Winter Breakfast: How to Make Old-Fashioned Porridge

Winter has well and truly begun, and while I am not generally a breakfast person, there is nothing like a belly full of warm, creamy porridge on a cold morning. I do not have a microwave, so I make porridge like my grannies did, on the stove, with locally grown rolled oats.
This porridge begins the night before when I soak the oats overnight. I add half a cup of water and half a cup of milk to half a cup of oats. So easy to remember! My kind of recipe. This is the amount for one person. I soak it in my bowl, in the fridge, with a plate inverted on the top.
In the morning I pour the whole lot into a small saucepan and add a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon. I warm it slowly and stir it constantly until it is the consistency I prefer. Creamy, not too dry. This takes all of five minutes. It doesn't take much cooking because of the long soaking, and the soaking also makes the oats more digestible.
Then pour it back into my bowl and top it with fruit. This week, stewed greengages that I picked from my friend Tanya's tree in the summertime. Summer goodness in the middle of winter. Yum.
Pro tip: scrape out the saucepan with a spatula. Do not waste any of that porridgy goodness. You know your grannies would have done this! Then soak the saucepan in water. Porridge turns to cement when dry.
Do you make porridge in the winter? Maybe you are in the Northern hemisphere and it is too hot for porridge right now. Now is a good time to be planning to preserve all the summer fruit which will be coming on soon, so you will have fruit for your porridge come winter. I know I will run out of fruit this winter, quite soon. Note to self - preserve, preserve, preserve this coming summer. What I do have is vast amounts of jam to use up. Not quite as healthy on porridge, but very yum!


Miss Maudy said…
I love porridge on a winter morning!I'm too lazy to do the old school soaking way, and use quick oats in the microwave. It's so worth it doing it properly though. I have butter, honey and milk on porridge. Apparently, that's weird, but that's the way my family had porridge, so that's the way I do as well!
simplelife said…
I have porridge every day for breakfast, I don't soak because I always forget, but still find it really only takes a few minutes to cook anyway. I add a few prunes, because yum, some toasted nuts and seeds when I've remembered to make them, whatever fresh, frozen or stewed fruit I have, a good dollop of yogurt and a splash of milk. But I do love good old brown sugar the best, just feel too guilty to enjoy it that way now. I also use Tassie rolled oats.
cheers Kate
Jo said…
Miss Maudy, I must admit, the old school way does make more dishes! Butter, honey and milk. Ok, I am intrigued and may give that one a whirl when I run out of fruit!

Kate, that is good to know, that rolled oats can be cooked up without soaking. I have never really been game to try. Mmm, prunes, it's been ages since I ate a prune. I really like prunes! It looks like you really know how to dress up porridge:) Paul plus Posy likes golden syrup on porridge. Do you use the Kindred oats? I am loving them. They make such creamy porridge. Apparently they don't heat treat them, only roll them, which makes them less shelf stable but more delicious:)
simplelife said…
Yep Jo I do use kindred oats. I store them in the freezer and just keep a jar of them in the kitchen so haven't had a problem with them keeping. I put all my dry goods flours etc in the freezer to store. Left over from the days of once a month shopping for a family of 6 and a case of pantry moth and weavils.
Cheers Kate
Anonymous said…
I like porridge, Jo. It’s a regular winter breakfast for me. I do the quick cook in the microwave with water method, then add sugar and milk. I don’t like cooking them with milk as it makes them too rich for me. And I don’t add fruit because I don’t like things in my porridge and I don’t like my fruit ruined by porridge. But strangely I do love fruit crumble for dessert - especially rhubarb and apple with cinnamon and oats topping.

I may try you methods with the slow oats, cooked the long soak method.
GretchenJoanna said…
I love porridge, mush, whatever one calls it. My latest favorite is creamy buckwheat cereal. And I'm with Miss Maudy, butter is the best. I don't remember where I learned that, maybe from my grandma, who was the Queen of Butter.

When I was a child it was Quaker oats, and milk, and brown sugar. When my own children were young we'd get "bear mush" through our co-op, which was a whole grain cream of wheat. And when the children got older and people were eating breakfast in shifts before going off to school or work, I would put 7-grain cereal in the slow cooker at night from which they could scoop out a bowlful in the morning.

One of my friends grew up on cornmeal mush, served by her Italian mother with canned milk poured over. I tried that on my children too, she raved about it so, but I concluded that you'd have to grow up on it to appreciate it :-)

I really love your method, which is perfect for one person, and both very homey and civilized. I want to be more mindful of my eating, and starting my elegant breakfast the night before would facilitate that. In our climate it's appropriate any season of the year. Thank you, Jo!
Angus Wallace said…
Hi Jo,

Long time no write -- hope you are going well!

I love making porridge, and use powdered soy milk because it's cheap, healthy, and reduces the amount of packaging we consume. It tastes great.

A great option for fruit preservation is drying. I dried a couple of kilos of strawberries in summer, using an old screen door and a shower window. Oh me oh my -- they are fantastic. They taste like strawberry jam without the sugar. Dried fruits go great in porridge.

Been busy at my place, but don't have time to write about it now ;-)

Cheers, Angus
Jo said…
Kate, yes, bulk food in the freezer is such a good idea. I have a tiny freezer on top of my fridge, but luckily can buy my oats from the Wholesome House bulk section!

Lucinda, I love your antipathy for foods touching other foods. My son had years of that. It was very annoying at the time but now I can look back and laugh. Clearly you are a purist. I like chaos in life and breakfast:)

Gretchen Joanna, mush is a wonderful word for porridge. Bear mush is even better! Using the slow cooker for porridge for a large family is brilliant! I shall do that if I ever start an orphange:)

Angus, I dried so much fruit over the summer, kilos and kilos of plums, peaches and apricots. I was hoping for it to last me well into the winter, but we scoffed it all by late autumn as we are piggies:) Dried strawberries sound wonderful! Will have to give that a go.
Hope all your urban homestead projects are coming along nicely. Would love to see some more updates:)
Anonymous said…
I'm late to the porridge party, but I make mine the same way you do, Jo. Currently I accompany mine with stewed plums and a dollop of Greek yogurt, but sometimes I long for the bad old days of cream and brown sugar!

Linda in NZ
Treaders said…
I'm in France and just finished a lovely bowl of porridge with maple syrup so I don't think it's ever too hot for porridge. Lovely. I do alternate that with Greek yoghurt and fruit though. Gawd I remember my mom making a HUGE vat of porridge on winter's mornings as we were a large family. That stuff was so solid you could stand a spoon up in it but once she had got a great big dollop of golden syrup into it it certainly stuck to your ribs!
Jo said…
Linda, there is always a place for cream and brown sugar:)

Anna, ah, so that's what the golden syrup is for - glue!!
Jen's Busy Days said…
My porridge is made on a 3:2:1 ratio. Three measures of boiled water from the kettle to two measures of rolled oats. Soak until all water is absorbed. Add one measure of milk on stove top and gently heat through to the consistency we feel like that day. Everyone adds their own flavour like honey and ginger, or cream and cinnamon sugar. Or just plain milk with apple sticks and cinnamon sugar. If there are two people eating the measure is a third cup, if more the cup size goes up to a three quarter cup.

I remember one time in Hobart that I was so tired with pregnancy carrying number three that I mixed up the ginger and garlic jars and we had garlic porridge. Made sure never to buy those two in the same style jars again. 😀

Best wishes
Jen now in Qld

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