Stone-Age people were making porridge over 30,000 years ago apparently. Hunter-gatherers ate oats as far back as 32,000 years ago – way before farming took root, said Marta Mariotti Lippi at the University of Florence in Italy, after analysing starch grains on an ancient stone grinding tool from southern Italy. According to their research, this was the earliest known human consumption of oats. (New Scientist, 2015).
For those of you who grew up with pots of hot, sticky porridge bubbling away on the stove at breakfast time, you will know that this traditional dish is just oats simmered in milk or water. My siblings and I found it quite distasteful, even more-so when our father (not known for his culinary skills) tried to make us eat it on cold, frosty mornings in winter, before catching the school bus. The fresh cream helped somewhat, as did a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar which helped to cover-up the taste of the heavy-handed teaspoon of salt he always put in it, but I also wish that we had known about cinnamon or apple and berry compote back in those days too.
My love for oats has returned over the years, especially as, when soaked overnight, they are easily digested. I also know they are good for my heart and liver as I get older. This is because not only do they give us fibre but over the past several decades, cardiac research suggests that increasing levels of fibre, including β-glucans in the diet leads to a reduction in cholesterol levels.
The MyMT™ KITCHEN: Nutty Porridge with Apple, Berry Compote
Makes enough for 1 person (just double the recipe if you want leftovers)
- ½ cup of oats
- ¼ cup dates
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Berry compote: 1 apple + 1/2 cup of berries + 1 cup of water (double the mixture if you want leftovers throughout the week).
In the morning:
- 1 cup of water (or Almond milk) and more if needed.
- 1 tbsp nut butter (almond is best)
- 2 tbsp LSA (Linseed, Sunflower, Almond mix) or other seeds
- 2 tbsp low-fat Greek yoghurt
- Dice the apple and add it to a pot of water. Bring the pot to a boil and let the apple cook for approximately 10 minutes (or until soft). At the 10-minute mark, add the berries and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes. Once the compote is cooked, transfer it into a container and leave it in the fridge. This compote can last in the fridge for up to a week, so you can have it with other meals.
- Place the oats into a sieve and give them a quick rinse. Once rinsed, transfer to a bowl and add the dates, desiccated coconut and cinnamon. Then cover the oats with 1 cup of water and leave them to soak overnight.
In the morning:
- Place a pot onto a low heat and transfer the oat mixture and 1 more cup of water into the pot. The trick to ensuring that porridge doesn’t get thick or clumpy is to stir it the entire time it is cooking, and to add more water (or milk) if it is starting to get too thick. Stir the oats consistently for 4-5 minutes and then add the nut butter. Stir for another 3 minutes. At this stage they should be nicely cooked through.
- Serve with berry compote, LSA and Greek yoghurt. Enjoy!
Gorton, D. (2018). Evidence Paper: Whole grains and the heart. New Zealand Heart Foundation (NZHF): Wellington, NZ
Sima P, Vannucci L, Vetvicka V. β-glucans and cholesterol (Review). Int J Mol Med. 2018 Apr;41(4):1799-1808.