Oatmeal. Porridge. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the better foods to have for breakfast in lieu of eggs or cereal. Eating porridge for breakfast provides you with enough energy for the first half of the day, helping you to avoid those mid-morning snacks. It stabilises blood sugar levels and by eating porridge on a regular basis, it can help reduce the risk of Type 2 (Adult onset) diabetes.
Soluble fibre which is found in fruit, vegetables, peas, beans and of course, oats, helps reduce blood cholesterol. It’s a complex process but, put simply, think of rolled oats as tiny sponges in your body that soak up cholesterol. A diet rich in fibre has been implicated in preventing heart disease. Many studies have found that those people who eat a lot of fibre rich foods are less likely to suffer from heart disease that those who eat very little.
So on these chilly Autumn/Winter mornings, there’s nothing better than a warming bowl of porridge. And when I say porridge, I mean PROPER porridge, not that measly stuff you get in paper packets, pour into your bowl and pour boiling water over. I’m talking cook-your-own-on-the-stove porridge. Yeah, it may take a bit longer to prepare, but it’s so well worth it. However, I don’t consider having to cook something for less than 10 minutes laboring over a hot stove.
You can have it plain or make it with any additions to suit your taste. My preference is adding nuts and dried fruit, a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. You can even prep it the night before and that will save you a bit of time in the morning when you’re in a hurry.
The measurements on the additions (fruit, nuts, cinnamon, etc.) are approximate and you can use all or some of what I have listed and however much of them you want, although I wouldn’t use more than a tablespoon of any one of them. I use a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part oats and that seems to work out just right, even with the additional ingredients. I also add about a teaspoon each of oat bran and wheat bran, but that is up to you if you wish to use those also.
Use any combination of the following; up to a tablespoon of each, depending on taste.
Dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, sultanas, figs, dates, apricots (chop the larger fruits)
Use the measurements listed or very close to them for the remaining items.
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. butter (the fat helps slow the digestion of the carbs in the oats; the GOOD carbs)
1 C water
1/2 C rolled oats
1 tsp oat bran (optional)
1 tsp wheat bran (optional)
Start by putting all the nuts, fruits, spices and butter into a small pan and add the water. Cover and bring to the boil.
I know that some people add the oats to the water first and then bring it to the boil. I prefer doing it this way to allow the fruit to plump up a bit in the water without the hinderance of the oats.
While waiting for the water to boil, add the oat bran and wheat bran (if using) to a 1/2 cup measuring cup and top up with the oats. If not using the brans, then just measure out 1/2 cup of oats.
When the water boils, add the oats, give it a good stir, turn down the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, stir and let sit about 1 minute, covered. Pour into your bowl and add milk and sweetener to taste.
Feel free to add any other ingredients you may like. I’ve added banana before, but it does tend to disintegrate. You get the flavor of the banana, just not the texture. Try adding chopped apples, too.
What do you like in YOUR porridge?