• clairhenderson

Oats of Many Colours

Food trends, like clothes and music are constantly changing. And like coleslaw is now just SLAW, porridge is now just OATS. We don't do porridge any more. No way. No how. Except I really like porridge. And this recipe is a lot like porridge. Except it's not. So you'll like it. I promise.

Like many of my tips on getting more fruit and veg into your weekly dishes, this is a great one for using up leftover fruit, fruit that's 'on the turn', fruit that you're not sure what else to do with, fruit that you have a glut of, or indeed, fruit that you're learning to love because it's seasonal and everyone says it's good for you!

And also like most of my tips, I'm not too bothered about specific recipes. I am a strong believer that specifying weights, temperatures, times and even ingredients, can be BAD for us. They mean we don't learn to trust our intuition, our senses, it can lead to waste, and we forget the old tricks our grandmothers taught us. It's not just the Italian Nonas, you know. We all had grandmothers that knew a thing or two about pastry and potatoes.

And the idea of specific measurements is particularly absurd when it comes to vegetables. When a recipe says '1 onion' I do wonder how on earth Delia knows how big my onions are this week?

So yes, I think we can be too reliant on recipes. They can be great for first getting to grips with something. But after that, they're great for inspiration, but it's better to get curious and practice our culinary initiative.

And this is one of those recipes. It's very hard to go wrong, so once you've got the basic idea, you can waft confidently around your kitchen trying all sorts of combinations. Apple and cinnamon, classic. If it's too classic, what about banana and goji? or pear & cardamom? I would very very much welcome hearing how you get on. Good luck.


The general rule, I find, is to mix twice as much liquid as oats. The amount I suggest here will be roughly four good sized portions. I always use plant based milk and I would urge you to do the same. Not just for all the wonderful reasons you already know, but also because I cook enough for two days, often leaving the second half lurking about in the slow cooker for 24hours. Whilst is this perfectly safe with plant based milk, it's probably not best to risk it with animal milk.

1 1/2 cups of oats

3 cups of plant based milk

2 good sized apples

1 tbsp sweetener (maple syrup/honey/sugar/golden syrup)

pinch salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon


1. Wash your apples and grate them, peel too, into your slow cooker. Being sure to toss the skinny core into the food waste.

2. Mix everything else into the apples. Check for sweetness and dial up if you need to.

3. Turn your slow cooker on before you go to bed.

4. In the morning, serve with some extra milk or yogurt and sprinkle some nuts or seeds over the top to make it look proper cheffy. Enjoy and spend the morning feeling super smug that you have already had one of your five a day! x

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