Not Just for Breakfast - Great Ways with Irish Oats

Oats Field - FlahavansOne of the great unsung heroes of the Irish food scene, oats are widely grown, inexpensive, nutritious and extremely versatile. And, while there’s much more to oats than breakfast (see recipes below), they make pretty much the perfect start to the day.

Porridge is their most obvious winter use, although it actually makes a great all-year breakfast especially if you make it the easy way, in a slow cooker or in the bottom oven of a range-type cooker such as an Aga. We make our porridge overnight, cooked on Low in an electric slow cooker (1 cup of porridge oats to 3 of water, plus a good pinch of salt), and it’s no trouble at all. It’s extremely convenient too, as it’s ready for the earliest riser, instantly available and can be served at different times for members of a household have varying breakfast times.

Porridge - FlahavansMost of us enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice in the morning and perhaps that’s not by chance - it’s the ideal accompaniment for porridge, according to nutritionists, because the vitamin C in the juice helps the body to absorb the iron in oats. Porridge is always worth eating just because it’s delicious (especially with a spoon of Irish honey and some creamy milk added - and perhaps even a drop of whiskey at the weekend…)

But its secret weapon is that, unlike most breakfast cereals, it provides instant warmth followed by slow-release energy throughout the morning – removing the temptation to snack on high calorie foods mid-morning or over-eat at lunchtime (hence the fact that people who eat a good breakfast are less likely to be overweight than those who skip it).

Oats are an important crop in Ireland and, although there are also good imported brands to choose from, we always support Irish growers and producers if possible - especially when there’s an organic option as there is with Flahavan’s, which is the one we’ve bought for ages.

Flahavan’s is one of Ireland's longest-running family businesses and has been operating in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford for over 200 years, spanning six generations, but they’re a very forward-looking company and they’ve won awards to beat the band.

As well as awards to the company itself – examples include the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Environmental Award and a Bord Bia Domestic Success Award - a long list of accolades gives recognition to the innovative range of products that has made a basic commodity very appealing to consumers of all ages - over a million servings of Flahavan’s oats are consumed nationwide each week apparently, and that’s probably because they’re available in such a variety of options (including microwaveable sachets and single servings pots) as well as the traditional packs.

The Flahavan’s marketing strategy also has broad appeal, with a strong emphasis on recipes that demonstrate the versatility of oats as an ingredient.

Catherine Fulvio - Flahavan'sHandy booklets giving the late Mary Flahavan’s excellent Simple Oat Recipes are supplied free with certain packs; there’s a range, including a number of ways to make the perfect porridge, on their website; and they have commissioned recipes from several celebrity chefs including Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody Country House and Catherine Fulvio, the popular television personality, cookbook author and owner of award-winning Ballyknocken House and Cookery School in Co Wicklow (a former Georgina Campbell Farmhouse of the Year), who gave Flahavan’s five of her favourite easy-to-prepare recipes demonstrating that “Irish oats are not just for breakfast”.



This quick porridge for 2 can be prepared on the hob or in the microwave.

Click for recipe


Sundried Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Chive Tartlets with Oatmeal Pastry Sundried Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Chive Tartlets with Oatmeal Pastry

“My family loves these – we take them on picnics and to the beach. They are great with a rocket, spinach and walnut salad.” Makes 6

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Oat Crusted Herb Salmon CakesOat Crusted Herb Salmon Cakes

“Adding the oats to the crumb gives these cakes a great extra crunch and of course loads of goodness, perfect for a hearty family meal.”

Serves 4

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Oaty Blueberry Muffins with Ginger and Pear Frosting Oaty Blueberry Muffins with Ginger and Pear Frosting

“This is a great recipe to impress when the girls are coming around for an afternoon chat. That said, my children love to bake these with me too. The blueberries give them the added extra goodness.”

Makes 16 depending on the size of your muffin cases

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Granola CrunchGranola Crunch

“We serve this for breakfast at our farmhouse and are amazed at the requests for the recipe.”

Serves 6

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