Monday, 5 November 2012

Baked autumn apple oatmeal

Last week, instead of going to the grocery shop, I ordered delivery. That's one of the things I consider an absolute luxury in this country, ordering groceries to your front door and only paying a few quid for it. Obviously the delivery price varies depending on your time slot. Fortunately the cheapest ones are the ones late in the evening, which is the only time I am at home anyways. So delivered groceries always mean too much groceries. As I don't have a car, weekly grocery shopping for me literally means some heavy lifting. So when I'm ordering online, I tend to pile on anything stockable. Beans, chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, flour... If it keeps, I will order it.

Sometime (ok, ok, every time...) I go a bit overboard with my grocery delivery orders, just out of the joy of not having to carry it all home myself. Currently my kitchen is stocked with several kilograms of flour, several kilograms of chopped tomatoes, half a dozen packs of chickpeas. And right now, also at least three weeks worth of eggs. I mistakenly ordered two 15 egg cartons, when I was going to buy two 10 egg cartons. So right now I'm trying to come up with lots of recipes which require eggs. For some strange reason I only come up with super-unhealthy foods... Pasta carbonara, meringues, custard, lemon curd, macarons. I also managed to completely overdo the fruit order this week. A big bag of pears, apples, bananas and two big bags of satsumas. The bananas are no problem, I will ignore them until they are over-ripe, at which point there is only one alternative left - banana bread! But the apples and pears... They will keep for a while, but I'm trying to use them up as much as possible. I would love to bake something and pop it in the freezer, but my tiny little freezer is packed to the brim with salmon and chicken from said grocery delivery. And my slow cooker is loaded with mustard and chilli flavoured pork loin with pineapple, vinegar and onions. It will be slowly bubbling away all night, which means that when I wake up in the middle of the night to my inevitable leg cramps, I will also have to fight the urge to pick up a fork and just start chewing away on that lovely smelling porky pork.

And off I went on a tangent again. Back to the apples and pears. I've been working hard trying to get rid of them, I made a wonderful apple and pear crumble for two and some pear and chocolate scones. But there was still more. And I have been wanting to make baked oatmeal for quite a while, ever since the almighty Pinterest threw this recipe at me. It's a recipe for almond and blueberry baked oatmeal and it's from a blog called Healthy Food for Living. I don't like almonds, and I don't have blueberries, but I do love the idea of baked oatmeal. It's almost like a healthified version of my earlier crumble. And I got another chance to use my lovely pink single serving ramekins, which I love love love.

Baked apple oatmeal (serves 2):
50 g porridge oats
1 cup milk of choice (I used skimmed, although I guess almond or rice milk would also work)
1 egg
2 tbsp maple syrup (can be halved or omitted if you want to be super healthy)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 apple

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Mix oats, milk, egg, maple syrup and spices. Chop the apple into small cubes and add to the oatmeal. Divide into two single serving ramekins and bake for about 20 minutes.

The verdict:
I try not to eat oatmeal too often, as I'm trying to minimise the amount of grain in my diet. But I absolutely adore all forms of porridge. I love rice porridge, semolina porridge and oat porridge. And this is definitely pimped up oat porridge. Baking it in the oven, and adding egg really gives it a wonderful texture. Also, this is much easier to make in the morning, as regular oatmeal needs stirring while it's cooking (unless you use those pouches of microwavable oatmeal, with all that added sugar and whatnot) but this just needs a quick whisk and can be left in the oven while doing whatever it is you do in the mornings.

The spices and maple syrup gives the oatmeal a wonderful flavour that complements the apples really well. And the apple goes lovely and soft, but still retains a bit of chewiness giving the dish a wonderful texture together with the soft oats. I will definitely be making this specific oatmeal again, and also develop other flavour combinations. Blueberry, strawberry, pear, possibly even banana (although I'm slightly suspicious about banana, but will probably try it at some point). Maybe banana and almond butter? I think berries probably release enough liquid to justify decreasing the amount of milk a bit to make sure the oatmeal it doesn't get soggy. Next week I'll probably do an pear and vanilla variation. Oh and maybe at some point do a weekend version with chocolate chips. There we go, chocolate is back in my thoughts. But I'm quite proud of myself, I think I made it through several posts without a single mention of chocolate. Could I be starting to heal from my chocoholism? Meeeh... not going to happen. Ever!

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