Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How to Suck Eggs (not Soothers)

Remember the last line of the previous post?  On the off-chance (ahem) that you don’t, I mentioned jinxing myself.
As soon as I typed that, the Gods of Jinxdom’s wee ears pricked up with glee and they set furiously to work, throwing shit at me from all sides.  First, a day into my detox, I started to feel a bit shaky (more shaky than your average puritanical vegan).  Then my throat started to tingle.  Within a few hours my throat was ON FIRE and over the next several days alternated between fire, a nest of hornets, and shards of glass.  Everything I ate (good, wholesome, Moby-esque food) was like swallowing bubbling lava.  So I summonsed the babysitter and took to my bed for a day. 
To punish me for this (and bearing in mind that my day of convalescence had no effect whatsoever on my ill-health) the Boy picked up a bug at nursery which he used for Show and Tell at home on Friday.  Actually, it was more Show and Yell.  At one point he was lying – writhing – on the bed beside me, moaning and occasionally shrieking (when he remembered to).  He was a pitiful sight and I, his mother, should hence have been filled with pity.  Instead he just pissed me off, moaning things like “rub my tummeeeeee”, purely because he could see that I was typing (once I started to rub his tummeeeee, I was severely told off for making him “uncomfeeeee”).
Sometimes I suspect I don’t have the wiring needed to be a decent mother.
My bad luck was exacerbated by the sudden and shocking realisation that 3 solid years of sleeping with his Soo Soo (a soother) has resulted in very very wonky toddler teeth.  This realisation manifested itself when the Boy stood beside me in the bathroom, copying my anti-septic gargling;  looking down at him I had a bird’s eye view of his open  gob and got such a shock that I swallowed several ounces of dettol.  Uuuugh. Clearly, poor Soo Soo had to go.  Luckily, the Soo Soo fairies were partying in town that night so they swung by in the early hours and relieved me of future enormous orthodontistry bills him of his symmetry-destroying mouth-piece.  The fall-out has been immense, the replacement gift adored by day, but spurned come bed-time, when the only thing that will suffice is a packet of immodium his beloved Soo Soo.  His daytime nap has vanished, lost to the waves of grief, and night time brings a cacophony of bizarre songs (eg: “You are my Soo Soo”, sung to the tune of “You are my Sunshine”;  when he gets to: “Please don’t take my Soo Soo awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay” there isn't a dry eye in the house.)
Nevertheless, throughout the throat, sleep and shit-torment, I struggled on with my detox.  I know - what a wally.  With each glass-shard-filled mouthful I battled forward, convinced of my eventual bounty.  In fact, I just got sicker and sicker.  Finally, I caved, and had – horror! – a great big bowl of DAIRY-FILLED porridge.  And then later, some risotto.  Made with WHITE rice (not to mention the butter and parmesan [ohsweetnectaroftheGods]).  Strangely, the breadsticks dipped in olive oil I had didn’t cause me to shriek in pain; nor the cheese-on-toast; nor the litre of hot-chocolate... Instead all were soothing and caressing and veritably cajoling my poor swollen tonsils as they slipped past.
And so, on the orders of Dr Google, I am forsaking my detox until I am well enough to partake in it once more.  All hopes of glamour and glowing rude health at the mega-birthday-bash on Saturday have been abandoned, but at least there’s now a chance that I might actually make it there, instead of wasting away at home, a gaunt pale figure body attached to an enormous pair of tonsils. 
The following is what I credit with having saved me:

I feel all Delia, teaching people how to boil eggs.  But because it’s very easy to cock porridge up, most people tend to think it’s pretty revolting.
It is, in fact, a thing of great beauty.  And piss-easy to make.  There are two tricks to it.  Firstly, used cheapo, finely cut rolled porridge oats – the own-brand stuff sold in 500g packets in supermarkets.  Organic oats, while no doubt of preferred provenance,  are too chewy and don’t soften enough.  Secondly, cook it slowly (“slow” meaning 7 minutes or so), in a pot.  None of your microwave nonsense.  And that is it.  Oh, the proportions are important too, so I might as well just write out the recipe.
Restorative Porridge
You Need (for two medium bowls):
  • One cup’s worth of finely cut porridge oats (you’ll know they’re finely cut if there’s what looks like flour at the bottom of the in the bag)
  • Two cup’s worth of milk – any type. (I used skimmed, but would actually recommend semi- or whole milk)
Tip the oats and the milk into a pan.  Put over a low heat and leave, stirring occasionally, to come to the boil (about 7 mins). Stir rapidly when it does, and serve straight away. 
That’s it! No salt or sugar or the dew from early-morning Highland bracken.  Bye-bye watery gruel eaten in your thread-bare gaberdeen, hello tiny angels of joy singing from within...
You might want a topping, for which I always recommend a dollop of yoghurt and either jam or honey.  I find the yoghurt gives it a sharpness and breaks down any gloop element of the porridge.  You’ll see that I got all fancy today and had honey, banana and nuts.  That was purely because I was taking a photo of it.  Usually it’s just jam and yoghurt.  Either way, it’s bloody delicious. 
Wan, hoarse vegans, take note...


  1. Glad you reneged on your decision to be vegan while ill. Enough suffering already. Better to spread it out for sure.

  2. Who knew that brown rice could be quite so bad for you??

  3. Meat balances the toxic impact of brown rice. FACT.

  4. Poor you...hope Saturday is a blast.

  5. Thank you! I have two bags of T**co own-brand VALUE oats sitting in my cupboard, and apart from throwing a handful into scones/pancakes I've been reluctant to make porridge. I usually hate it, made on water, and just with sugar. But you make it sound so good, and it looks fantastic in the photo, so that's gonna be my go-to breakfast until they're gone. Thank you! My colon will thank you too! Three bears here we come!

  6. I note no mention of salt?

    I use half milk/half water and when it is done add a big dollop of golden syrup to make sure it is not too wholesome.

  7. KM - thank you. Sat night was a huge blast, notwithstanding the subsequent horror of yesterday (still lingering today). That's what I get for ignoring my very strict rule of DO NOT MIX DRINKS. MS - the cheaper the better really when it comes to oats. G - no salt, no no no no. Unless you are Scottish of course, but even then I would counsel against it. Nicky, you raise an interesting point, one I will be addressing in the next posting... If I ever feel well enough again to do one.

  8. oh yum. Food of the gods. Detox? Idea of the devil. Especially at this time of year when we need all the solace we can get. I'm having a porridge moment at the mo, love it with milk (obv), grated apple and a pinch of ginger. Yum.