Nigel Slater’s Classic Porridge
I was brought up on sweet, milky porridge made with rolled oats, but that all changed when I was shown how to make it by champion porridge maker Ian Bishop from Carrbridge in Scotland. My method is now his.
Pour three cups of water into a small saucepan and place over a moderate heat. Tip in one cup of medium oatmeal and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. As soon as the porridge starts to blip, add half a teaspoon of salt. Continue stirring until the porridge has been cooking for a total time of 5 minutes. Tip into warm bowls. Have a bowl of cold milk or cream ready. Lift a spoonful of hot porridge and dip it into the cold milk or cream and eat.
Only stir your porridge clockwise or you risk summoning the devil. A wooden spurtle will get right into the corners and prevent your porridge from sticking. Eat immediately it is ready. The porridge will thicken as it cools. Use medium oatmeal rather than rolled oats. Add salt to all porridge, even if you are going to sweeten it afterwards.
Each to his own, but porridge is correctly made with water rather than milk. The usual embellishments are red-berry jams, golden syrup or honey, but other ideas include a compote of stewed dried figs, maple syrup or a mixture of fresh berries, sugar and ground cinnamon. You could also leave it to set into cakes and fry it in butter. Oatmeal ice cream, made with toasted oatmeal and cream, while not quite porridge, is certainly worth a visit, too.