Not all porridge is created equal. Yes oatmeal does take a little more time and effort than porridge flakes, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve tasted the comforting, rich, oaty smoothness, and felt the generous, sustaining energy from a bowl of well-made oatmeal, you’ll be hooked.
Why does it take longer to prepare? Because oatmeal is not a flaked grain. Unlike the steamed and rolled quick oat flakes – a late 19th Century invention – oatmeal is the oat groat (grain) cut into 3 (pinhead) or crushed (coarse/medium/fine grades). The Oatmeal has a blend of organic steel cut pinhead and medium oatmeal.
Cooked with water and sea salt, oatmeal porridge is the original oat porridge and with a little help from traditional methods and some practice it’s easy and quick to make.
1. I begin in the time honoured way with an evening ritual, for which you’ll need oatmeal, water, kettle, a bowl and a measuring cup – this one is 100ml. Here I’m making enough for Max (7), me and Camilla
2. Pour about 150ml of oatmeal into a bowl – making porridge is not a precise process
3. Warm some water, so it’s tepid, not scalding. Add about 200ml of the warm water to the oatmeal and mix well. It’ll look like a rich soup. Take a moment to smell your soaking oatmeal – it should have a wonderful, soothing velvety aroma. Put to one side overnight covered with a plate. Don’t worry about where you put it – it doesn’t need any more warmth.
4. By the next morning your soup will have set – the oatmeal has soaked up most of the water, and in doing so is now ready for cooking in less than 5 minutes.
5. Boil about 200ml of water with two pinches of good quality sea salt, and then tip in the soaked oatmeal and stir. Turn the heat down a little and let the oatmeal come to a simmer, stirring from time to time. At first the oatmeal will look very watery, but within moments it will begin to thicken as the grains soak up yet more water.
6. Reduce the heat so that oatmeal bloops and pops a little. With confidence and a low heat, you can put the lid on and let the oatmeal steam. For now, leave the lid off, and after a minute or so, taste for salt, and if the oatmeal is too thick add a little water at a time, and if you need salt add it now too, and then taste again after a good stir.
7. Keep stirring and tasting, checking for texture, bite, and saltiness. I like my oatmeal with a subtle hint of salt and a nourishing rich texture that I can pour slowly from the pan into a bowl.