Melt butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add oats, and toast, shaking pan and turning oats until browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add 4 cups water and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until most of the water has evaporated and oatmeal is tender, about 30 minutes for Irish oatmeal, or 5 to 10 minutes for old-fashioned rolled oats. Serve hot with desired toppings.;
Warm honey, star anise, and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat; let rest for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. Serve over hot cereal. Yield: 1 cup;
Place brandy, vanilla bean seeds and pod, prunes, apricots, and raisins in a medium saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer fruit until liquid is reduced by about three-quarters. Serve warm over hot cereal.
Makes 1 cup
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