Making porridge

My little bees love porridge for breakfast, and these days, they make it themselves, for all of us. This is Very Convenient.

We use ordinary old rolled oats. None of these fancy microwave versions, which look too processed for my liking. I’m happy enough to eat other processed cereals, but somehow processed porridge seems to miss the point. Our recipe is a parts recipe: one part rolled oats, one part cold water, and two parts hot water. About half a cup of rolled oats per person seems to be about right in our house, so when the girls are making porridge for all five of us, the ingredients are 2 and 1/2 cups of rolled oats, 2 and 1/2 cups of cold water, and 5 cups of hot water. Plus a pinch of salt, to lift the flavour. If you are in Australia or New Zealand, make sure you use iodised salt, because our soils are very low in it, and we run the risk of goitre with insufficient iodine.

The rolled oats go in the saucepan first, and then the cold water. NEVER ADD THE HOT WATER BEFORE THE COLD. If you do, you will end up with a horrid lumpy mess. Trust me on this. Stir the oats and cold water until they are smooth, and then add the hot water and stir it in. Put the pot on the stove, add a pinch of salt, turn the element onto high, and stir gently until boiling.

One of the Misses Ten stirring the porridge

(Description: pot on stove, filled with oats and water, child’s hand stirring it with a wooden spoon)

Turn the heat right down and let the porridge simmer for a moment, and then serve.

Three bowls of porridge

(Description: three shallow bowls of porridge)

Excellent porridge. Not too thick, not too thin, and very tasty.

And it is even better with a sprinkling of brown sugar on top.

Porridge with brown sugar

(Description: three shallow bowls of porridge, brown sugar melting on top)

We always add milk before we eat it, partly to cool it down a little, and partly to round out the flavour.

Variations: some people make porridge with milk, or with half and half milk and water. Some people use just cold water, but we use some cold and some hot to speed up the cooking process. Some people sprinkle cinnamon on it instead of sugar, and others add sultanas or honey for sweetness. Whatever takes your fancy, really.

Once the porridge is served, put the saucepan and the stirring spoon in the sink, and fill the pot with cold water, to the brim. The scrapings on the side of the pot will wash out very easily, with no scrubbing, if you do this. I promise.

It’s fairly cheap to make. A bag of rolled oats cost about $6 or $7, and it seems to last us for about a week. If we have porridge every morning, then breakfast for five of us for the week would cost us about $15 at the most, allowing for brown sugar and milk and a bit for energy costs. Not too bad at all. It’s a sustaining breakfast: a bowl of porridge seems to see me through the morning better than other cereals. And it’s very warming in these cooler days.

Best of all, my ten year olds can make it all by themselves, and they do so with pride. They take turns making it, and they know that they are making a real contribution to the household. I’m very grateful to them.

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7 comments on “Making porridge

  1. Mindy says:

    Well that sounds pretty easy and tasty. I must try it. Haven’t had proper porridge for years and with the range of toppings you can put on the variety is pretty much only limited by your imagination and your stomach!

  2. donnasoowho says:

    My porridge making is a bit of a phaff, but I got this delicious recipe a few years ago and it’s just perfect. If I’m really organised I soak the rolled oats overnight, and then I boil it up with some water for a bit and then boil it further with some milk. I like banana and golden syrup on mine. OH YUM!

  3. Yvonne McDonald says:

    try it with the brown sugar in the bottom of the bowl – hits the right bit of the tongue and helps get the bowl clean..

  4. timt says:

    The recipe mum gave me and I use to this day is ‘two parts wet to one part dry’. So that’s one part milk, one part water, one part oats. Yep, it’s a milk recipe. To this day I’m a little taken aback by the idea of porridge without milk.

    I also like to cook it quickly rather than slowly – I like my oats chewy rather than completely dissolved.

    Mmmmm, pooooooooooorrridge (drools in Homer-like manner)

  5. M-H says:

    Interesting that the lack of iodine in soil extends to Aus. I have had great difficulty buying iodised salt in my local supermarket, and when I discussed this at work people looked at nme as if I was mad. In NZ, on the other hand, I can remember having great difficulty buying it un-ionised to make particular pickles, and kiwis seem to be very clear about the need to buy the iodised variety. Or is that just me?

  6. rayinnz says:

    That sounds nice and traditional, my varation is to use dried cranberries and the microwave, with a stirring in the middle which has the only advantage of being able to walk away from it while heating
    Interestingly using the hot & cold water mix gives a better texture

  7. robertguyton says:

    Your way is our way too. Every morning, sometimes cooked by me, sometimes by my daughter. Our grandparents hailed from Shetland, Orkney and Scotland, so it’s what you’d expect!

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