Tuesday 17 January 2012

Baked Oatmeal

What inspires you?

My tastes have changed over time. I stumbled upon 101 Cookbooks when I first started blogging. I (insert collective gasp) wasn't too sure about it and clicked away - I guess I thought it was a bit lacking on the refined sugar/butter/cake front.

It's a bit like Harry Potter. I started reading the Philosopher's Stone in the summer of '99, got a chapter or two in and gave up (not something I often do). Fast forward a few years and I was a fully fledged Harry Potter fan (I may or may not have spent a sizeable proportion of my early teens on HP websites, hotly debating Harry's future love life).

Nowadays I find myself drawn to different blogs, to different books. I'm slowly changing the foods I choose to make - not out of recognition, but as my skills and knowledge develop and as I explore, I guess I'm unconsciously making slightly different choices. For instance, at the moment I'm particularly drawn to dishes with a history, tradition or story.

I find inspiration in lots of places - to me it's a general creative feeling that touches everything I do, not only what ends up in my oven. I obviously love food blogs (my absolute favourites are on my blogroll on the sidebar) but things like art, literature, light, scenery, photographs (see Brian Ferry) and flowers (see Amy Merrick) find their way in too. There are loads of amazing and slightly different magazines and journals out there - instead of my old Good Food and delicious, I now read Gastronomica, Remedy and Fire & Knives. Old cookbooks, my grandma's cookbooks, return wonderful recipes.

Of course, a new cookbook can revitalize your ideas too - I finally bought Heidi's Super Natural Every Day to give to my mum for Christmas (I got my copy through amazon from the US but it's officially released here in March). This was one the best things we tried - it's wonderfully filling and feels healthy yet sweet. Perfect for a special weekend breakfast where you want something a bit more substantial than waffles/pancakes etc.

I made this again yesterday with pears in the bottom instead of bananas which worked really well. The frozen fruit mix I used this time had strawberries which was a bit odd (my usual one is raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants & blackcurrants) so perhaps avoid them if you share my aversion to cooked strawberries. I'd like to try substituting coconut milk too.

I also browned the butter. I can't help myself. Time passes but I'm still hopelessly addicted - and inspired - by its nutty tones.

Baked Oatmeal
(adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day)

45g butter
200g porridge oats (rolled)
60g walnuts, toasted*
60g soft brown sugar (or maple syrup)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
475ml milk
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
2 bananas in thick slices*
approx 150g mixed frozen summer berries*
maple syrup, to serve

Preheat the oven to 190C/370F. Butter a 20cm square baking dish. Melt the butter in a small pan then keep heating - it will foam up and then die down - take off the heat when it is filled with brown flecks and smelling gloriously nutty. Put aside to cool a little.

Mix the oats, 1/2 the nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. In another bowl whisk the milk, egg, 1/2 the butter and vanilla together. Arrange the banana slices on the bottom of the dish and sprinkle about 2/3 of the berries over the bottom of the dish. Tip the oat mixture over the top and spread it out over the berries. Drizzle the milk mixture over the top, making sure all the oats are wet. Thwack on the counter to evenly distribute it. Scatter the rest of the nuts and berries over the top.

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until it is set and golden. Drizzle the rest of the brown butter (you may have to warm it a little) over the top and serve with maple syrup (and possibly some cream).

* You could swap up the nuts and fruits as you like or according to season. I always have some frozen summer berries in the freezer - they worked perfectly and didn't need to be defrosted. I was skeptical about walnuts but they actually worked really well.

(Serves 6-8)


  1. I have had baked oatmeal before, but it never looked that good!

  2. Mmm, your oatmeal looks fantastic. I know exactly what you mean about tastes changing. There are so many blogs I enjoyed that I don't enjoy anymore, and so many new ones I love that I would have clicked away from in the past. It's definitely a good thing :D

  3. Oooh I've recently discovered the joys of baked oatmeal and boy oh boy do I love it! My tastes are changing as well, I can definitely relate.

  4. I heart grains and cereal so much! Especially homemade grains and cereal! And extra especially when they're baked! There's no better way to start the day, in my opinion :)

  5. The link to my blog is wrong for some reason. For the correct link, click on my name on THIS COMMENT.

  6. och! delicious;)love for healthy breakfast!

