Thursday, 19 February 2009

Home-ground porridge

DSCN0001About 80 kilometres north of Adelaide, at the head of the Gilbert Valley on the road to the historic copper-mining town of Burra, lies the tiny hamlet of Tarlee, home of the Grasshopper Cafe and the source of our organic oats - Four Leaf Milling.

So breakfast is a simple and nourishing affair around here, provided I remember to grind and soak our oats the night before. This German hand-operated stone-grinder (pictured) takes quite some effort to flatten the oat grains into the more familiar porridge flakes; all part of the free daily exercise one gets when living quietly with the chores.DSCN0004

Once the oats are ground, they are just covered with water from our ceramic water filters, filled daily with rainwater brought up to the house in a stainless-steel bucket from the rainwater tanks. We also squeeze in a fresh lemon brought in from our giant lemon tree; some slight fermenting overnight in lemon juice softens the oats and makes them more digestible.

Next morning the oats are cooked on low heat until just firm. Then we add whatever DSCN0007fruit is in season from the backyard (peaches, plums and grapes at the moment), add a handful of juicy Australian sultanas and almonds, serve with organic milk, and there’s a breakfast even a bloke can make!

All this is eaten on the back verandah overlooking the garden, and accompanied by a double-espresso made from organic Mexican coffee beans. Fresh ground, of course!DSCN0008


  P.S. Rain water is available free on nearly every Australian property, thanks to low levels of air pollution in this big country. I’ve found many Europeans to be absolutely appalled at the idea of drinking water from a tank connected to our house gutters. Few understand the importance and the necessity of such a rain water tank in the Australian life. It’s the purest form of water available to us, unless one buys in expensive ‘spring’ water (i.e. ‘bore’ water!). Our main rivers in southern Australia  - source of our ‘town water’ - are increasingly laden with salt. The water authorities also add chlorine to it to keep the bugs out that thrive in warm weather. So drinking tap water in Adelaide is rarely as pleasant as drinking filtered rain water. The old girl’s from my parent's generation and further back always preferred tea made from rain water to anything else.


Daphne Gould said...

I've been thinking if I get enough space at my next house, I could grow some hulless oats for breakfast, but I never could figure out how to make them into oatmeal. I'll have to be on the lookout for grinders.

Kate said...

I always buy the Four Leaf rolled oats but I have never bought the kernels. What a great idea. Where do you get them, Andrew? probably Wilson's has them I guess.

I also soak grains like oats overnight in water and lemon juice or in water and apple juice. We usually add a grated apple per person to cook in with the oats too. Decadent served with cream!

Rachel said...

Living in inner-suburb Melbourne, I don't think my rainwater is as pure as yours, but otherwise I love the recipe. I'd never heard of adding the lemon juice to the overnight soak; I'll give that a try tonight!

Deborah Cantrill said...

Hi Andrew
love to know more about your mill. I have a hand grinder to make flour and a 3 phase stone mill that does the same and one day it will make chestnut flour but I'd be interested in a mill that makes flakes both for ourselves and our animals.

mandi said...

wow- i am intrigued by your rain water system. i would never think to do that here in usa...but our public water, laden with chlorine and flouride, probably isn't a much better choice. with your ceramic filters- do you have to buy replacement filters or is it set for life? our reverse osmosis filter has to be changed every 6 months. way too expensive...