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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Porridge contest 'stirring stuff'
Maria Soep
Ms Soep said it was the quality of oatmeal which makes the difference
A guesthouse owner from Argyll has taken the honours in the annual world porridge-making championships.

A dozen cooks from across the UK had gathered in Carrbridge, in Strathspey, for the contest to see who can make the finest bowl of the oatmeal dish.

Judges marked the entrants on their porridge's appearance, consistency and taste, before deciding on a champion.

The winner of the coveted Golden Spurtle, or stirrer, was Maria Soep from Kilchrenan.

Ms Soep, who reached the final last year, came out victorious after a three-way cook-off.

I soaked them overnight, added a bit of salt and some good water
Maria Soep
Porridge champion

She said her secret was a special batch of pinhead oats bought from Oban, on Scotland's west coast.

"I buy my pinhead oatmeal from a health food shop - it is the best that money can buy," she said.

"I soaked them overnight, added a bit of salt and some good water.

"But it's the oatmeal that counts."

Mrs Soep added: "It feels great to have won - I am delighted."

Al Beaton
Al Beaton came out on top in the speciality porridge section

Al Beaton from Inverness was named the speciality porridge champion for 2007.

His winning concoction featured porridge with stewed apple, cinnamon, raisins, whipped cream, chocolate and grape nuts.

A spokesman for the competition's sponsor's, Hamlyn's Oats of Scotland, said: "The judges thought it was the toughest competition yet.

"The standard was incredibly high and the final was very tense."

The event was won last year by Army Sergeant Coleen Hayward MacLeod, who has been responsible for making porridge on a daily basis for hundreds of soldiers from the 1st Royal Irish Regiment at Fort George, near Inverness.

Porridge bowl sets world record
15 Sep 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Sergeant wins top porridge prize
09 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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