I always wondered why it was so often said that making risotto was difficult. All that standing around stirring.
Then I realised. I grew up on porridge and have been making it ever since. Making porridge properly makes cooking risotto look like boiling the kettle. For a start, you're not cooking risotto at six in the morning half asleep and still trying to figure out what day it is.
I suppose it's a similar principle. Like rice, the oat grains need time to absorb the fluid, slowly, so they expel their gluten or whatever it is before taking up some more fluid and so on until the whole mess becomes creamy porridge.
Sometimes I still get it wrong and the grains remain discrete and chewy instead of melting into creaminess. Soaking overnight is meant to help and is it really too much trouble to put them in the pot and cover them with water before going to bed; along with putting out the cat and the bins, locking the back door, switching off the heater, turning off the lights and checking the baby? Yes, well maybe it is. There's nothing like running through checklists before going to bed to keep you awake until three in the morning.
Porridge purists might serve it with nothing but milk and maybe a little sugar, with a pinch of salt in the mix; but I add all sorts of things to it, after cooking, such as bananas and sultanas; sliced peaches and chopped walnuts; wheat germ, plain yogurt and honey; stewed apples and cinnamon. My favourite is just with honey and milk. And six cups of tea to wake me up.
When I was growing up it was always stewed apricots because of the tree. It gave millions of apricots each summer and there we would sit at the breakfast table at the height of summer eating hot porridge with chilled stewed apricots and I can taste it to this day. Exotic, sweet, homely and totally delicious.
What's your breakfast?