JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

HotM: brunch - porridge

In this house, as you see, the most enthusiasm is reserved for a full English breakfast (although only the children eat sausages). We don't really do brunch, if that means a collision between breakfast and lunch - no matter how late we eat breakfast, they all always want some lunch. On the other hand, we do often have a leisurely weekend breakfast. No-one eats muffins here - and, anyway, over the years they've been amongst my worst culinary disasters.

Lucius and I often eat kippers, and another favourite is porridge. I've made this in a variety of ways over the years, and this is the nicest, although not instant. You need medium and/or coarse oatmeal, not the rolled oats that are easy to buy in a supermarket, nor pinhead oats, which are too coarse to cook in real time (overnight in an Aga is the usual method for pinhead oats, but I have never been a fan, they often taste overdone, reminiscent of school food). I have to go to the health food shop for oatmeal, which is about £1 for 500g.

The porridge you make with rolled oats is fine, it's just that this is better. Perfect for weekends, perfect for brunch, perhaps with a little blueberry compote for extra heart health.


for each person:

50g medium oatmeal (or a mixture of medium and coarse)
300ml water

Use a sturdy pan with a thick bottom. You can start by toasting the oatmeal gently for two or three minutes, I'm not sure if it really makes a difference, and it's by no means essential.

Add the water to the meal, heat until it comes to the boil, then turn right down to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, giving it an occasional stir. I use a wooden spoon, which is what my grandmother in Scotland used, and I have never met a Scot who uses a spirtle, I think they are just for tourists.

I don't put salt in my porridge, it can be added to the bowl - my Scots grandfather, a farmer who grew oats in Fife, used to eat his porridge with salt and not much else. I use skimmed milk and a dollop of lovely brown muscovado sugar.

If there's any left over, you can fry it up like polenta, and eat it with fruit compote. That's what I had for breakfast this morning - reheated slices of porridge and a little stewed apple. My grandmother used to give her leftover porridge to the dogs - in fact, I rather think she made extra specially.

What do YOU do for a heart-healthy breakfast or brunch? The Heart of the Matter website is a resource I often consult, so I'd love it if you'd take part this month.

The usual rules: If you’ve participated before, you already know the basics. If you haven’t, check here, here and here for ideas on what “heart-healthy” means, and we hope that you’ll join us! Again, we ask that this please be a single event entry (please don’t use your post for other events – that way we can keep things centred on healthy heart awareness). Just send your entry to joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk (could you use the title HotM, so they don't get lost) by midnight Sunday 27 April , linking to my site, Joanna's Food (and to the HotM blog if you’d like) and I’ll post the round-up on the Monday or Tuesday on both sites.

Related posts

Kippers - without stinking out the house
Smoked haddock
More things for breakfast
Kedgeree (my very first blog post)
Frying pan bread - a quick fix for the disorganised
Baked pears with pinenuts

HotM: brunch


Sophie said...

Porridge is my healthy breakfast of choice too. I tend to make it in the microwave which works well 9 out of 10 times but every so often inexplicably erupts into a horrible sticky mess.

I'm literally now just simmering a big batch of rhubarb with honey and orange to go with my porridge this week. Somehow tart rhubarb makes your porridge seem extra creamy!

Marie said...

Hi Joanna, I am Scottish and I use a spurtle. If I can't lay my hands on it I will use a wooden spoon the wrong way round,ie I stir with the handle. I hate cleaning porridge out of the bowl of the spoon. I eat porridge because it is healthy not because I enjoy it. I don't have a sweet tooth so wouldn't dream of putting fruit or sugar anywhere near my porridge. In an effort to make the porridge more interesting I had a week of trying different flavourings other than my usual salt and pepper. Marmite, chilli flakes, herbs all got tried but the one which drew the most comments was the chilli version. I softened an onion in the microwave, added a bit of madras curry paste then the oats and water and cooked as normal. I enjoyed it!

Joanna said...

Sophie, I'm interested in how you make porridge in the micro - presumably you have to use rolled oats?

Marie - yes, you're quite right, the spirtle doesn't have a bowl that needs cleaning, but I find cold porridge just peels off. I'm really sorry to hear you don't like porridge, but like the sound of some of your experiments - of course, oats are well known for taking strong flavours, you've only got to think of the pepperiness of haggis. You're a woman after my own heart, curry for breakfast ;)


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I try to have oatmeal at least 3 times a week and I love it - salt and blueberries for me.

David Hall said...

Joanna, such a fantastic idea reheating the left over porridge in slices like polenta, I NEVER thought of that!? And we eat it most days, just like you with water and a drizzle of honey and sultanas, and always have leftovers. Like rice and pasta, I still can't judge the correct amount!