When I was a kid I was always sent to school with breakfast in my tummy. Whether it was a piece of Marmited toast, cereal or a boiled egg with buttery soldiers, Mum always made sure I was fuelled up for my day at school. In the winter my brother and I either had cereal with hot milk poured over it, making it instantly turn into a soggy bowlful of sugary grain, or a bowl of Ready Brek.
Ready Brek is a strange substance. Originally created by J. Lyons & Co. in 1957, it’s a smooth porridge intended to appeal to kids, but which generally holds the texture of recently mixed cement. It was an unsweetened product, allowing the consumer to add their own choice of toppings, normally in our case either Golden Syrup or jam. Today it comes in four flavours: Original, Chocolate, and Honey, as well as Seriously Oaty (a flavour choice for those who prefer their soluble-fibered oats to have a less whimsical approach to life).
This early introduction to the world of breakfast oats has instilled in me a lifelong love of porridge, albeit in more adventurous and tasty forms than as bowl of something I could repoint my house bricks with. Although I occasionally buy the ready to make sachets, such as Oat So Simple or Scott’s So-Easy, normally I tend to just buy a big bag of supermarket value oats which are much cheaper. This also ensures that I have oats in the kitchen should the notion strike to make flapjacks or an oaty topping for an oven bake.
After marrying a Scot (the true culinary masters of the oat) I have discovered the simple formula for the perfect porridge consistency: 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid (normally made purely with rice milk in my case, but you can water it down if preferred). I use a small espresso cup which makes the perfect amount for one person.
When it comes to porridge the possibilities for toppings are endless, but today’s choice was my go-to sweetener, Golden Syrup, raspberries and some walnuts. I was using up the last of the walnuts in the bag so I also sprinkled the nut shrapnel from the bottom of the bag on top of my porridge.
Nut shrapnel. That’d be quite the injury to receive, huh?
Other topping choices you could choose from include: jam, maple syrup, nut butters, flaked hazelnuts, chopped fruit (bananas and strawberries are lovely on it), fruit compote, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. The options are only as endless as your imagination, so let it loose and enjoy your oats!
50g of gluten-free rolled oats
100ml of lactose-free milk or rice milk (add more if it’s too thick for you)
Put your ingredients into a microwavable jug.
Pop the jug in the microwave for about 2 to 3 mins, keeping an eye on it all the while because it will rise up the jug once it starts to boil.
Take it out and stir it and pop it back in for as long as you can before it erupts over the side of the jug like Krakatoa.
Take it out, pour it into a bowl and add your toppings.
Exercise caution before eating because it will be the temperature of freshly poured lava. Enjoy!