Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hot Oatmeal Porridge with Nut Jam Toppings

Creamy Hot Oatmeal with Dreamy Marzipan Topping
I really can't identify with people who turn up their noses at hot oatmeal porridge.  But maybe it's because they have only ever eaten it with the same old milk and brown sugar topping?  Maybe it they tried topping the breakfast with wonderful nut jams (sounds like they might be a bother to make, but they are really easy) they would be converted to l.o.v.i.n.g oatmeal forever!

If you have even the tiniest bit of Scots in your background (or even German, I find out from my hubby), you may have been introduced to oatmeal as a youngster.  Maybe the icky kind: either thin, grey gruel (ugh) or lumpy, unpalatable "porjch" (gag).  My mom cooked the thick lumpy variety and I ate the gruel type when I attended a convent boarding school for a year.  But my friend's mom cooked it 'just right' as Baby Bear's.  And my mother-in-law's was right up there with the stuff you get served at 5-Star hotel brunches-- I think she even made it in a double-boiler.

I've learned to cook my oats so that they turn out creamy (my preference) or add some more to the pot for my husband who explains that he likes his "firmer".  It's mainly in giving yourself some time for the boiling, and stirring, and then turning it off, removing to a cold burner, and putting on the lid for a few minutes of steaming.  

Oats have a pile of health benefits that you have no doubt heard about: 

(1) They "stick to your ribs" (fill you up) without a lot of calories (about 130 in an average big bowl) and generally can get you through to lunch without a grumbling tummy.

(2) Oats have lots of protein, little fat and loads of fibre.  If you eat steel cut oats you get more of the fibre than if you eat the more process flakes, but even with the flakes there is fibre!

(3) Steel cut oats break down very slowly into simple sugars, so you aren't apt to go into sugar-induced shock like you might do with processed cereals (including, of course, those sugar-laced "instant" oats in little paper envelopes).

(4) Even some gluten-sensitive people can eat oatmeal inspite of there being avenin (the oat protein) in the porridge.  However, some folks are highly intolerant of avenin, made worse if the oats have been grown in among a wheat crop (common) or if they are coeliac.  There is such a thing as (high-cost) gluten-free oats, but if you have problems with wheat intolerance or are coeliac, I would suggest you just skip the oats.

And other amazing things have shown up in studies that suggest that oatmeal is the best way to start the day (for those who are not allergic or gluten/avenin-intolerant of course).  

Sesame Slick (like Halvah!) on this porridge
 I'm a huge fan of "gourmet" porridge toppings, as you will know from hanging around this site.  The two that I am featuring today-- NUT JAMS-- can be found HERE : Marzipan Spread & Sesame Slick (tastes like Halvah).  

Other gourmet oatmeal recipes:

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