There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie


Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.
~Rumi


May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett


Friday, 4 March 2011

Perfect Porridge



The days may be getting longer and a wee bit warmer, but I still get requests for porridge for breakfast.  Sadly, I do not have this Highland Hottie here in my kitchen to help cook the porridge, but I have learned a few tips over the years about cooking oatmeal.



Porridge oats are often thought of as being particularly Scottish, but a form of porridge is eaten throughout the world, with different types of grain.  Oats are the easiest grain to digest, so in the past they were often given in a thin gruel to people who were ill.  Gruel is like porridge, only much more watered down, and was also given to prisoners or people in Victorian workhouses--as in Oliver Twist's, "Please sir, can I have some more?"

Porridge was a mainstay in the Scottish diet and eaten throughout the day, and as Samuel Johnson once snarkily pronounced, it is "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people."  A big pot would be cooked in the morning, poured into a drawer and left to cool.  It was then sliced up, wrapped and taken by working men to eat later in the day.  Since I have some Scottish blood in me, it might explain why I love cold, thick porridge.

Our guests get their porridge hot and steaming though, and I usually use either Scottish or Irish oats, never the instant kind.  I even have my trusty wooden porridge stirrer, with the Scottish thistle on top, which came straight from the homeland in Edinburgh.  The biggest trick in making a creamy porridge is starting with cold water and milk, and then adding the oats while the water is still cold.  I usually use a little bit less oats than the recipe calls for at first, because I add some more oats just before it's done cooking to give more texture and 'oatiness' to the porridge.  Adding a few shakes of salt also makes the oats taste oatier, and a touch of brown sugar in the last 10 minutes of cooking makes the porridge sweet without tasting heavily of brown sugar.


If you've cooked the long version of porridge, you'll know that the pan can be a bit stubborn to clean.  My top tip for that is to soak the pan in cold water and then the porridge will slide right off, in fact I have a pan soaking right now.  So here's my recipe, which makes about 3-4 servings, of which I've probably had 3 of the servings today.  It is for rough cut or steel cut oats, like Scottish or Irish oats, not the more processed kind with the Quaker on the front


2 cups cold water
1 cup cold milk
1 cup oats + 1/4cup to add near the end
A pinch of salt
1 or 2 T. of brown sugar
Gently cook for 20-30 minutes--it shouldn't 
come to a full, rolling boil and stir 
often with a wooden spoon.

"Good love is like a bowl of oatmeal."
~Robert Johnson, Jungian Psychologist


1 comment:

  1. Great tips informative with a laugh:)

    ReplyDelete