porridge, easy, healthy, how to cook porridge

I did something quite unusual for me yesterday, I bought the “Spiegel Magazine” (it’s something a bit like Time Magazine) because there was a very interesting article about “The Sugar Drug”. I’m fascinated by things like this, and that kind of info is never available for free on the internet, so I bought it and haven’t finished reading it, but what I will say is that I switched to good old porridge this morning! With NO added sugar! Here comes the recipe and method…

How I make porridge is not a family recipe because that involves lots of milk and sugar and the microwave. We like it the thick way – no thin porridge in our house!

In the winter I have a routine where at night I steep the oats overnight in just enough hot water to cover the oats. This makes things very quick in the morning. How many oats for one person? Well I find that i only need maybe two espresso cups full. They can be ANY brand of porridge oats – at the moment I have Aldi’s and they’re fine.

Working with pre-steeped oats, you just mix the oats up in about an espresso cup of milk and heat it up on the stove-top. Soya milk works really well for some reason and leaves less mess in the pot to clean up. Don’t stir the oats while they’re heating. They only need a minute or two until they’re hot. Then I mix in some fresh or dried fruit, or some chopped banana or apple while the milk heats for extra sweetness. Almonds or walnuts are very good in it too. Here I have some fresh blueberries, dried cranberries and some sunflower seeds and a bit of cinnamon.

No pre-steeped oats? just cover the oats in about a centimetre more hot water than is necessary to cover them and bring them to a boil. Turn the heat down to half way and when most of the hot water has boiled off transfer the pot to a cool place (e.g. another hob ring that wasn’t used) and leave it to cool a few minutes, This will thicken it up. Then I add a splash of milk to make it less dry and toppings.

Then I feel like I’ve eaten something good for the day, no matter if I get a stress-chocolate attack around midday!

In case you want more information on the article (which is in German)- the gist of it is information from interviews with a Professor Lustig from the University of California and other mostly american academics. There are some youtube videos with talks from Prof. Lustig that I haven’t watched yet. Their findings are also put in historical context (e.g. the invention of cheaper glucose-fructose syrup), and are very much common-sense in a way but with solid research to back it up. I’m looking forward to finishing reading the article today and that hopefully it will give me more of a boost to eat less sugar.



  1. I’m a BIG believer in the sugar as drug hypothesis. I’m not so strict now, but there have been times in my life where I cut it out completely. I can honestly say that it is the most addictive substance I know.

    Sooo… this is probably a stupid question, but what the heck is porridge? Is it just the same as oatmeal (rolled oats) or is there something different about it? I’ve never figured that one out. I did, however, live my entire senior year in college on nothing but oatmeal made simply with water and whatever else I could scrounge for free (I got one free meal a day through my job as resident adviser and I made it stretch.) I fear I spent the grocery budget on guitar lessons!

  2. I haven’t soaked my oats overnight, but just have to try this. Usually, all I do is pour the oats, water and some diced fruit and heat. This is sweet enough and eliminated my need for extra sugar

  3. The name is a two part word. The Brose part of the name refers to the Oatmeal Water leftover from soaking oats. A nominally nutritious beverage, which only becomes palatable if you roast the oats and sweeten it with honey or sugar. Atholl refers to one of the original Pictish kingdoms of Scotland. It was a mountainous region, and calling the beverage “Atholl Brose” was sort of like calling it “Back Country Brose” or “Mountain Brose”, in other words, where the Whisky Stills were.

  4. porridge is always cooked (oats). For us “oatmeal” is just another the name of the dried, uncooked oats. But it could mean something else in the US?

  5. In Germany there is also another variation of porridge that might interest you, it is called “Bircher Muesli” and is uncooked and served cold.

    Basically it’s just the fine kind of oats plus some muesli, dried and fresh fruit or berries steeped overnight in milk and yoghurt in the fridge. When it comes out the next morning it’s lovely and cool. You can also mix some quark and milk together to make it creamier but I know that quark isn’t available everywhere.

  6. I have never heard of quark. I love that there are so many things we can do with staples like oats and fruits to keep my meals from getting boring. I do have a few favorites like my fried potatoes and eggs that I was raised on that I normally change very little when preparing, but now and then I will add veggies that I need to eat soon to the dish. Guess it’s the Irish side of me that will eat potatoes any time the opportunity arises without being bored.

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