It is cold. It is damp. It is November. This means one thing; porridge season is most definitely upon us. Time to start the day with a belly-warming bowl of delicious goo. Cereal, please step aside.
I think I’m currently in the midst of a mild addiction to porridge. It’s a fantastic blank canvas for a near-infinite list of toppings, so I’m not going to get bored of it any time soon. Now, I know people can be very specific about their porridge (I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to try it Scottish-style with salt and a side of kippers), but here’s my recipe for how I like it.
As well as being yummy and comforting, it’s also a whole league better for you that most cereals and ‘healthy’ granolas on the market today. That is until you stir in some Nutella, but hey, let’s live a little! Oats are jam packed full of all the good stuff, fibre and vitamins, and will hold off those mid-morning tummy rumbles for a lot longer that Mr Kellogg can. And of course, they’re cheap as chips!
The key for perfectly smooth and creamy porridge is time – this is no rush job! However, instead of having to linger over the hob for the entire time, I always multitask between stirring, whether it’s brewing a cup of tea or making a packed lunch. Porridge can be trusted quite adequately to blob away on the hob unattended without any major disasters (unless you have done something really wrong of course!).
- Porridge oats – around 40 g, depending on appetite. It kind of goes without saying, but try to buy specific porridge oats. Jumbo oats are great in a flapjack, but you should steer clear unless you’re a fan of lumps as they don’t break down into the same gorgeous creamy texture.
- Water – about 150 ml. This was somewhat controversial among my flatmates, but it means your porridge won’t be cloyingly rich or stiffen up as soon as it is off the hob.
- Milk – about 100 ml. Just to add that hint of creaminess
- Put your oats in a pan, then add the liquid. I’ve given up measuring and instead tend to do it by eye, adding enough water to just cover the oats, then topping up with a generous splash of milk to hide them completely
- Turn the hob on to a medium-low ish heat. This will give the oats enough time to gently warm up and slowly absorb the liquid, rather than going rubbery. Give the pan a stir and occupy yourself with something for 5 minutes.
- Stir again. The oats should be starting to swell up now.
- After another 5 minutes or so, most of the liquid should have been absorbed and the porridge should have progressed to the ‘gentle volcanic’ stage, with little bubbles that occasionally rise and gently pop.
- Keep stirring the porridge until it is your desired consistency, then pour it into a bowl, dollop on your favourite topping and tuck in. Importantly, put the pan in the sink and fill with warm water BEFORE you eat it, just to save you from chiseling off glued on oats later!
Some topping ideas:
- Jam (apricot is currently at the top of my leaderboard)
- Brown sugar
- Golden syrup
- Fresh berries and maple syrup
- Stewed apple and cinnamon
- Nutella (aka heaven)
- Lemon curd