This is actually the first recipe I ever wrote down in my first ever “recipe book”- a project I handcrafted, because it didn’t occur to me that the internet had happened and a blog would be far more sensible, in a pretty blue Moleskine (I don’t know if we used the word “hipster” with an eye-roll yet but…there you go) which I titled “Gap year recipe book” (I just can’t stop!). I think I am old enough that it was actually a fairly original thought at the time (of course it was! It’s in a gap-yah Moleskine!).
Forgive me, I was 18. This recipe is thanks to Kelsey*, at the time from Mercy Ships, but who knows where now! Facebook would help me find out, but let’s preserve the mystery of 7 years distance. We met while we lived on a ship off the coast of Benin which was also a hospital. I cleaned medical equipment all day (every day, OR sterilizing is quite unforgiving and no-one liked my taste in music so I did not get to control the speakers…It was a lot of Muse at the time) and Kelsey worked in the galley- which is apparently what you call the kitchen when you’re on a ship.
The whole crew (I wish I was a sailor) got this for breakfast on Tuesdays (the best days), so I have heavily adjusted the recipe for smaller parties than 500, and added a fair amount of flavour and liquid to it as, good as it was, I found it on the dry side. It’s also survived several phases of not using sugar, being a vegan, and other food phases, so has morphed quite a lot in the intervening years. For the better, I think. It’s also very easy to make up and modify depending on what you have in the cupboard, and always seems to come out well.
I just found that book and this is what I wrote, which is quite nice to remember:
“Baked oatmeal is in no way a traditional recipe of Benin…However, the smell of baked oatmeal on a Tuesday morning summarises all the best experiences of community and friendliness that I had [there]. Perhaps if I had stayed longer than five weeks I would eventually have joined Lisa and Kelsey on their 3/5/8/12km runs, and cooled down on Deck 8 before going to breakfast. I think I could only have run on Tuesdays.”
Ooh! It’s also featured here on a real website!
200g rolled oats
3 tbsp butter/vegetable oil/coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg (optional, if using banana the cake should still bind)
200ml milk or soy/almond milk (optional, depending on whether you’re using mashed banana or stewed apple for moisture)
Banana (mashed) or apple (stewed) (reduce milk accordingly)
Handful of raisins or other fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, chopped banana
Pinch of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients together and tip into a (greased) loaf or cake tin.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a fork poked in comes out clean.
Serve with yogurt, more fruit or a splash of milk.
*Real name! Seems anonymous enough and she certainly deserves recognition.