One of my most cherished memories is of eating porridge with my great-grandmother. She had it every morning without fail which is probably why she lived to the ripe old age of 96! She would crumble buttered saltine crackers over her oatmeal and while that may sound slightly odd, it tastes amazing. If you haven’t tried it – do!

My love of oatmeal knows no bounds and I must confess that I also used to eat Quaker instant oatmeal straight out of the sachets, and was particularly fond of the maple and brown sugar one with the apple and cinnamon following closely behind. In any case I still love oatmeal and will sometimes even have it for dinner. The only thing I dislike about it is having to wash the pot up afterwards. Bleurgh!

A few years back I found a recipe for baked oatmeal. I made a few adjustments and while it is more time consuming to make – it is absolutely worth it. The texture is firmer and it works well with a splash of milk if you’re having it for breakfast. However, add some whipped cream or, if you’re feeling decadent, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have a healthy, delicious dessert. I like to add different types of dried fruit to the mix and have found that dried cherries, apricots, pineapple and cranberries all work really well. Give it a try and see what combinations you like!


250ml semi-skimmed (2%) milk

1 medium ripe banana, mashed

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

175g old fashioned oats

40g loosely packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

100g dried fruit (I used dried apple rings, chopped, sultanas and cranberries)

Garnish: sliced strawberries, sliced bananas or other fresh fruit, toasted nuts and semi-skimmed milk


Preheat oven to 190°C / gas mark 5

Lightly spray an 11- x 7-inch baking dish with nonstick spray (I used butter)

In a large bowl, whisk together first 4 ingredients until well blended

Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into prepared dish.

Bake at 190°C / 170°C Fan Assisted / 375°F / Gas Mark 5 for 25 to 30 minutes or until top just starts to turn golden brown

Garnish with fresh fruit and add a splash of milk


Ingredients assembled – I’m ready to go!


First mix the milk, egg, mashed banana and vanilla extract


Once you’ve added the rest of the ingredients, pour the mixture into a greased dish and sprinkle with some sunflower seeds


30-minutes later… the smell is DIVINE!


I was so hungry I didn’t even bother with fresh fruit. It was delicious and as soon as I hit submit I’m off to get another bowl (or two!)