To say porridge is so very easy to cook, some people still manage to muck it up a little bit. So this page is dedicated to my personal core recipe, that I use every day. And have done, for quite a while.
As I’ve said many times before, food is incredibly personal, this may not suit your tastebuds exactly, but it’s incredibly easy to tailor it so don’t worry at all, I’ll try my best to describe it so you can make up your own minds.
So, the main problem you’ll encounter when you’re cooking porridge is the timing, you’d be surprised how long it takes to cook grains, and how much difference it makes in the taste and texture when you cook it correctly. The cooking time varies for each ‘type’ of oat, so double check on the “Know Your Oats” page for vague cooking times. There’s even a nifty little infographic for you to check out too, just to make your lives a little bit easier.
Once you’ve got that sorted, everything else is just your individual tastes. Everybody has their own tips and tricks to make the best porridge, from toasting the oats first, to cooking it over a double boiler slowly. It’s always good to try new avenues and see which one is best for you, so don’t just take my word as gospel. It’s also worth noting about the measurements you should use, it’s kind of like rice, you look at it in the pan, think “That’s nowhere near enough oats for me, I’m starving”, and then 15 minutes later you’re poking the porridge down with a stick because you’ve eaten far too much. I’ve found that a small wine glass is a good amount for me, I’m only a short woman, so if you’re a big beefy miner, or a roller blading instructor, you might want to add a little more to satisfy your energy needs.
Here’s my recipe for the best darn porridge in the world. As a side note: I am English, so when I say cups, I mean the wine glass.
Perfectly Prepared Porridge
1 cup porridge oats (I use Wilton jumbo rolled oats because I love the slightly rough texture they give)
1-2 cups water
1 cup semi-skimmed milk (plus a splash for the end)
1 heaped tblsp brown demerera sugar
Pinch of salt
– Use a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Pop the oats, milk and water in there and leave it to do it’s thing for a few minutes, stirring it occasionally with a spatula to stop it sticking.
– Cook until the oats have swollen up a little bit (about 5 minutes), then turn down the heat to a low-medium. Add the pinch of salt here.
– Just leave it to bubble away for about another ten minutes, stirring it until it’s thickened. If ten minutes hasn’t passed and it’s thickening too much, pop a little bit more water. Each type of oat can handle different amounts of liquids, so just work in harmony with it. You can’t really fast-forward this stage, it needs to cook to get all the beautiful flavour out of if, and to help your body digest it more easily.
– I like mine to be quite thick, but not so thick that you can carve it with a knife and fork. You can sort of tell from the accompanied picture what I mean, but like I said, run with your personal taste. Ballymaloe House in County Cork uses a 1:3 oat:liquid ratio for their beautiful porridge, whereas mine is 1:2. I’ve tried both ways, cooking the Ballymaloe way for a longer period of time to get a nice thick texture, but there’s not a huge amount of difference to me. So for the sake of convenience in the morning, I just stick with 1:2.
– Cook until you get the thickness you desire, stir in the sugar and pour into your bowl. Pour a little moat of milk around the outside. This is quite a traditional addition, and I do it purely for taste reasons. It’s nice to have a bit of plain liquid to contrast the thick grain. If you ever have bad memories of thick, claggy porridge, this helps it to stop it being too heavy. It’s just a bonus that it looks like a towering hill from a milky lake, I’m such a child at heart. Sprinkle a bit of sugar over the top and enjoy.
There’s a lot more to porridge than you think, there’s not just Ready Brek and jumbo rolled oats, and nothing in between. There’s a long process before it gets to your shopping basket, so there’s really no harm in taking an extra 5 minutes to give yourself a good breakfast. You can even make it while making a cup of tea or coffee. I really do hold a candle for porridge, it’s my favourite breakfast, I don’t feel quite right if I’m running late and I miss it. So, because I make it so often, I’ve dedicated a whole section of my website to this wonderful breakfast, aptly named the ‘Porridge‘ section (what else did you expect it to be called?). If you’re looking for new and different flavours to try out, that is the page you need to head over to.