Back in the kitchen again today, though not literally because I’ve done no cooking as we have been out for lunch with friends. When we eat out at lunchtime it’s a case of ‘every man for himself’ in the evening. Husband will probably make toast or have some cheese and biscuits and I’ll just have some fruit and yogurt….or maybe a bowl of porridge!
Do you ever use oats as an ingredient? I’m not talking oatmeal or oat flour but plain old porridge oats. Oats can be used for so much more than making a bowl of porridge, and with no particular intention, I seem to have been making use of them more often than usual in recent months. I like porridge a lot, but even more so when served with fruit …especially banana, a mix of apple and sultanas or with berries.
I don’t like to eat breakfast too early so on work days I take something with me for mid-morning. Lately I’ve been taking overnight oats which is a popular Slimming World option. Layered with yogurt and fruit, the oats become incredibly creamy after infusing for several hours. Next morning, mix the ingredients and if required, add a little sweetener. Since first trying them a couple of weeks ago, my daughter has been enjoying them every single day! We both favour peach yogurt and raspberries, preferably frozen are best as the juice makes for even more flavour.
Baked oats is another favourite with Slimming World members. I sometimes make mine into mini ‘muffins baked with a few raspberries. I’d be misleading you if I said they could replace a traditional muffin and they are denser in texture, but I like them. I’ve also made this recipe into a dessert, again with raspberries but topped with flaked almonds and served with 0% Greek Yogurt or custard, it proved popular. The dish on the left contains rhubarb and ginger baked oats. That was really yummy! I’ve also made a savoury version of the muffins by missing out the sweetener and adding a bit of Parmesan on top. They were okay but not as successful as the raspberry version.
Oats can be used to make bread too. Mixed with natural yogurt and seeds and flavoured with rosemary it makes a dense, crumbly loaf (scone-like in texture) which is especially good with soup, or delicious toasted and spread with marmite.
Little oaty biscuits to eat with cheese are so simple to make. Mix 35g of oats with one whisked egg and a sprinkle of salt and rosemary. Leave for ten minutes to allow the oats to swell a little and then place teaspoons of the mixture on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with fry-lite (makes eight). Flatten them down and pop in the oven (around 170c) for about 8-10 minutes .
By adding a couple of spoons of sweetener and a few raisins to the mix (leave out the Rosemary!) you can rustle up cookies ….. ideal for one of those occasions when you deliberately didn’t buy biscuits because you decided to be ‘good’ but are now kicking yourself because there’s nothing sweet to go with your cup of coffee!
Do you like muesli? Just add whatever you fancy to raw oats; you can vary the ingredients to suit your own preferences and make up a large batch at a time. I like sultanas, nuts (brazils, walnuts and hazelnuts), sunflower seeds and a few bits of crystallised ginger, and if I have any I’ll use dried banana and coconut too. I can’t say it costs any less (why are nuts so expensive?) but I must have tried nearly every ‘luxury’ museli on the market and not one tastes as good as home-made.
Unfortunately I can no longer buy one of my favourite cereals – Oatibix bites which were tiny versions of the larger ones – but I do use the large ones to make Oatibix cake . I don’t have a picture but ‘think malt-loaf’.
I often add a handful of oats to a crumble mixture – not too big a handful though as the crumble can become a bit sticky when cooked.
And the best thing is that OATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! They’re said to be one of the most nutritiously-dense foods you can eat, containing a whole host of essential vitamins and minerals in generous proportions. They are also rich in antioxidants and fibre.