Image credit: Sarah Quigley

The Joy of Oatmeal, and Breakfast

I was sitting in my local ramen place, Shinobi noodles, waiting for a bowl of tan tan men when I made a shocking discovery: Jesse doesn’t eat breakfast. Dual classing as dance ninja and cookie master, Jesse is among my favourite people, so his neglect in the breakfast department was unexpected and disconcerting.

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

― Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

How could I call myself a true friend if I stood by letting Jesse’s days pass unpunctuated by the excitement of breakfast? So I’ve set out on a personal quest: get Jesse to eat breakfast. Which brings me to oatmeal.

And so Jesse asks, “What food could possibly be both simple and delicious enough to kickstart my breakfast habit?” And so without hesitation I answer, “Oatmeal! Always oatmeal! Ever oatmeal! So quick to prepare! So infinitely customisable! So tasty and satisfying!”

Jesse, if you’re reading this, this oatmeal recipe is for you — and for all the rest of you too. May all your days be full and include a fabulous breakfast. Possibly oatmeal?

Simple Stove-top Oatmeal

Preparation time: 5 - 15 minutes Cooking time: 3 - 5 minutes Yield: 1 - 3 portions

If you prefer a chunkier texture over a creamy one (as I do), I recommend jumbo rolled oats over the quick cooking kind. I use a mixture of milk and water (about 1 cup milk and 1½ cups water for every cup of oats). I like cashew milk best, but any milk will work just as well.

⅓ cup of (uncooked) oats is a perfect serving for me, but as much as a full cup may be appropriate, depending on your appetite. I prefer the texture of stove-top oatmeal, but this recipe can be prepared in a microwave with a similar cooking time if that suits you better. If doing so, use a large (microwave safe) bowl and a lower power setting to ensure your oatmeal doesn’t boil over.


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2½ cups liquid (dairy or non-dairy milk, water or a mixture of both)
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tsp flax seeds
  • Your choice of fresh fruit, chopped or sliced as necessary
  • A spoonful of nut butter
  • A sprinkling of nuts and / or seeds (optional)
  • A spoonful of honey or jam (optional)


  1. Into a medium pot, measure oats, water and / or milk. Add raisins and flax seeds.
  2. Bring oatmeal to a gentle simmer. Cook until thick and creamy, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Transfer oatmeal to serving bowl(s).
  4. Top oatmeal with fresh fruit. Dollop on nut butter. If using, sprinkle on nuts and / or seeds, spoon on jam or drizzle on honey.


This is a very loose recipe, leaving lots of wiggle room for you to tailor it to your personal taste:

Replace (or supplement) mix-ins with other types of dried fruit, nuts or seeds. Dried apricots are particularly delicious.

Add spices before cooking — or dust with spices after cooking. Cinnamon is a classic, but there are many more worth considering.

Change up the toppings — lemon curd, nutella, maple syrup, stewed fruit (or rhubarb) are just a few that come to mind.

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