Some winter mornings can't be overcome without a warming bowl of porridge. As an Irishman it pains me to say that after much testing, I have to concede that the Scottish custom of using only water in preparation yields the better result. (In Ireland and southern England the tradition is to use milk, or half-half). However, when oats are cooked in water, it draws the gluten out into the broth, creating a wonderful thick, creamy texture. Milk hinders this process somewhat, and is more likely to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Don't think you're getting away with a healthier option: We will be adding those dairy fats right back in there at the end.
So here it is: the easiest, creamiest, warmest, most comforting start to your day.
You need: Oats, salt, butter, cream, dark sugar and cinnamon.
For one portion:
Boil a mug of water in a saucepan. Take a handful of rolled oats and sprinkle them into the boiling water. Stir occasionally for a minimum of 10 minutes. The longer you cook the porridge, the creamier and softer it gets. You can also soak the oats overnight.
Add half a teaspoon of salt toward the end. Salt is very important in bringing out that distinctive oaty flavour.
Serve the porridge in a muesli bowl. Make a little well in centre, add about as much butter as you would use to butter a slice of toast, and then a tablespoon of thick rich dairy cream over that. Then add a heaped teaspoon of rich, dark brown sugar (muscovado is ideal). If you are careful, you can even add the tiniest dose of cinnamon. The smallest possible quantity. You don't want the cinnamon overpowering the taste of cream, oats and sugar, just giving a background note of warmth.
This clearly isn't any sort of health food, and should probably be saved for Sundays. For an everyday version, stop at the butter. Oats with butter and salt is already a beautiful flavour.