My favourite breakfast! :-) And from the frequency with which I eat them (and love them) quite possibly my favourite food of all. Having favoured convenience food during my teen years I rediscovered the joy of a oats for breakfast around five years ago and have eaten them almost every day since!
Oats are a pretty versatile medium when it comes to toppings; honey, jam, peanut butter, raisins, banana!, apple, nuts, seeds, spices (cinnamon), mix it up! Whatever you like works. Even savoury! But when it comes to cooking them you can become trapped with a limited choice of texture; runny or stodgy. Not very exciting.
Enter: The Oatmeal Pancake!
100% oats. Awesomely healthy!
Lets get rocking!
Non-stick frying pan (with a good non-stick coating)
Spoon or Spatula
Measuring cups (not essential)
Funnel (also not essential)
Knife and fork! (alternatively, eat with your fingers, way more fun)
Whatever takes your fancy! Just make sure its edible...
(I chose banana, honey, cinnamon and sunflower seeds)
On to step one.....
Step 1: Soaking the Oats.
This is a fairly hassle free breakfast but it does require 2 minutes prep the night before.
In order for the oats to cook up properly and in a decent amount of time you'll want to soak them for a good few hours before.
Place your oats into the jar with the desired amount of water for cooking and give them a little stir.
Here I use a 2:1 ratio. So, 2/3 cup water - 1/3 cup oats. (adjust as necessary-eg, 1/2cup Oats - 1cup water)
Place the jar into the fridge and forget about it until the morning.
Background on soaking grains.
Soaking the oats is actually a pretty important step for health reasons too! The hulls (skin) of grains contain phytic acid which if consumed can combine with vitamins and minerals in the gut preventing their absorption. Soaking the oats for a good 7hours before consumption will help break down the phytic acid. This process will work best in a lactic acid solution, so stirring a teaspoon of bio-active yoghurt into the oats (or grains) the night before will enhance the process.
An added bonus of soaking not just oats but all dry grains is that it will boost their nutrient content by fooling them into beginning their germination process. So, its good to get into the habit!
Follow links for more info. Also, if you're interested do your own research, you'll find out way more information than what's contained in these few links.
Saoking oats - health benifits - short anecdotal article
Phytic Acid - Wikipedia - check the food science entry
Step 2: Cooking!
So, over night the oats will have absorbed a decent amount of water and plumped up ready for cooking. You'll also notice that the water will have become slightly cloudy, this is a good sign.
Empty the oats into a cold pan ensuring you include all of the water from the jar.
Place the pan onto a medium/high-high heat and let the oats begin to cook. You'll notice the oats swelling up even more and bubbles will begin forming from the centre.
Once the bubbles have almost engulfed the entire pan give the oats a stir, this will help the gluten from the oats mix with the water and form a nice gooey texture.
Be sure not to over stir! You'll kinda get the feel for it, but when the bubbles begin to die down and the oats become tacky just let them cook off. This is the point where the pancake magic happens! :-)
Step 3: Coffee...
While you're waiting for the pancake to do its thing be sure not to neglect your morning coffee.
There's always time for coffee :-)
Also, use this time to grab your toppings. Today I've chosen banana, sunflower seeds, honey and cinnamon. Delicious!
Step 4: Ckeck!
By now the oats should be firming up nicely.
Pushing in from the edges, much like an omelet, will give you a good indication of how its doing.
When you think its firm enough give the underside a little check by lifting up with a fork.
Step 5: Plate Up!
When you've reached you're desired pancakie texture its time to plate up!
As there's no oil involved in the cooking process this is where a good non-stick pan will come in handy (thanks Mum!).
Just slide the pancake onto your plate and load up with your favourite toppings.
Step 6: Enjoy! :-)
This is about the time you're gonna want to pour another cup of coffee and get ready to savour the fruits of your (minimal) labour.