Tag Archives: porridge

How I make porridge

People are quite often scared to cook pasta for me, on account of me being Italian. I think they think I spend my whole time at home making pasta from scratch and that my kitchen is covered with spaghetti drying from the ceiling.

I never really understood this intimidation, until I started getting into porridge. For such a simple food, there seem to be an awful lot of rules about how you should make it. Porridge features not at all in the Italian diet, so I didn’t have any claim to it.

All I knew is that whenever you read about how to make porridge it would say forceful things such as “all you need is water and salt, anything else isn’t porridge”.

But I don’t like porridge made with water and salt and it’s taken me years to admit this. Furthermore, feeling that that’s the only way to eat porridge isn’t really helpful because porridge is really good for you, so it’s worth working out how YOU like to eat it. After all, I know some people who eat pasta with ketchup and do I judge?

You guess.

Anyway, this is how I make, and eat, porridge.

For one portion. I put the saucepan directly on my digital scales and weigh everything.

30g porridge oats

100g of milk

150g water

a pinch of salt

half a teaspoon of cinnamon (I didn’t think I liked cinnamon but it really works)

Some berries

Maple syrup

Nut butter of your choice

Weigh the porridge, water and milk straight into a saucepan, then add the cinnamon and salt and put on the stove. It seems quite a lot of liquid but this is the key (I’ve found) to making a lovely creamy porridge.

Simmer and stir for quite a long time, 5-10 mins. You can leave it periodically and come back to it and I find it meditative and I like to think about the day ahead whilst doing it. Also whilst doing it I can’t POSSIBLY do anything else so I say to my partner “the children need breakfast, I can’t POSSIBLY do it because I’m stirring my porridge”.

Once the milk and water has been largely, but not totally, absorbed – you will still have a fairly wet porridge – take it off the heat and leave it for a minute whilst you plate up your berries and nut butter. I nearly always have blueberries. In the winter I buy frozen ones and stick them in the porridge for that last minute standing time.

I also add to the plate a large – very large – tablespoon of nut butter, usually cashew or almond and always Meridian as it’s the best by far AND I LOVE IT. This is because, contrary to popular opinion, porridge on its own does not, and never has, filled me up til lunch time. If I eat porridge with no protein in it (i.e. the nut butter) I am as hungry as a pregnant woman in the first trimester by 10am. Sometimes 9am. But adding a huge dollop of nut butter not only adds useful nutrients and good fats, but helps fill me up.

On top of the porridge, berries and nut butter I add a teaspoon of maple syrup. A teaspoon of maple syrup has 30 calories which is nothing really, but it really adds to the yummyness of the porridge.

This is how I make porridge.

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Gingerbread porridge

I have just come off deadline for a hideously complicated piece about mackerel. The research on anything to do with fish quotas is almost enough to drive me to a drug habit (JOKING). So I’m indulging myself with something blissfully easy to write about, something comforting, that I hope you will find useful.

Porridge. We all know how healthy it is. Rich in fibre, lowers your cholesterol, makes you strong and gives you a glow etc.

However.

I am always STARVING five minutes after eating it and I have a bit of a guilt trip going over porridge in that I feel it should be made with steel cut pinhead oatmeal and stirred for one hundred hours and eaten with almost nothing, bar a grimace.

I do lighten up occasionally and use jumbo oats and semi skimmed milk and water and cook it on the hob with my spurtle (NEVER NEVER NEVER in the microwave) and then flood it with sliced fruit and maple syrup, but in my Catholic guilt-ridden heart, I know I am sinning.

Thus I hardly eat porridge which is stupid. Like not letting yourself buy cut up fruit because you should cut it up yourself and therefore never eating fruit (not relevant to me but you know what I mean).

This morning, as I was wafting round Waitrose and taking my commission for my mackerel piece and slightly panicking as I do before I start to write any piece (I can’t do it I CAN’T DO IT), I spied something. Dorset Cereals Gingerbread Porridge. In the packet are premeasured and sealed daily sachets (so wasteful!). It had stuff added to it to make it tasty (so indulgent!) and it recommended you do it in the microwave (shocking!).

I hadn’t had breakfast.
I’d had to dig the car out of the snow that morning.
I had been coerced into buying my child Smarties (I don’t buy Nestle products usually).
I had a hideously difficult piece to write on mackerel.
So I bought it.

I came home and made it – in the microwave – and ate it with a dollop of nut butter (to up the protein) and it was DELICIOUS. I am still going on it six hours later (bar the handful of nuts and an apple that I ate an hour ago but that was more out of deadline avoidance than hunger).

Am now going to eat this every day. Every day.