Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cereal for simpletons ~ rolled oats and muesli for a good meal

Oats is an excellent food: the Self Nutrition Data web page advises that:
This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium.  It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese. 
Those interested in nutritional values may wish to note this website for further reference.

Rolled oats is the most commonly available form of oats and the basis of the two food suggestions given here.  The quantities given make enough for two portions.

(1)  Muesli 
This comes in many shapes and sizes.  If you buy it ready-made, it's likely to be costly and loaded with sugar.  If you make it yourself you are likely to find that many recipes include a wide range of ingredients which one might not otherwise have. 

In contrast, this muesli recipe is simple and thrifty: it has no added sugar, five ingredients at most, all of which are reasonably priced, and takes less time and effort to make than poaching an egg.  Watching a piece of toast cook might take as long.  Eat it fresh and enjoy the fragrance as well as the flavour.
  • Rolled oats - 1 cup
  • Coconut - shredded - a third of a cup
  • Sunflower seeds - a quarter of a cup
  • Vegetable oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Sultanas if you have them and want them in it.
Heat the oil, add sultanas first (if it occurs to you!), then the oats, stirring briskly.  Add the coconut and sunflower seeds and cook for a couple of minutes until it's lightly toasted and smells delicious.  Take off the heat to avoid scorching, and serve immediately with whatever else you like, fresh or preserved fruit, milk, yoghurt and so on.
    You may wish to experiment with leaving out the oil entirely.  It's all a matter of personal preference. 

(2) When you want a change or if you are digestively challenged here is an alternative.  
It takes about the same amount of preparation but you do need to think about it in advance.  As with the above recipe, measures are approximate.
  • Rolled oats - one cup
  • Sunflower seeds - a quarter of a cup
  • Sultanas or chopped dates, if you like them
  • Apple - one fresh
  • Fruit juice - perhaps about a cup.
Soak the sunflower seeds or other nuts in fruit juice overnight or for an hour or so.
Soak the rolled oats and dried fruit in a small amount of fruit juice diluted with perhaps the same amount of water (undiluted fruit juice may make the flavour too concentrated).  Let it stand for perhaps ten minutes.
Grate the apple and mix it all together.
Serve as it is or with fruit and yoghurt as desired.  It is quite tangy.  If you like cottage cheese you might enjoy a spoonful or so of this with it.  The flavours are good together.

(3) Porridge:
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how to prepare this!

Notes:
(1) The most commonly available form of rolled oats looks more like flakes of oats than the traditional equivalent which really are oats which have been rolled flat!  Anyone who has tried these will know that they are a much a more challenging grain to prepare and eat.  While I'm sure they are an excellent food I have yet to acquire a taste for them.
(2) Harraways is a big supplier of rolled oats products here in New Zealand and is locally owned and operated.  I buy their product in preference to others.  They have their own line of fully certified organic products about which their website provides details. 

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