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20090831

Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

I have a fondness for eating porridge for breakfast. It all started when I was diagnosed as a mild type 2 diabetic. Oatmeal is a good source of starch which the body can convert slowly into blood glucose. My wife, who doesn't like porridge, calls it "gruel".

While reading through a book of Celtic recipes recently, I came across a recipe for Scottish Gruel. "Why", I thought, "did gruel get such a bad reputation?" Charles Dickens portrayed it as a very lowly meal for workhouse boys in his novel Oliver Twist.

But gruel doesn't have to be a bland, tasteless meal for boys living in poverty. I thought I could improve on Dickensian gruel. I succeeded. I created a gruel that would have had boys lining up to get into the workhouse - and asking for more!

Ingredients
  • 3 level tablespoons Hamlyn's Oatmeal
  • 3 cups of water
  • Honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shot Scotch Whisky

Preparation
  • Mix the oatmeal with a little cold water and stir into a smooth paste
  • Heat the remainder of the water and stir into the oatmeal
  • Bring to the boil and cook gently for 15 minutes
  • Stir in the butter, honey (use enough to sweeten to taste)
  • The last ingredient is optional - stir in a shot of Scotch Whisky

John's Notes
I offered my wife (who doesn't like porridge, remember) a small bowl of Blighty's Britfood Gruel. She liked it - and asked for more! Cast aside your prejudices about gruel and give this recipe a try.

My wife and I decided it was a very pleasant tasting and nutritious light meal. We tried adding a little cream to it. My wife thought it was even better with cream, but I preferred it without. You can experiment with different flavourings if you wish. What about strawberry gruel, vanilla gruel, or banana gruel?

Oliver Twist would have liked living in my workhouse.

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