Scottish Oats and the Hula Juice Café (Edinburgh, UK)

There are a few traditional Scottish food items that I wanted to try on my trip through Scottland - among them the Scottish oats, also often referred to as porridge. While porridge is a hot cereal that can be made with a variety of grains, oatmeal is a kind of porridge made with oats.

I can remember when I ate my first oatmeal. Someone I once knew, made it for me for breakfast and told me the story of how he grew up with his father making him oatmeal. I never really thought much about oatmeal other than that it really looks mushy and unapealing... My opinion, however, changed over the years. But I did need to get used to the taste at the beginning...

Now, I do like a good oatmeal, especially because of the variety of toppings that you can use - almonds, vanilla sauce, cinnamon, raisins, fresh fruit, etc. And actually, I do believe it kinda looks pretty (or can made to look pretty as my previous posts tried to convey - my poppyseed-vannilla porridge with berries, layered with nuts, or with tangerines).

Hula Juice Café (Edinburgh, UK)

During my stay in Edinburgh, I found this nice little breakfast place on the hill of Victoria Street, the Hula Juice Café. It even had outdoor seating in case of good weather. I really liked their menu, it sounded creative, freah, and healthy. The items offered were not too heavy, some traditional but also some interesting new creations. And of course, they offered fresh pressed juice and smoothies. I went a couple of times and I really enjoyed their toast with smashed avocado, topped with feta cheese, cocktail tomato, and a special seed mix (sesame seed, salt flakes, chili flakes, chia seeds). 

However, the first time I went their, I tried their Scottish oats with honey and blueberries. Maybe it did not seem to look very interesting, but let me tell you that the flavor was quite different from what I was used. The porridge tasted more like a sweetened rice pudding with almonds. It had a lot of texture. It tasted delicious.

I did a little bit of research to figure out why this oatmeal tasted so different from the traditional US or German oatmeal I knew....

Scottish Oats

Oats can be processed in different ways. The traditional ones are steal-cut oats, rolled oats, and instant oats. I am used to eat either instant or rolled oats, but had never tried steal-cut oats before. It also seems quite hard to get in Germany...
  • Rolled oats - Also called old-fashioned oats. They are steamed and rolled and have a disc-like shape. They absorb water quickly and do not need long to cook. They still have a good texture for porridge.
  • Instant oats - They are pre-cooked, dried and rolled even thinner than rolled oats. Therefore, they cook even quicker. They do not have as much texture as rolled oats and the porridge is a bit mushier.
  • Steal-cut oats - Also called pinhead oats, coarse oatmeal, or Scottish oats. Steal-cut oats are the kind of oats used for Scottish porridge. They are whole oats cut into three pieces. They are not flattened or rolled like the rolled oats or instant oats and retain a rice-like shape. They also do need the longest to cook. However, the porridge made of these steal-cut oats also has the most texture. They are nuttier and chewier in flavor, exactly as I exprienced with the Scottish oats in the Hula Juice Café. 

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