The return of porridge
September 16, 2015 § 4 Comments
I have always been a big lover of porridge. Something about its creamy, dense texture and almost neutral taste made me fall in love easily with this type of food. Actually, back in the day when I would spend summer holidays in the countryside my grandma would make me something similar, but based on a coarse corn meal. I remember waking up to the smell of breakfast cooking on the stove and I could not think of a better start to my fun-filled summer days.
I also associate porridge with London. First, I would eat it in the canteen of Goodenough College where I spent a good part of my master’s. I remember the steamy hot porridge coming out of a big pot and drizzled with honey or adorned with raspberry pure. After my student days were long over I would buy porridge from Eat or other cafes in the morning. That pot of porridge was the perfect accompaniament to what were very stressful mornings. At some point I realized I can really make porridge at home! I quickly perfected ‘the recipe’ and would often add grated apples, cinnamon, vanilla or hemp seeds. I spent many a mornings pouring over my perfect, albeit a little conservative breakfast.
Then came Geneva. Obviously porridge is no longer an option when you’re travelling like crazy and so porridge was forgotten. Switzerland is also partial to Bircher muesli (of which I need to give a full rendition) and you will not see anyone here eating porridge. In fact, my feeling is porridge is very much a British and partially, a Nordic thing. I will never forget the beautiful porridge that was served to us together with maple syrup or brown sugar in Iceland and Norway.
But we’re in Switzerland these days and with the coming of fall, I have felt the need for a warmer, more substantial breakfast. Emphasis on warm. I don’t imagine eating a cold, green smoothie when outside it’s pouring and the skies are grey. A bowl of porridge gives quiet mornings their comfort and cold evenings, a touch of gentleness and settling down.
Still not convinced? Here are some facts and figures about porridge and oats in general:
- Great source of vitamins B, E and folate
- Every 1/4 cup of steel cut oats provides 4g of protein
- Great source of fiber which slows down digestion which, in turn, will keep you sated for hours
- It’s cheap. And yes, this matters
- Although it does take longer to cook, it can feed an entire family. Make one big pot of porridge and that can be your breakfast for a whole week
- It is infinitely versatile – make it with with water or milk or both, add fresh or dried fruit, any spices you want, or chia and hemp seeds or any nut butter. Or make it savoury by adding a bit of pecorino and pepper
- It’s portable. You can make porridge ahead, put it in individual containers and store in the fridge, then grab & go in the morning. It also keeps very well
I like my porridge creamy, so I use half water, half milk and then a splash more milk when I reheat it in the morning. I like to cook it a long time at low temperature on the hob. This is a very restful ritual for me.
Below is the version with Greek yogurt, which lended it even more protein and made it a tad tangier. There was a grated apple in there too.
And a seasonal porridge bowl, with grapes and pumpkin seeds. Loved this, as it had the right balance between sweet and earthy flavours.
Will you try porridge and let me know what you think?