As the weather finally makes its peace with winter (and it is especially cold and rainy here at the moment!), I find myself moving away from my summer/autumn staple of muesli or overnight oats, and onto my favourite snuggly breakfast, porridge!! (Or as North American readers know it, oatmeal). I love the warmth and creaminess of porridge for breakfast – an ad a few years ago for a brand of oats described it like a warm hug, and I agree!!
There are many different ways of making this wonderful breakfast a reality. For me, I find that instant oats are a bit too sweet and not as filling for me to use, although that is how I started my love of porridge as a teenager. So, I make my porridge every morning, and really, it’s not as hard as it sounds, 15-20 minutes from go to whoa, the majority of that time not spent anywhere near the stove! I love stewed fruit on my porridge in the morning, so I make a large batch each weekend of whatever is in season or I’m enjoying (pears, apples, rhubarb, berries, prunes are an unfortunate but required addition of late!) and keep in the fridge.
I have taken lots of photos of the process to aid my explanations 🙂 I use a wooden spoon to stir, as I don’t like to scratch my nice saucepans!
This is mainly to explain how I do it and what I like – you can of course substitute any of the ingredients for your personal preference, experiment, it’s fun!
1/2 cup Rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/2 cup full cream milk
1/2 cup water
1/3-1/2 cup stewed fruit – I put enough to cover the bottom of the bowl, so it’s not a scientific measurement!
Vanilla yogurt – I used to add milk, but am preferring the creamier yogurt addition – again, add whatever you want!
1. Place oats, milk and water in a saucepan. Feel free to add a bit more liquid if you like it a bit more liquid, I often add a few splashes extra of milk. This can of course work with no milk and only water, but I like the creaminess of milk.
2. Put saucepan onto a pretty low setting on the stove – you don’t want it to be simmering or bubbling, just gradually warming up and soaking, so you might need to experiment with your hotplates to work out which one works best at what temperature.
3. Wander off and do whatever you need to do – I do steps 1 and 2, then step into the shower and get dressed, and return approx 10-15 mins later depending on how slow I am, which is why you don’t want it bubbling or else it will burn. But it is perfectly safe to leave, it will be fine! The longer you leave it, the more liquid is absorbed, so it will cook quicker, but be less liquidy in the end product, so, again, work out what you prefer, and what you have time for – you don’t need to leave it at all, but it will take longer to cook, and I find that the oats aren’t really soft enough, so it can be kind of chewy if you don’t leave it warming for at least 5-10 mins.
4. When you’re ready, turn hot plate to high, and keep on high until porridge is bubbling – I like to have the bubbles come from the outside and meet in the middle, this usually takes around 1-2 mins.
5. Stir, then turn back down to low (probably one notch lower than your original setting at step 2). Stir regularly.
6. Porridge may bubble up, just stir it down again.
7. Use the time while waiting for your porridge to finish cooking to get everything else ready for breakfast – I warm up my stewed fruit and get my coffee sorted. I also stir the porridge regularly, so I can see how it’s going.
8. Porridge is done when it’s at the consistency that you like – I like it creamy looking but without any obvious milk still hanging around.
9. Serve your porridge with whatever additions you like – I’ve been adding a bit of flax seed, a bit of All Bran, some cinnamon, and yogurt recently, but you can add nuts, cereal, sweet things like honey or brown sugar if you prefer – I find the sweetness of the stewed fruit enough for me nowadays!
So there you have it, my perfect porridge recipe! I also put the pan to soak after serving, just to ensure that it’s easy to wash at the end of the day (because I don’t do dishes in the morning!)
What do you like for winter breakfasts?