As a kid, porridge was one of those foods I never warmed to. Maybe it was because the word 'porridge' always sounded to me like some sort of wrong hybrid between 'horrid' and 'podgy', but it's more likely due to a bad experience on a school trip where I was given a bowl of flavourless, watery gruel masquerading under the name. It wasn't until much later in life that I discovered that I really liked it.
Mornflake Superfast Oats are one of the things that can always be found in my food cupboard, because they're filling, healthy, versatile and cheap. Porridge was recently described by TV's Bill Turnbull as 'the breakfast of champions', and I'd be inclined to agree with him. From a nutritional point of view, porridge oats are loaded with protein, vitamin B, complex carbs and lots of fibre. As a starting point for the day you can't really go wrong. I find a decent sized bowl of this porridge keeps me going to lunchtime, even when I go running or hiking and burn it all off.
These porridge oats are a doddle to make, as the name suggests. I just bung a handful or two into a bowl, add milk and/or water and nuke it in the microwave for two minutes, with a pause in between. It's also easy to make on the hob, so if I'm making it for two of us or more it's more efficient to boil it up on the hob.
While it's pretty uninteresitng to eat on its own, it gets more interesting when adding some extra bits and pieces. There are a million and one ways to serve porridge, as it can be jazzed up with dried fruit, seeds and nuts, bananas, blueberries, honey, spices... At the moment, cinnamon, nutmeg and dries figs are my favourite way to make it more appealing. Sometimes my wife makes what is known as 'fairy porridge' in our household - the recipe is a closely guarded secret, but I'm pretty sure that it has cream, ground almonds, mixed spice and a glug of mead in it. It's fab, but is reserved for special occasions like Christmas or birthdays or when/if the Queen comes for breakfast. Highland purists may be waving their claymores at me in rage, as the traditional ingredients to porridge is water, oats and salt. If wallpaper paste is your thing, then go for it...
There's more to them than just porridge, of course. These can be used to make your own flapjack or oatcakes, as well as interesting oaty bread. I recently used them to make a big load of low-sugar flapjack (stuff in the shops is usually loaded with it and tastes rotten) and they came out great. Solid-state porridge in portable chunks - perfect for taking on a hike through the peaks.
These cost just pence (69, I think but can't be precise, sorry. If it's 79, it's hardly going to break the bank) from Home Bargains for a 500g bag, so I usually grab a few whenever I'm passing. In these lean times, being able to serve up a filling, nutritious breakfast for a few pence per go is a complete win in my book. These are oats (Avena sativa), nice and simple with no weird added preservatives.
*** 'A Great British Cereal'***
---Why I Buy This---
I have always enjoyed a bowl of creamy porrdge - but it is not something that one always wants to do as you then have dirty saucepans to clean up.
However when my sons were young we came across the Mornflake brand which would provide the three of us with huge bowls of creamy porridge for a quick snack after we had been out for walks or building dens. This we would often eat as it was a quick meal that we all liked and it was also healthy.
---The Brand & Its History---
'Mornflake have been milling oats since 1675, making them the longest established miller of oats and cereal in the UK. 15 generations later, they are still independently owned and managed by the direct descendants of the original miller, William Lea.' (Mornflake website)
---Old Marketing - The Three Horses---
'A familiar image on Mornflake packaging in years gone by was a wonderful image of three horses pulling a 'binder' to cut the oats. Flossy, Metal & Bonnie were a prominent feature on the packs for over 5 decades and are still on many of the Mornflake export packs sold around the world.' (Mornflake website)
(Unfortunately the logo has now been 'improved' for the UK market.)
The 2kg bag that I am reviewing comes in a large clear plastic bag.
Called 'Superfast Oats' and with a Union Jack on the front and the slogan 'A Great British Cereal'.
There are yellow and brown images of plants and oats.
You are advised to store in a cool dry place and to put in an airtight container once opened.
There is a little map with the logo 'Made in Cheshire'.
* High fibre.
* Helps actively reduce Cholesterol.
* 100% wholegrain.
* Allergy warning - contains gluten and oats.
* The pack contains 50x40g servings.
* Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
This can be cooked wither on the hob or in the microwave.
* HOB - Use 40grams of oats to 285mls water (half a pint) - or use milk or half milk if you prefer a creamier porridge. Heat the milk and oats to boiling on the hob and cook for 1 minute - stirring all the time - them cover and leave to stand for 1 minute. Serve with either sugar or salt.
* MICROWAVE - (based on 800 watt oven) - mix 40 grams of oats with 285mls (half a pint) - or use milk or half milk if you prefer a creamier porridge. In a large bowl cook uncovered on high for 4 minutes, stir well and then cook for a further 2 minutes. Stand for 1 minute and then serve with sugar or salt.
£2.19 for 2 kgs at Tesco.
---Other Oat Items from Mornflake---
Oats 2 Go Sachets
Oats 2 Go Pots
I just love these porridge oats.
I used to buy them in a health food store - and once tried I have never wanted to use other brands. Then I would occasionally pick them up in a local Iceland.
Latterly as I have had to do my shopping online I found them hard to find - but now I can order them online with Tesco, which is great.
I have bought other brands in the past when I could not find Mornflake - but even the premium brands did not seem to make porridge the way I wanted it.
I do not do porridge for breakfast but will often have as a late snack or meal. It is quick to cook and very filling and nutritious.
Now I mostly cook the porridge for myself. I do not weigh the oats out but use about half of a mug of oats to a mug of semi or skimmed milk.
(I have made this with water or half and half if I have run out of milk - it is ok but I prefer the porridge to be creamier if I can.)
This heats quickly on the hob and you have to keep stirring - then keep stirring and cook for a minute once it has started to bubble. I then cover and leave it to stand - the instructions on the bag say to leave for 1 minute but I will often leave for 3-5 minutes.
It is still nice and hot and I stir in a teaspoon of sugar and possibly a little milk or water if it is too stiff (but I like it quite thick anyway).
This gives me a good bowlful which is very filling - oats are supposed to be good for your cholesterol anyway - so as well as a quick cheap meal I am getting some health benefits too.
These oats are also great if you wish to add them to your baking - but I prefer to just have them as porridge as and when I feel like it.
The oats have a really long shelf life and the large bag lasts absolutely ages. I keep mine in a cupboard in the plastic bag but after making a hole in the top to open I keep it closed with one of those long wire ties.
Based on their sizes of servings it works out at under 5p for the oats per serving - but extra of course if you add milk instead of water.
---Would I Recommend?---
Made with generations of care by:
North Western Mills
CW2 6HP U.K.