I’ve always been a fan of porridge. It’s one of those things that seems to fit in perfectly with a cold morning at the cottage: a steaming bowlful, topped with some stewed fruit and a dollop of natural yoghurt is just the thing to set myself and Little Missy up for the day. She eats the regular sort, which I grind up with my immersion blender (always useful but now indispensable) before cooking, but I’ve gotten hooked on Flahavan’s Pinhead Oatmeal this winter.
It takes a little longer to cook than the rolled oats but when you’re up around 6am, time is not exactly in short supply! I use cook mine with half milk, half water (LM gets expressed breast milk, or a little regular milk, plus water in her ground up oats), pop it on the cooker at a low setting and it cooks away by itself, with a couple of stirs from me between getting showered and dressed.
When I’m with it enough to soak the oats overnight it does shorten the cooking time a little but if I was super-organised what I’d do is cook a whole pot in advance, as recommended in Super Natural Cooking and the New York Times (steel-cut oats in America = pinhead oatmeal in Ireland) and reheat as necessary. And then there are porridge toppings. Stewed pear and allspice are popular here, as are apple and dried apricot compote or poached cinnamon plums, always with natural yoghurt and, for the members of the family with more than two teeth, a sprinkling of toasted nuts or seeds.
Porridge makes the best breakfast, being cheap, nutritious, easy – and local. If you pick up a bag of Flahavan’s progress oatlets (I’ve always loved that progress bit!) you’re also picking up a bit of history: the family-run business has been based in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford, for the last 200 years.
If you’re a porridge fan – or like your oatmeal in other dishes – you might be interested in the recently launched Flahavan’s All-Ireland Porridge-Making Challenge. They have two categories: one is to make the perfect dish of porridge and the the other is to create a recipe using something from Flahavan’s porridge oat range. The closing date is 31 January 2010 so you have all Christmas to come up with a few good ideas. There’s more information below and you’ll find the full terms and conditions on the Flahavan’s website, along with some recipes from Kevin Dundon.
Flahavans wants your recipesThe search is on to find the perfect porridge and oat-based recipeCelebrity and masterchef Kevin Dundon recently launched the first Flahavan’s All-Ireland Porridge-Making Challenge. Competitors are invited to enter two categories; one to create the perfect porridge dish and two, to develop the most innovative recipe using Flahavan’s Irish porridge oat range. The overall winner in each category will receive a top prize of €1,500, with the runners up winning €500 each. At the launch Kevin said, “Oats have formed part of healthy breakfast diets for generations. What some people don’t realise is that oats also make a great ingredient in countless savoury or sweet dishes, adding texture and flavour.” Open for entries from today, Flahavan’s Porridge Making Challenge is an All-Ireland competition. Recipe entries along with preparation methods and photographs can be submitted via www.flahavans.com or can be sent by post to E. Flahavan & Sons Ltd. Porridge-Making Challenge, Kilnagrange Mills, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford. Multiple entries can be submitted and there is no age limit. The closing date for entries is 31st January 2010. Terms and conditions are available on www.flahavans.com. According to John Noonan, Marketing Director, Flahavans, “The Flahavan’s Porridge-Making Challenge represents a great opportunity to showcase the versatility of our oats. Many delicious dishes can be created using our oats and we are eager to encourage our customers to enter the competition and tell us their favourite oat-based recipes. ”In his recent series of Flahavan’s oat-based recipes, Kevin has shown his creative use of oats and people can take inspiration from these,” Noonan added. The overall winners and runners up in each category will be announced in February 2010.