The month of June was saturated in copious amounts of studying with specks of excitement as I made a last minute trip to Singapore to celebrate Mumma’s birthday with her and of course visit Lil’ Bro who has less than a week left before graduating from Basic Military Training!
While in Singapore there were many dinners and celebrations of which one was a wedding, thus one could infer that it was indeed a fortunate coincidence that my ‘study vacation’ was abnormally long due to the dear old exam timetabling system.
Fast forwarding through a whirlwind trip, I landed back in Sydney with the prospect of 3rd year exams looming and three weeks of study hibernation clawing me into a draining ordeal. Only joking, it was not that dramatic but it was a tiring yet productive few weeks.
Over the past two years I have learnt the importance of fueling the brain with the right foods during this time. Not only does it provide for a productive session but allows me to take a breath, albeit quick. Time spent in the kitchen in the mornings before a day of study and during lunch hour somehow provides some form therapeutic relief from the technicalities of biochemistry and pharmacology.
Most mornings were filled with warming oats; eaten with pure class straight from the pot. As they say ‘practice makes perfect’ and I found myself discovering delicious combinations and improving in the ‘art of oats’. Given the wintery chill enveloping Sydney I would say that this breakfast staple was my survival aid and comfort.
Tips for Oat-Making Beginners
1. The amount of water you use will determine the texture that you achieve
For oats with more ‘chew’ use less liquid and for super creamy oats use more liquid
2. Cook on LOW heat i.e. cook with LOVE
Even if you use less liquid you can still achieve a creamy texture! In addition, you don’t want to burn your oats!
3. If you don’t have milk don’t stress
Using water will still produce a delicious bowl of goodness. In fact, I prefer to use water as my primary liquid and add my milk at the very end. I feel that this retains the fresh taste of the milk but of course it is all up to personal preference.
4. Add in your bananas/apples (fruit of choice) at the beginning and cook together with your oats
This allows your fruits to ‘stew’ and soften, releasing flavours into your oats. I always used to chop up my fruits as a topping, but realised how much flavour was infused via this method.
5. Toppings – anything goes!
I have always loved to add nut butters, but have recently discovered the beauty of Nutella. Lil’ Bro left many tubs behind when he headed off to Singapore so I have been trying to find easy ways of using this delicious treat (other than the obvious toast spread).
Fresh fruits are also great – save some from the fruit you cook with your oats!
Finally, to balance out the soft textures I like to add a sprinkle of granola. At the moment I am very much enjoying the new Woolworth’s Home Brand Orange Granola Clusters and Coconut Macadamia Toasted Granola.
6. Cinnamon and ginger
This warming and comforting combination of spices not only adds to the overall flavour but they also provide numerous health benefits! I always mix these in before I cook the oats.
7. Sweetness can be added in many forms
I love to use dates as a natural sweetener as they provide my digestive system with a good dose of fibre. If dates are not being craved I use honey or maple syrup. I have yet to try adding some good berry jam on top…but there’s another idea!
1. Apple + Date + Peanut Butter
2. Banana + Honey + Nutella/Peanut Butter
Thus comes an end to Mornings with Ming and my 2014 Oat Series! Hopefully I have not bored you all :)
I am now in the antithesis of Sydney winter and back in Singapore! More posts to come :)
If you’re sick of looking at oats, I have provided a photo of toast hehe.