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Quick Orange Porridge For Two

Over many centuries oatmeal formed the basis of the Scottish diet – porridge, brose, gruel and oatcakes together with plenty exercise kept our forebears lean and wiry, generation after generation. The popular image of Scottish students from rural areas was arriving at university with a bag of oatmeal and a barrel of pickled or salted herring to see them through the term. The traditional Lads o Pairts were thus fed through their education and many went on to find fame not only in their native land but world-wide. But with some 25% of 21st century Scots being deemed to be obese perhaps it is time that we got back to the traditional Scottish diet!

The medieval French chronicler Jean Froisart certainly found a very different picture when he visited Scotland in 1364 as the guest of David 11, King of Scots. He very much admired the hardiness and energy of Scottish soldiers which he put down to their diet. I well remember being told at Primary School of his description of how the fit Scottish soldiers fed –

‘Under the flaps of his saddle each man carries a broad plate of metal, and behind the saddle a little bag of oatmeal. They place the plate over the fire, mix their oatmeal with water, and, when the plate is heated, they put a little of the plate upon it, and make a thin cake or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs.’

The Scottish Government are making strenuous efforts to promote healthy eating in schools to help combat the problem. That added to providing more sporting centres, like independent Norway, would help to stop the projected worsening obesity problem. The announcement this week by Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell that the Scottish Government will help fund (£7 m) a new sports facility on the site of the former Ravenscraig steelworks is a welcome step in the right direction.

This week’s recipe has obviously got to be oatmeal based and Quick Orange Porridge For Two would make a tempting breakfast treat for bairns of all ages!

Quick Orange Porridge For Two

Ingredients: 80 g (3 oz) porridge oats; 300 ml (1/2 pint) cold unsweetened orange juice

Method: Mix the porridge oats and orange juice in a medium sized microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the orange is absorbed. Add more orange juice if necessary. Stir and top with fresh orange slices.

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