TAKE the time to soak the grains for this porridge before cooking and you will be rewarded with the most luscious, creamy breakfast imaginable.
In Scotland and Ireland, where oats are a staple grain, many a kitchen dresser would have had two drawers dedicated to oats: one filled with whole oats, the other lined with tin and filled with the family's supply of cooked porridge, which would be portioned out and reheated as needed.
Cook once and eat twice, it seems, is not an entirely new concept.
Whole oats have a fabulous chewy texture and burst with creamy goodness.
The rye adds an element of nuttiness and their addition makes for a more interesting and nutritious porridge.
The creamiest oat and rye porridge
Serves about 6
INGREDIENTS: 50g (1⁄2 cup) rolled oats
50g (1⁄4 cup) whole or rolled rye, optional
100g (1⁄2 cup) whole oats
875 ml (31⁄2 cups) filtered water, plus extra if needed
2 pinches sea salt
milk, as required
METHOD: The evening before you plan to make the porridge, combine the rolled oats, rye and whole oats in a saucepan, and cover with the filtered water.
Stir and cover with a lid. Leave on the kitchen bench overnight.
The next day, add the salt to the soaked grains, put over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Stir well using a spurtle, or wooden spoon, cook for 30-40 minutes over very low heat, until the oats are soft and creamy.
Add extra water or milk as required, just enough to form a stirrable consistency.
Ladle into warm bowls with your choice of toppings.
Any leftovers can be blended with toasted nuts, dried fruit, and nut or dairy milk, to add to a smoothie or use as an alternative to cream.
A spurtle is a traditional wooden instrument made for stirring porridge. It has a turned end and does the job perfectly.
Because it has little surface area, it is very easy to wash up. Mine was a gift I treasure.
Any scorched (not burnt) grains can be rescued by simply covering the pot with a lid and sitting it in cold water for 10 minutes.
Remove the pot and taste the surface grains; if they don't taste burnt, you can scoop the top layer into a new pot and continue to cook them.
Images and recipes from Ferment by Holly Davis (Murdoch Books, RRP $45).