Recipe #12: Totally sugar-free alcoholic oats

A weird, but truly wonderful feature of living the Western world is that we like to eat pudding first thing in the morning. This is in contrast to the east, where a nice basket of dim sum or a large bowl of rice is considered the correct way to start your day. On the Continent, there’s no pretence that breakfast is anything but last night’s slightly-delayed dessert course:

Can anyone say 'boterham met hagelslag'?  I can NOT wait to get to Amsterdam so I can nosh this for breakfast every day!

Can anyone say ‘boterham met hagelslag’? I can NOT wait to get to Amsterdam so I can nosh this for breakfast every day again!

But for some reason, less civilised nations prefer to kid themselves that breakfast is somehow supposed to be healthy:

Mmmmm, squirrel poo with fruit. Yum yum.

I think the bran farmers heard about hagelslag and totally loved the whole ‘brown sprinkly things for breakfast’ concept, but ended up making squirrel poo instead. Which is quite appropriate, when you think about it. (Sorry.)

Worst of all, it’s considered démodé to include alcohol in any meal served earlier than, say, tennish.

Because of this, I’ve been avoiding breakfast for several months, as anything that remotely resembles good behaviour is anathema to me. And then I remembered whiskey oats.

Many years ago, in the snowy mountains of Lesotho, I was introduced to the proper way to prepare oats: cooked in milk, with a small pat of butter and a large dollop of whiskey (added after cooking obviously. You don’t want to destroy the alcohol.)

I thought I’d add a few extra items to this brilliant basic recipe today – mainly because I decided to bake some fancy bread several months ago and the ingredients have been clogging up my cupboard ever since.


(Listed in order of chucking into bowl)
  • 1/2 cup of Jungle Oats. These were originally bought for my hamster Mervyn, but since my cat Hunter got hold of him, eating the oats is up to me.
  • Pinch of salt. I use that pink stuff, because I’m posh like that, and also I eat so much salt that I need to tell myself that it’s healthy salt. (Although I do worry that if we all use pink salt, Mt Everest will shrink. But then again, that would make it easier to climb. Not that I was thinking of climbing it.)
  • A handful of dried cranberries. You could use raisins, but that would be a bit economy class.
  • Some warmish water from the kettle that’s left over from making your coffee. Use just enough to cover the oats. Don’t go crazy with that water – it’s tasteless and has no nutritional value.
  • Some milk. Not low fat. (I mean, what is the point?)
  • A banana. If you’re lucky, you’ll have bought a bunch of bananas, kept them in the fridge until their skins are black and hideous looking, and then discovered they’re at the perfect mushiness to mash. With your fingers, if you’re channeling your inner child. If you’ve just got normal bananas, slice one. This would be the perfect opportunity to use your banana slicer, if you have one.
  • A little pat of butter. This is optional. If you already put butter in your coffee, as I do, butter in your porridge too might be overkill.
  • Some pecan nuts. Or walnuts. I don’t care. Just not peanuts, okay? (Pistachios are probably not going to work either.)
  • Some whiskey. With an e, because you should obviously use Jammies, seeing as you’re still in yours. Don’t you dare use a single malt. I don’t care how extravagant you’re feeling, that stuff is not made for you to put in your porridge.
  • The teensiest half teaspoon of honey, for its miraculous anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, anti-minnesotan-dentist properties.

What to do

  • Put oats in bowl. Put salt in bowl. Put dried cranberries in bowl. Put water in bowl. Put bowl in microwave.
  • Microwave for a minute(ish) until water is no longer watery.
  • Put enough milk in bowl to get oats to loosen up.
  • Put bowl back in microwave until milk is no longer milky.
  • Add mushed up (or sliced) banana and a bit more milk.
  • Put bowl back in microwave until you think the banana has warmed up. Cool bananas are not what we want here.
  • Sprinkle with pecan nuts, honey and a dollop of whiskey. Stir and serve.
  • Congratulate yourself on incorporating alcohol into your morning meal, while simultaneously avoiding anything that could be labelled sugar.
Seriously people, it's a frikkin bowl of oats with some nuts on top. You don't need a picture to work out what that looks like.

Seriously people, it’s a frikkin bowl of oats with some nuts on top. You don’t need a picture to work out what that looks like.

Time taken

  • Approximately 3 minutes 47 seconds. Includes rummaging in cupboard for cranberries.

Dishes dirtied

  • One bowl
  • One spoon
  • One banana slicer – optional. (I don’t use one myself, as it’s had mixed reviews, although I might buy one if I get another hamster. I’ve included some reviews, to help you decide for yourself.)

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The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. It's a decision you have to make for yourself.

The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. It’s a decision you have to make for yourself.