Monday, May 15, 2006

..and the first thing she cooked was

I have a new kitchen. Slowly I am finding homes for life's little essentials. Fiddling around with spots for pots and pans (the middle, wide, pull out drawer of the ‘pantry’ seems to do the trick) and working out places for the spices. Amidst the chaos I’ve barely been able to see the granite bench top, so no real cooking yet. Saturday was spent ushering visitors through and drinking champagne, as you do. So yesterday it was down to business. Outside Melbourne was damp and grey. I needed a hearty breakfast to set me up for a hard day’s work and that was a job that only porridge could fill.

As a child I liked only super smooth oatmeal. It cooked in a moment and would be augmented with spoonfuls of brown sugar and little puddles of milk, cream if I was really lucky. These days my tastes have definitely changed. I like chunky, whole rolled oats, slowly cooked and definitely no moo! It's a creamy soymilk for me. When I am mindful, I set up the pot the night before – 1/2-1 cup of oats and twice as much water. Sometimes I will throw in a handful of sultanas or dried cranberries. Overnight it will soak, which allows the grains to puff up and it needs a lot less cooking in the morning.

In a pinch, if I have forgotten to spend 30 seconds setting this up before bed, I will cover oats with boiling water in the morning, stick the lid on firmly and let them steep for 10 minutes or so to soften before cooking.

The trick to cooking porridge is a heat diffuser mat. Don’t talk to me about microwaves – it brings out the food nazi in me! Even if the oats are soaked they still don’t taste as good. Turn one of the burners on low and let the mat heat up. On another, bring the soaked oats to a simmer. You will usually need more fluid; I tend to add soy rather than water, as it makes it taste creamier. Once the oats are barely simmering, give them a stir and place the pot on the diffuser mat, leave on low and go have a shower. They don’t stick to the pot and by the time you have finished, the porridge is ready to eat.

Ode to oatmeal

1 part rolled oats
2 parts fluid eg: water, milk, soy, rice milk, cream, juice, coconut milk
A handful of dried fruit (optional)

Soak over night and cook as directed.

Top with milk and sweet treats as desired.

plain old fashioned porridge for the lactose intolerant

Sweet treat extras:
Maple syrup
Rice malt
Apple or pear juice concentrate
Homemade jam
Stewed fruit
Grated apple
LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal)

*Passionfruit and maple syrup make a great combo

Grainy variation
Add leftover, cooked brown rice to the oats - it makes a nuttier and even more delicious porridge.


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Anonymous Ken Sloan said...

Oh my. I like my oatmeal almost like a dried out chunky paste. I'd almost forgotten that the soupiness is actually desirable to some ;)

Man.. now I've got a craving for some oats :o

6:07 pm  
Anonymous din said...

Yay for porridge! And thank you for the heat diffuser suggestion. The number of times the bad thing happened because I vagued out and forgot the pot on the stove for a few minutes...

Looking forward to seeing more kitchen shots - those blue tiles are gorgeous.

4:12 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I owe my heat diffuser mastery to the teaching of former macrobiotic chef Tony Chiodo. Actually, there's porridge on the stove now while I type thanks to his method :)

Kitchen shots coming - whenever the bench is less cluttered the light's no good.

8:05 am  

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