Busy Mornings…

…mean not much time to prepare wonderful porridge for breakfast.  I have always cooked oats in the microwave for 1.5 minutes – so they’re not too hot to eat but provide some warmth.  But this often means they’re quite chewy – which I don’t mind at all.  Only, now I’ve started preparing porridge this way, I doubt I’ll ever use the old method again.

I’ve been cooking a large batch of porridge on a Sunday, ready for the week ahead.  It’s so easy!  And because I cook the oats in the Slow Cooker, the result is soft, gooey porridge because of the slow cooking and soaking.

The folded tea-towel on top of the Slow Cooker is a tip I learnt from a website ages ago – it helps maintain a constant and warmer temperature for even cooking, especially if your kitchen is cold.  Works for me!

Slow Cooker Porridge(4 servings)

1 Cup Porridge Oats

3 Cups water

1/2 Cup milk

1/4 Cup Demerara Sugar

Mix all ingredients in the Slow Cooker and turn the Slow Cooker on to Medium setting for 4 hours.  I stir half-way through, to prevent sticking or clumping of the porridge.

If the finished porridge is to be stored, allow it to cool completely then decant into storage containers – individual pots/tubs are good for taking to work.  Refrigerate.  To reheat, spoon the required amount in to the serving dish and microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. Stir thoroughly, with a little extra liquid(I use milk).  Or spoon the required amount in to a saucepan, stir thoroughly with a little extra liquid, and gently heat on the hob to the desired temperature.  Serve and enjoy!

Discussion is necessary!  Mix the proportions of liquid as you wish.  If you prefer more milk, then use a greater proportion.

For this recipe I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Whole Rolled Porridge Oats because I like the chew, and the 3.5 Cups of liquid is just right.  I have previously used Oatmeal of Alford Medium ground oats, and this needed a total of 4.5 Cups of fluid as it is a thicker texture, and much more absorbent.  It also required 5 hours of Slow Cooking, not 4.

Some recipes suggest adding a little butter or greasing the Slow Cooker pot before starting, to reduce the risk of the porridge sticking to the sides or burning.  I tried this and the end result tasted fatty/greasy, and I found it unpleasant to taste – although the idea suggested flapjack in a Slow Cooker to me!  Hence I stir the porridge during cooking – although it’s generally advised not to life the lid during cooking as it prolongs cooking time, but I have had no problems so far.

Regarding sweetness, add no sugar at all if you wish!  If you are cooking for two or more people who might want different add-ins, then cooking plain porridge is an option as extras can be stirred in or sprinkled on top when it is actually served.

Alternatively add whatever you wish for sweetness and flavouring and nutrition.  I love the caramel edge to the flavour of Demerara sugar, that’s why I use it.  Any sugar or sweetener will suffice.  Other ideas would be the addition of dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, cranberries or sultanas; nuts and seeds; and cinnamon and pumpkin would be good, with raisins, for a wonderful Autumnal flavour…  Chopped banana with chocolate chips sounds a good idea to me, and also berries or other chopped fresh fruit.

Of course I also like chocolate for breakfast, so a dollop of Nutella or Dark Chocolate Dreams on top would be great!  But I would add this after I have reheated the porridge.

When the cooked porridge is allowed to cool, it will become solid – and you’ll think you are cutting slices of flapjack – no bad thing in my book 😉

But this is why the portion to be served has to be thoroughly stirred with a little liquid, to make it soft and liquidy again.

And finally, thus far I have not been brave enough to a) conquer savoury add-ins to porridge and b) leave this cooking overnight to wake up to in the morning.  I cannot face a pot of burnt porridge…may be one day perhaps.

That oaty creaminess makes me want some now…and there’s no reason why this can’t be a warming and nutritious snack.  Bring it on…

What is your favourite way with porridge? What are your thoughts on savoury porridge?


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