As the chilly temperatures arrive in Cape Town and the rain comes down, I start looking for the comfort of hot oats for breakfast. Low in GI and considered a superfood, I really notice that when I eat them, my hunger is abated for a little bit longer. This is a real plus because in winter I seem to wander around in a permanent state of hunger.
I’m quite partial to adding things to my oats and have enjoyed a shot of whiskey in them before. Honey, seeds, stewed fruit and bananas are a regular feature, but this time I wanted to cook the fruit into them. So to my portion of oats that I was making (approx 1 1 /2 cups), I grated an apple and a pear and mixed these in about 5 minutes into the cooking time. Remember to include a pinch of salt, and keep adding boiling water as you go, stirring it almost all the time. I then added about 1/2 – 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla extract just before they were ready.
I love the golden liquid texture and ever so slightly fruity flavour of maple syrup, so for a decadent treat I topped my oats with a few raw almonds and walnuts and drizzled over the syrup. Honey is also delicious, an immune booster and easier to come by.
The pear and the apple cook and dissipate into the oats but the flavour comes through. This is an excellent way to squeeze some extra nutrition into children’s meals without them noticing.
Studies have shown that just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower LDL cholesterol, and it has also been claimed to boost cognitive function and memory. We could all do with a little bit more of that.
I keep a jar of crushed seeds (sesame, linseed, pumpkin and sunflower) in my fridge for the purposes of getting my daily dose of omega 3 & 6, so these are also brilliant to add to your oats. This, and or the nuts add some crunch.
The bottom line is that you can add anything to your cooked oats: fresh banana slices, stewed fruits, prunes, poached apples and pears, whiskey, honey, maple syrup, milk, cream, seeds, nuts, berries, dried berries, raisins, sugar, muesli, oat bran or a combination of these.
What interesting things have you added to your oats?
Have fun, be healthy this winter and take a stand against bland.