  7. This looks absolutely gorgeous - almost as much a dessert as breakfast!

    Completely agree on tastes changing too - recently I've started reading lots of new blogs and also opening my mind to recipe books I'd never have been tempted to try even a year ago.

  8. Oh how I love this recipe. It's amazing and Heidi really does do it right every single time.

  9. Emma, you manage to make porridge look so inviting. Well done!

  10. I book Heidi's book for Christmas for my best friend and wish I'd added another one for myself. I find inspiration in so many places - my trouble is searching and searching through the limitless sources out there and starting to create for myself. Thanks for these links - that's just expanded my horizons a little more!

  11. Delicious! I love oats, porridge and anything to do with breakfast :) YUM YUM YUM!

  12. Jolene - Hehe! Thank you, I'm pleased with these photos - and berries/brown butter etc are always inviting.

    Heidi @ Food Doodles - Definitely a good thing! Positive evolution :) It's interesting to see which ones stay - sometimes even despite my interest in the subject waning - simply because of the quality of the writing/photography etc.

    MrsJenB - I only heard about it fairly recently - it's definitely a US thing. It's great to have a varied breakfast repertoire.

    Angela @ the fairy bread chronicles - There's nothing quite so filling and warming, I agree. I'd like to experiment with other types of grains.

    Monisia - Always good to find things that are a combination of healthy and delicious!

    thelittleloaf - It is almost dessert! Thought it isn't very sweet and the oatyness makes it feel a bit filling for pudding. I guess it's just the expending of horizons and wanting to learn more.

    Madison Mayberry - Brilliant, isn't it! Glad you like it too - I can imagine it being your cup of tea.

    Gretchen - Thanks :) I nearly renamed it Baked Porridge but decided that is sounded pretty horrible and didn't do this recipe justice at all!

    Domestic Executive - I know what you mean - there's so much out there. Glad you liked the links - lots of gorgeous things to be found.

    Daisy@Nevertoosweet - Breakfast is such an awesome meal. I'm really starting to get into cooked breakfasts (other than fry-ups!) - french toast, waffles, this etc. So many wonderful options.

  13. I totally agree with you about breakfast being awesome. I think it is pretty much my favourite meal especially when it comes to pancakes, muffins, crumpets, croissants, danish pastries, french toast, drop scones, homemade bread, nut and seed-packed granola with yogurt and fresh berries, smoked salmon and scrambled egg on seeded toast...mmmmmmmm... but never a fry up, a slice of white sliced toast or commercial cereal with milk! I am not actually a fan of porridge but do love granola (always with yogurt never with milk!)and have been inspired by your post to give baked oatmeal a go. It looks and sounds delicious and right up my street. As it is just for me, I am going to scale down the recipe. Like you, I do not have an issue with using just half an egg, or less, as I can always find a use for the remainder, even it is is just added to scrambled eggs (but it usually does in cake / cookies!). However, please could you let me know if this keeps at all, or if I really should just aim for one portion, albeit it, no doubt, a large one? Thank you in advance.

  14. I finally got round to making this this morning. It was as delicious as I'd hoped except I wasn't a huge fan of the walnuts. I don't like them generally and find them a bit bitter...I reckon pecans, however, would be EXCELLENT. Going to try it with pears or apricots instead of bananas next...or maybe plums...yum! The best bit is the corner section where the top layer of oats has gone really crusty...oh so good.

  15. Oooh this looks soo yummy!! It does serve a lot of people though, and unfortunately it's just me that eats breakfast. Do you know if leftovers keep well in the fridge, and then reheated? Thank you!

  16. Elly - Glad you enjoyed it! I'm not a huge walnut fan either, but I quite like the way the bitterness works here.

    Lucy and Anon - Sorry for the delayed reply. We've successfully scaled down before - using half an egg (which, just for info, should weigh about 25-27g). It does keep in the fridge & reheat - it's not as good as it is the first time, but still lovely. Also - it slightly depends on the fruit you put on the bottom - I used pears instead of bananas once and they kept a bit better.


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