Automatic for the porridge

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mp4 video

I’m pretty anal (can I say that in the international blogosphere?) about my breakfast routine. Rarely do I break it. I have two staples that I alternate daily. The first: two slices of toast, one with grilled cheddar, the other with quality marmalade (or, occasionally, Vegemite, and, it almost goes without saying, butter). The second: porridge cooked with chopped apple, topped with banana, milk and honey (and, occasionally, summer fruits). No sugar. No salt. Always with a pot of weak black tea (Loose. Leaf. Only.), in a proper teacup, with a saucer and a tea strainer.

So when Waz decided to experiment with a slow cooker (crock pot to many of us, though that is really a brand name) that our mates Shaun and Jeanette gave us when they left London for Australia, I was very sceptical when he told me he wanted one of the experiments to feature my tried-and-tested porridge.

Waz’s idea is to put the porridge ingredients in the slow cooker before you go to bed, and set an electrical wall timer to start the cooker in the morning so it’s ready by the time you get up.

Not a bad idea, actually, because it doesn’t do the porridge any harm to soak overnight and saves a precious few minutes in my tightly regimented morning routine.

The tricky part, though, is setting the timer so it actually comes on! The two times I’ve tried this without the help of either Waz or the auto-timer instructions, I’ve gotten up in the morning to a stone-cold gloop of soaked rolled oats with chunks of apple floating on top. Disaster!

So if you do decide to go ahead and make slow-cooker-auto-timer porridge, please be sure to get an automatic timer that a trained monkey could use (as opposed to an untrained Lenny).

Enjoy and stay tuned for more experiments with the slow cooker – one of which is genius, the other… hilarity!

– Lenny

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17 Responses to “Automatic for the porridge”

  • Thanks! Breakfast porridge was a good idea! I actually find it tricky to get the right texture on the stovetop and don’t make it often at home, but I love it.

    I don’t have a slow cooker, so I did not understand how you made the decision that 5 minutes on the stove meant 2 hours (or even 1 1/2 hours) in the slow cooker.

    You mentioned it was a bit gluey. Most crockpot oatmeal recipes I have seen call for steel cut oats (more texture, oats don’t break down so easily), not what I call quick-cooking oats, and with a heartier oat you can even just leave it on low while you sleep (eliminating the need for figuring out the timer at all!).

  • Great! That was fun again. But why did you get up at 7am on a Sunday???

  • i love crock pot cooking. it is a single girl’s best friend. u can make a dish as simple as a bbq chicken (chicken breast covered in bbq sauce) simmered on low for 5 hours. it becomes tasty, shredded, tender and ready to eat when u walk in the door. i recently made corned beef and cabbage and it came out great. there are books written for crockpoting and i’m sure there are options beside stew. i agree u need steel cut oats for oatmeal so it doesnt turn into glue. happy crocking, folks!

  • oh the other thing is u use less liquids when u crockpot and i would try the low heat setting to prevent overcooking as well as the bottom burning.

  • Probably cooking for longer, but on low would work out better texture-wise. You also may want to add a little more liquid than when making it stovetop, as it will lose a little more in steam over the longer cooking period.

    Apples sound like a nice addition cooked in…perhaps with a little cinnamon?

    Thanks for the episode!

  • great idea for an alterntive use of the slow cooker. i normally only do porridge for myself on day i don’t have to be at work/uni and even then the microwave is my best friend. also a nice twist i’ve recently found is once the porridge is cooked add some chopped pieces of banana and a little maple syrup and mix. so good

  • Hi Waz n Len

    Thx for the fun and nice food. Good work!

    I am wondering how can I upload past episodes (those before 17/10/06) onto my ipod cos seems like i cannot get them in itunes.

    Thx again!

  • Hilarious

    Aussies stuff up cooking porridge.

    My 75 year old mum recommends using the microwave. Apparently it takes about 2 mins. Worked for me in Kuwait this winter (when it got cold enough for porridge to be a feasible brekko) And no dramas with timers. Of course, adding apples and omitting salt would be sacrilege to me old mum. But she makes a mean bowl of porridge – what was that stuff you guys were masticating?

    But I have to say that, as always, I really enjoyed the episode.


  • Until recently I didn’t know what a “slow-cooker” was, but we were at the river for Easter (close to Mannum) and our friends there had one of these things! I did enquire about it as I thought it was a rice cooker at first.

    My biggest concern with this method of cooking is that it seems rather environmentally unfriendly to have an appliance on for such an excessive amount of time when the same thing could be cooked at normal speed. How much more energy (electricity) does it use? Or would it use less than, let’s say, an electric stove burning a hotplate? Maybe an electrician would know.

    Maybe I need to call Dr. Karl on Thursday morning and ask him.

  • Hello Waz & Lenny from Japan again!
    My american boyfriend has a really good crockpot.
    So I’ll show him your cooking.
    But I don’t want to get up 7 am on Sunday!

  • Hi Waz & Lenny
    Thanks for the ideas I will get my slow cooker out of the basement this weekend.
    Donna in Connecticut

  • Hi all and sorry for the late reply,
    Susan, I am definitely trying to work out how to get older episodes into iTunes and will keep you posted.

  • Update: I have fixed it, and you can now get older episodes! They should be shown next time you update the podcast in iTunes.
    If not, launch iTunes, click on Podcasts in your library, then right-click or apple-click on Crash Test Kitchen and select ‘Update podcast’.
    I can’t guarantee that all the older episodes will definitely download and/or play right out of the box – let me know of any problems. Some of them were made before the video iPod was invented! But once downloaded you can right-click/apple-click on an episode in iTunes and select ‘Convert selection for iPod’. The video quality on these older shows is lower, too, because back in the early days people’s internet connections were not so fast, so we made the files as small as possible.
    I would like to replace these older files with higher-quality versions but as you can imagine it’s a huge operation. Never say never, though!
    There will still be some shows that you can’t see, from the very _very_ early days, because they were done in Windows Media format which iTunes may not recognise – but you can find them in the archives at the site.

  • Part of the reason it went gluggy, could also be the sitting in liquid overnight- which is how you make bircher museli.

    Looked tasty anyway- even though I prefer mine plain :)

  • Love porridge, but while in Ireland I learned to eat it a new way. Instead of Cream and Brown sugar, the B&B’s i stayed at served it with Irish Cream (Baileys). I will never have Porridge the old way again. Watching this episode brought back great memories and a good laugh. Thank you

  • Thanks! I’ve been eating a whole lot more porridge than usual over the past few months because of you. And it’s been more delicious than usual.

  • Dont use quick oats! If you are going to take the time and 2 hours is a good amount of time than milled outs are fine. Quick oats are designed to be cooked in 5mins in boiling water. There are also quick oats that cook in 1min. I love the idea of rethinking the slowcooker aka braising/confiting. very cool idea.

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