Forget Porridge from Flakes. Oat meal is the New Sexy


I have to admit that I’m a bit of porridge passionata. It’s not big here in Tuscany where many people eat cookies for breakfast (yeah, go figure), but it doesn’t stop me trekking to the local health food store where I order porridge flakes by the case. Well, that is, until I tried the real stuff.

At an organic conference last fall, I saw and met Nick Barnard, founder of Rude Health, for the first time. He came after me as a speaker, and I knew within moments that we’d be friends for life. He ranted – with passion and humour about things that make me want to scream like bad eating, pasteurized/homogenized milk and more.

The friendship was cemented weeks later over lunch. Nick had been traversing Scotland tasting his way through all of the oat meal he could find, looking for the freshest and tastiest. He gave me the three finalists to try with a rough recipe on soaking and cooking oatmeal. I lugged the bags back to Italy, made all three and fell in love with one.

I haven’t talked with you about soaking grains, yet, but now it’s time. What you need to bear in mind is that soaking doesn’t mean food prep takes longer – you just need to think ahead. Instead of starting porridge in the morning, simply begin the night before.
It is always better to eat wholemeal products over white, but when you eat wholegrains, they are better for you if you properly prepare them. When our ancestors ate whole grains, they didn’t eat quick-rise breads and instant porridge. Oh no, in their wisdom, they soaked or fermented grains first. All over the world, there were – and in some places still are – techniques for preparing all grains before cooking, baking and eating them.

And, of course, there is a good reason for preparing grains. All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer. In our bodies, the phytic acid binds with calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc (for a strong immune system) and prevents us from absorbing them. To neutralise the phytic acid, simply soak the grain in warm acidulated water – water with some plain, natural, unsweetened yogurt – for at least seven hours.

Real oatmeal is what everyone used to eat – until steamed and rolled oats were invented in the USA in the late 19th century, courtesy of Mr Quaker. They were probably the first convenience food. Only farm animals ate coarse rolled oats.
The Oatmeal from Rude Health, happily, is now available. Of course, I can’t get medium oatmeal in Tuscany, so I carry bags of it back from Planet Organic. I thought my porridge recipe was the best it could be, but now that I’ve converted from flakes to oat meal, everything’s different. Here’s the new one.

Proper Porridge

Once you’ve eaten this, you’ll never look at a flake again. The flavour is excellent and the rougher texture is fabulous. Once you’ve cooked the porridge, add some good fat to make this a really nourishing breakfast – like organic butter or Guernsey cream – or a dollop of full-fat yogurt to add protein. There are endless additions you can make to porridge like fresh or dried fruit, seeds and nuts – all of which add flavour and goodness.

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes, plus overnight soaking
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Storage: Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  • 90g/½ cup medium oatmeal
  • 400ml/14fl oz warm water
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

1. Put the oatmeal, water and yogurt in a medium saucepan, stir, and leave to soak, covered, at room temperature overnight.

2. Add the salt, bring to the boil over a high heat, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes, stirring often, until it has thickened, but is not stiff. Serve hot with your favourite toppings.

For more recipes you and your family will enjoy, check out Me, You & the Kids Too and The Best Recipes for Babies & Toddlers in the book section of the website.
Eat well; live better.

Renée Elliott
Founder, Planet Organic

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3 Responses to “Forget Porridge from Flakes. Oat meal is the New Sexy”

  1. ruth says:

    I too have discovered oatmeal. Delicious! I add a large spoonful of coconut oil to mine with berries (usually blueberries) and some cinnamon. Tastes really good and is good for you on several levels

  2. T says:

    Sounds heavenly, but myself & my baby girl have Dairy & soya allergy! What can I add instead of Yoghurt please?
    Many thanks.

  3. D says:

    Hi…talking about pasteurized/homogenized milk…why do you not sell Raw Milk in Planet Organic?

    I understand that there are retailing restrictions but these have been overcome by allowing a dairy to sell via a vending machine (as in Selfridges).

    Is it something you can investigate further?

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