfast but around here they are pretty much staple morning fare. I guess because I was not made to eat it as a child (my Mum hates it because she was) I don’t mind it and certainly with a bit of tweaking it can be really tasty. I never knew this before, my husband always made it, and well, it was porridge, boring oats cooked in water and needing a ton of brown sugar to make it palatable. When he wasn’t home we had cereal from a box because it was easier and frankly, nicer. Then I saw Alton Brown on his show Good Eats saying that if you weren’t eating oats every day you were probably dying. I think that is probably a bit melodramatic but who am I to argue, I am certainly no food scientist. Anyway now I make it almost daily and have been having fun seeing how far I can take it from your run-of-the-mill gruel to something I want to eat.

The current favourite with the kids is as follows:

To serve 2 (or 1 adult and 2 children)
1 cup rolled oats
small pinch of salt (trust me it makes a big difference)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
about ¼ cup of sultanas or raisins
1¼ cups milk
1¼ cups cold water

combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer over a low to medium heat stirring often until thick and creamy, the slower you cook it the smoother and creamier it will be and the plumper and juicier the sultanas, approx 5 – 10 mins depending on how fine your oats are. If it has been cooked a bit long and has become too thick simply stir in a little more milk until you achieve the consistency you desire, or make a porridge float by allowing it to sit in your bowl for a minute before adding milk, the porridge will float like an island in the bowl (fun for older kids). Garnish with a sprinkle more cinnamon or if you are feeling extra decadent, a swirl of cream.
DSC01801

This is still kinda boring to me though the addition of cinnamon and sultanas means I don’t need to add any sugar which is a bonus.

My current favourite however goes like this:

To serve 2 (or 1 adult and 2 children)
1 cup rolled oats
small pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup of sultanas or raisins or any other dried fruit that you like (I prefer mango, strawberries and papaya but apricots, cranberries, apples, figs etc will work just as well).
1¾ cups cold water
1¼ cups milk
small handful of chopped nuts and seeds(I like brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and sesame seeds roasted but use raw if you prefer and any mix you like, if using roasted, salted nuts omit the salt in the beginning).

This step is not necessary but makes for a delicious change and adds a bit more texture… combine the first 4 ingredients in a clean, dry pot and stir continuously over a medium heat until the oats and coconut are golden brown (about 2-3 mins – do NOT leave it as it can burn in seconds if you stop stirring) and the cinnamon is fragrant.
Carefully add the water first (this will boil and puff up the oats almost instantly) then add the milk and dried fruit. Cook as in previous recipe though it will take less time, about 5 mins. As before add extra milk if needed and garnish with the nuts and seeds. Yummy!

Oh and here is a tip to avoid the horrible task of scouring out the porridge pot… when the porridge is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 2 mins before serving. Dish it into your bowls and then rinse the pot immediately, no scrubbing needed, it will come clean easily.

Next time I make my toasted porridge I will post a pic but as we are all full of a head cold here today, grumpy children meant I didn’t have the extra time to toast the oats first – I had to keep them from beating up on each other instead.

Do you have any other flavour variation that is popular in your house? I would love to try them.

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2 thoughts on “More than just oats in the pot.

    • I have looked for agave syrup here and never found any, mind you the supermarkets in south Auckland are pretty rubbish. Maybe I should stop at a health food store next time I visit mum on the shore.

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