September 01, 2015

Chalet School Porridge

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This is history guys. 

This is possibly the first and last time that I am going to call the stuff made with milk and oats into a delicious breakfast 'porridge'. It's oatmeal. Because quite simply- oatmeal is easier to spell. I mean seriously- porridge? 

Oatmeal's much easier. 

Despite this- in the Chalet School books- it's called porridge. Why- when they so often go with European customs- the 24 hour clock- the name of the dining room (Speisesaal)- and meals (Mitagessen- Abendessen). So WHY did they have to go with the hard word 'porridge'. I don't know what the German is for oatmeal- but it can't be harder than the English to spell... right? 

In the books- the porridge often appears in the morning (often along side the rolls) as 'hot bowls of porridge topped with butter and honey'. Now- I am all for a hot bowl of oats for breakfast.... I am not all about the honey and butter. I mean- a) I never use butter. b) I don't generally sweeten my oatmeal in that way. c)neither are MoFo friendly- so I'm just going to have to come up with something similar; but better - right? I mean- butter? On oatmeal? Weird. 

I did try replacing the butter (with the much nicer) coconut oil. But it just didn't feel right. I meal- this is the Chalet School. Even the European food is considered 'different' and practically exotic- there definitely wouldn't of had coconut oil. Not even for a non culinary use. Especially with rationing during 'The War Years'. So coconut oil was a no. To.... not in keeping with the fact that for the general population- coconut oil is barely used in 2015- never mind the first half of the twentieth century. 

So we'll move on and focus on replacing the honey. I could use maple syrup (which I do occasionally use to sweeten oatmeal). But.... although it does feature in one of the books when Joey has some that has been sent from Canada.... it was not right either. And my favorite books are when they are in Austria- so several years before Canada appears in the books. I could have used any liquid sweetener- but I just felt that the oatmeal (sorry- porridge) would become too sweet. Then I remembered Matron's Jam. I can't remember which Matron- but one of them makes good jam. And I can cope with jam on oatmeal. 

If it's very nice jam. Not technically jam but fruit spread... but there was a war going on. Sugar rationing and all that.... And just plain a bit nicer then traditional jam. 

Which means that we are back to replacing the butter. And here I chose the easy road. I just used a 'pat' of a vegan spread. It doesn't really have any amazing health benefits. It doesn't even taste that grate. But... It looks pretty. I'm serious. I didn't want to eat it because it looked so pretty as it melted and the light reflected on it. And it's a beautiful golden yellow color when melted. 

And you eat with your eye's first right? 

(serves 1) 

  • 1/3 of a cup of oats
  • 1 cup of milk (you're favorite kind- almond is my go-to, but I have found that oat is best when heating)
  • pinch of a mixed spice blend (like apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice) - or a pinch each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. 
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan spread (I used a sunflower spread)
  • 1 tablespoon of jam (or fruit spread). If you have something amazing and homemade- even better!!!

  • Mix together the oats, milk and spice in a small pan and place on a low heat. 
  • Stirring constantly- heat until it has thickened nicely. Take your time over a low heat until it has thickened up nicely. If it takes a long time- yipee. If it takes longer than 10 minutes- be patient. It'll be worth it. You want it really thick. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and top with the vegan spread (if you can break it up into little bits across the top of the porridge- yeah!) and the jam (this is best left in one 'dollop' in the middle.) Leave it a few minutes before you dig in so the spread can melt and go all pretty. And try not to have too much of the vegan spread all in one go- cause it really doesn't taste all that grate. 

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