Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honey Walnut Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of those foods that we've been eating since childhood,  whenever we visited my German grandma in Canada she always sprinkled some natural dried oats (quaker) into a bowl and then poured some chocolate milk over and told us to eat up for breakfast.  This cereal would keep us full all day long and especially on those days that we were out taking the bus  to explore the city with my aunt or uncle.  We loved it.

Never met anyone else who ate it this way, I guess it's a bit like Muesli but this is just your ordinary quaker oats (not the instant, but the blue bag) and it doesn't really melt in the cold milk.  It's amazing with chocolate milk, that's for sure. 

It's a little ironic that I haven't actually learned to eat warm cooked oatmeal until I travelled to YEMEN, yep, 

There have been a few times that my mother attempted to cook oatmeal and eat it, but she always cooked it with water and I always turned it down.

It wasn't until I was visiting Yemen at 19 years or age and noticed that they sell these small bags of Quaker oatmeal at every corner store, all I could think of was what the Yemeni people were doing with these oats until one day the people I stayed with told me that they're going to make some "Shorba" -  Shorba in Arabic means soup, like shorbat Ads (lentil soup) shorbat dajjaj (chicken soup) ... etc.   I expected them to whip up some soup but instead they reached for the little bag of oats and began soaking them in some water in a  sauce pan. 

This was getting interesting, I watched attentively as the oats absorbed the water and then they poured milk over it and sprinkled in a bit of salt.  The pot was set on the heat (medium low) and it was slowly stirred until the oats softened and the milk was absorbed into it, like a thick porridge/pudding but not too thick as it continues to cook after removing from the heat.

They poured it into a shallow pan/dish and then dotted the top with small cubes of butter which melted from the still warm oatmeal. 

I remember really enjoying it, thinking to myself that I "could" eat this!!  Now whenever I make it I sprinkle a bit of sugar on top and add some dried fruits (and of course the butter!) or whatever I'm in the mood for and it's a fabulous breakfast.  I still refuse to eat the oatmeal cooked with water but if it is cooked with milk (2% should be ok) then why not.    I love the dash of salt added before cooking, it really does make it.

In the photo below I topped it with butter, a drizzle of honey (which I brought back from Cuba, it's $1 a jar and organic, who could refuse?) and some soaked walnuts - dried walnuts soaked in water for 6 hours or so - ups the nutritional value and makes a crunchy topping, I just love 'em. 

It might be stupid for me to be going on about oatmeal, something that half the population is eating and the other half probably just despises but I'm just really happy that I came around even though it took a trip half way across the world, haha!

So if you want to try it out you just need:

- Regular oats (Quaker oats are great, in the dark blue and red bag, NOT instant or 1 minute)
- Water (soak it just enough to cover, then let it sit until almost absorbed in the pot - just until you get your milk and other ingredients ready,  2-5 mins)
- Milk, top it up with milk, and about an inch to cover the surface of the oatmeal, you can add more as you cook if it needs more.
- Pinch of salt
- Knob of butter (for dotting when it's done and poured into a bowl)

- Toppings: Sugar, cinnamon, cooked apples, dried fruit, honey, whatever floats your boat. 

1 comment:

Libellula Jewelry™ said...

I adore oatmeal but I've never tried soaking the walnuts. I'll definitely try that tonight. I'm curious to see how they are different.

Thanks for sharing so many great recipes and tips. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog.