Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oat Cuisine

Ok so you can’t have red wine for breakfast everyday in attempts to control cholesterol without the help of Statins* and their evil side effects. Occasionally one has to resort to alternatives like oats but - without serious disguise - Statins can seem quite charming in comparison, particularly if you can’t rid yourself of the image of a horse’s feeding bag.

My early attempts at disguising oats included double cream yoghurt but this – although only at a modest 7% total fat – was living in denial and one's sense of achievement in finishing a bowl of oats quickly faded.

I started making real progress when I tried raisins,  cinnamon and low fat milk but it did not prove that attractive in summer and my daughter tells me the raisins are not terribly low-GI compliant.

For summer, Bircher’s muesli is the route to go and offers the convenience of keeping up to a week so it’s a rare case of healthy fast food made from slow food ingredients although I don’t recommend it while driving.
heavily disguised oats

Soak 2 cups of oats in the juice of 2 lemons and 1 cup of water overnight. In the a.m. grate in 2 crispy apples – the tanginess of Pink Lady seems to work very well - and if nobody is looking, at least a cup of Greek-style double cream yoghurt or if the cameras are on, Bulgarian low fat. Serve with a pouring of your favourite honey and watch your cholesterol fall. (which I bank and use for cheese binging on the weekend).

The greatest achievement of this recipe is that the lemon juice and apple seems to rid the oats of its' glutinous texture and the image of the feeding bag turns into a distant mirage.  

High in fibre and protein, oats have been proven to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and boost serotonin (believed, among other things, to help prevent depression). Porridge is digested slowly and helps to keep you full for longer, leading to just about every health expert proclaiming it to be the most desirable way to start your day – so don’t worry too much about the where raisins and sugar appear on GI-index.

Besides, trying out new recipes is good practice for the World Porridge Making Championships, held on 10.10.10 (if you were wondering why it felt auspicious) in Carrbridge in the Scottish Highlands of course,  where Barry Gauld from the Kinlochewe Hotel near Achnasheen received a special mention with his West Coast Seafood Porridge. But before you spit the porridge, consider that oats are a grain just like rice.

Barry Gauld's recipe
Ingredients (serves three)
100g pinhead oatmeal, soaked overnight and washed
500g light white chicken stock
3 large Langoustine tails
3 large scallops (roe removed)
approx 100g flaked hot smoked salmon
2tbsp parsley butter
pinch of salt
pinch of paprika
little vegetable oil for frying
1 Bring the chicken stock to the simmer and then add the drained oatmeal, stirring constantly.
2 After around 20 mins add the parsley butter. Taste and season as required.
3 Dust the scallops with the smoked paprika and salt.
4 Peel the langoustine tails.
5 Sauté the langoustine tails and scallops together on a high heat for a couple of minutes on each side.
6 Gently fold in the flaked smoked salmon.
7 Apportion the porridge into three bowls and decorate with a langoustine tail and a scallop. 

Considering that shell fish is high cholesterol, this one is a bit like adding the double cream yoghurt but I doubt many will be having seafood oats on a daily basis so the health warning is unnecessary. Besides if you want to enter the main category at the world championship the only permitted ingredients are oatmeal, salt and water. Anything else and you end up in the speciality section. Who says the Scots are tight?

Seafood Porridge

The winner felt that his key ingedient is (Scottish) spring water so it seems - like beer - the fewer and more simple the ingredients, the more important the quality of the water, apparently one of the reasons why Guiness is so good in Dublin.

The Geek Stuff
The major cholesterol buster in oats is a soluble fiber known as beta-D-glucan.
Twelve years ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its final rule allowing a health claim to be made on the labels of foods containing soluble fiber from whole oats (oat bran, oat flour and rolled oats), noting that 3.00 grams of soluble fiber daily from these foods, in conjunction with a diet low in saturated fat may reduce the risk of heart disease. In order to qualify for the health claim, the whole oat-containing food must provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fibber per serving. 

*Statins - generic term for anti-cholesterol drugs

Jonathan Snashall

1 comment:

  1. Bircher's is the best way to start the day plus it is so filling