I read recently that the BBC had decided to ban the music of Gary Glitter , the convicted paedophile musician, though they still intend to show films by Roman Polanski . Presumably it is a matter of taste. I was going to do a post on the subject but can’t be bothered –
I’ve decided instead to post on Porridge. Also a matter of taste. As I have discovered an easy, cheap and trouble free way of making it.
I have recently become fascinated by the subject. In Ireland we have quite a few varieties some a lot more expensive than others. They divide into three main types.
1) A ready mix version that has a shiny crystalline appearance and that I believe is probably made by spraying liquid porridge onto a hot metal surface to dry it. This is subsequently taken off the drying surface with some sort of squeegee.
2) Rolled Oats – presumably Oats that have been through some sort of mangle or calender. To mechanically improve their cooking performance.
3) Porridge Oats – the cheapest. These make porridge that are not very smooth and inferior in my opinion to the Rolled variety, when using a quick cook technique. I use these in my recipe.
There are two main problems with porridge. Both of which mean that it is often overlooked, as old-fashioned or impractical.
Firstly, the production – Try as hard as you can you always seem to end up with a pan that needs grievous washing up.
Secondly, As a sophisticated lady from Manchester (the sort who should eat porridge) explained to me – “It gives you wind”. Indeed I have eaten it and it has had a profound effect on my already sensitive bowels on occasions.I presume this is something to do with carbohydrates not being turned to starch – and subsequent “intestinal fermentation”. Hopefully, the prolonged cooking times I use will minimise, this gastric side effect.
Whilst watching a TV program about Kitchens of the Past. It occurred to me that with the first/primitive arrangement – An open fire and a pot – sat on a crude stone hearth. It must be difficult to achieve a boil. It would also have been financially prohibitive at the time. And possibly chokingly unpleasant.
Porridge must have been one of our first primitive foods – something that possibly even predates bread. As the temperatures required for cooking are far lower.
I tried experimenting with my porridge in my electric slow cooker or Crock pot. This device was designed by a bean company in America in 1971 and has changed very little since 1976. When the innovative detachable bowl was introduced. It has three temperature settings. High, Low, and Warm,
I found through experimentation that the oats started breaking down to form a porridge at around 55 C. I did quite a bit of further work on the porridge with different temperature settings and arrived at a technique. Using the slow cooker for two people as follows.(will serve four people as a cereal course)
Two cups of Oats, Four Cups of Water, Salt to taste.
All ingredients into the Slow cooker set on Warm when you go to bed the evening before . Do not stir it or otherwise mess or fiddle with it.
When you are ready to serve it in the morning – on taking the lid off the mixture, you will be confronted by a vaguely brakish smelling, crusty gloop. Stir it about – in a few seconds it forms a recognisable product. As simple as that.
Washing up is easy. You can substitute milk for water (in the above recipe). Serve it with whatever takes your fancy – I’ve even served it with a blob of vanilla ice cream in the middle. It was very nice too. This technique allows for good porridge to be made from the cheapest of oats.
Crikey! – The end result looks fairly unpleasant first thing in the morning But a ten second stir will produce a lovely velvety result.