Ah, porridge; how much do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Porridge is one of my favourite go-to foods when I want something simple and tasty – and I don’t necessarily restrict it to breakfast or sweet options. I think maybe I’m distantly related to Goldilocks. This week I’ve been exploring some soothing autumn porridge recipes that make the most of the seasonal colours and flavours.

My porridge love is not a new thing. One of my favourite stories growing up was The Magic Porridge Pot from the Brothers Grimm. If you haven’t come across it, basically it’s a pot that makes porridge on demand (though there is a bit of a porridge disaster which I’ll leave you to discover for yourself if you haven’t read this particular porridge-filled fairy tale). I always thought the idea of a pot that instantly produced porridge sounded pretty amazing.

 

Autumn – the perfect porridge season

As we’re now deep in autumn and winter is knocking on the door, it’s the ideal time to eat porridge. It’s such a nice easy way to start a day and you can get so many wonderful flavours in there (and textures, and colours).

And don’t feel the need to just stick with oats. These days you can get hold of a number of different flakes (which is particularly helpful if you can’t manage gluten): rice, quinoa and buckwheat are my non-oat standbys. I like to have a few in my cupboard so I can mix things up a bit – and even mix them in the same bowl. There are also lots of different types of oats and I particularly like Rude Health’s sprouted oats (which are organic and gluten free). Just try and avoid the instant type if you can as they’ve normally been processed quite a bit.

Unusual Porridge Recipes

Traditional Scottish porridge is made with just water and a little salt. And if you want to go to a different level of porridge geekery, you can make it with a spurtle. It looks like a wooden drumstick with which you’re supposed to stir your porridge in a clockwise direction using your right hand. However, a metal spoon will more than suffice. I also have a small milk pan that I use for my porridge, which is perfect for a few portions.

I’m not one for monastic porridge made just with water and like to go full tilt with flavour. It’s a great way to experiment with how different flavours go together. I like to choose flavour combinations that match the season. If you need to porridge inspiration, check out my 3 autumn porridge recipes below, including a savoury option.

 

Tips for creating your own perfect porridge recipes

Unusual Porridge Recipes

 

My tips for constructing your own perfect porridge are to:

  • choose your grain
  • choose your milk e.g. full fat cow’s, oat, almond
  • select a couple of dominant flavours e.g. apple & cinnamon, blueberries & peanut butter, dates & clementine
  • add a little sweetener e.g. honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar
  • include some protein and  / or crunch e.g. pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, cacao nibs, chia seeds
  • add an optional boost e.g. hemp protein, maca powder, acai berry powder

If you’re feeling extra decadent, feel free to swirl a little thick organic cream through the final mix.

For one person I normally allow about 25g – 30g oats (or the grain of your choice). A little goes a long way! However if you’re really hungry or a doing a lot of training, you might want to go up to 50g. Some people find it’s easier on their digestion if they soak their oats overnight (and this is also helpful if you’re short of time in the morning).

One final little note, if you’re wondering about gluten in oats… Oats don’t naturally contain gluten but are often cross-contaminated by other cereals. If you’re coeliac or are avoiding gluten, make sure you go for oats that are marked as gluten free to be on the safe side.

Want to join me in some porridge making? The very first Experimental Breakfast Club is coming up in the new year on 21st January

 

3 autumn porridge recipes

 

The Uplifting One: Date, Tahini & Clementine Porridge

Unusual Porridge Recipes

20g porridge oats

10g buckwheat flakes

200-250ml water

Good splash of milk (cow’s or non-dairy of your choice e.g. oat milk)

1 tbsp tahini

1 tspn honey

1/4 tspn cinnamon

1 clementine, including zest

5 dates, sliced

Small handful of pumpkin seeds (for porridge & topping)

 

1. Put buckwheat and oat flakes in a small saucepan, add the water and pop on your hob over a medium heat until it’s gently simmering (if things get too bubbly at any point just turn the heat down). Add a splash of milk.

2. Add the tahini, honey and cinnamon, and stir. Grate the clementine zest over. Throw in some of the pumpkin seeds, 3 of the chopped dates, half of the clementine pieces and stir again. Leave to simmer for a few minutes, letting the porridge thicken. Keep an eye on things and stir the porridge regularly so it doesn’t get clumpy. Add a bit of extra water or milk to loosen the porridge if you need to.

3. Once you’re happy with the texture of your porridge, put it into a bowl and top with the other half of the clementine pieces, the remaining dates and a few more pumpkin seeds.

Other flavour options:

Swap the tahini for any other nut butter of your choice / use blood oranges instead of clementines / add a pinch of black pepper

 

The Comforting One: Apple Pie Porridge

Unusual Porridge Recipes
Unusual Porridge Recipes

Unusual Porridge Recipes

Unusual Porridge Recipes

1 medium apple, roughly chopped (core removed)

1/4 tspn cinnamon

1 tspn honey

30g porridge oats

200-250ml water

Good splash of milk (cow’s or non-dairy of your choice e.g. oat milk)

Seeds of 2 cardamom pods, freshly ground in a pestle & mortar (or 1/4 tspn ground cardamom)

1 tspn sesame seeds

Pinch Himalayan pink salt

Optional rye crumb topping:

Small cube of butter

1/2 slice German-style thin rye bread with grains, broken into crumbs

1/2 tspn whole linseed / flaxseed

1/4 tspn cinnamon

 

1. Start with the apple mixture by putting the chopped apple and a splash of water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and drizzle over 1/2 teaspoon of honey, mixing everything together. Put the saucepan over a medium heat on the hob. It will start to simmer gently and you’ll need to stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick (if it looks too dry sprinkle over a little more water). The apple will start to break down and release its juice. Cook until the apple is very soft and mash it a bit with the back of a spoon, but leave some chunks rather than creating a puree.

2. Optional crumb topping: While the apple is cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan. Drop in the rye crumbs, linseed and cinnamon, and stir. Cook for a few minutes until the rye crumbs are completely coated in the butter and crispy on the outside. Remove the pan from the heat and put to the side while you cook your porridge.

3. Pour the cooked apple mixture into a small bowl and add the oats to the same saucepan (don’t worry about cleaning it as you’ll get any leftover bits cooked in with the porridge). Cover with the water and a splash of milk, and stir together. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the remaining honey (1/2 teaspoon), ground cardamom, sesame seeds, pink salt and half of the cooked apple mixture. Mix and simmer for a few more minutes until the oats are soft, chewy and fully cooked to your liking. You’ll need to stir regularly to make sure the porridge cooks evenly. Add a little more water or milk if the porridge needs loosening at any point. It should be nice and creamy by the time it’s ready.

5. Once the porridge is completely cooked, pop it into a bowl, top it with the remaining apple mixture and sprinkle the rye crumbs over the top. Add a further splash of milk.

Other flavour options:

Top with freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries for some extra colour / add a tablespoon of chia seeds while the oats are cooking / add some chopped dates for a bit of extra fudgy sweetness

 

The Savoury One: Tokyo Umami Porridge

 

50g shitake mushrooms, sliced

30g brown rice flakes

200ml water

5g seaweed crisp flakes / sheets (1 packet toasted)

2 tspn Clearspring Umami paste with chilli (or 1 sachet of miso paste)

1 medium egg

A little olive oil for frying mushrooms & egg

Ground black pepper for seasoning

Optional: splash of soy sauce

 

1. Your first task is to fry the mushrooms. Heat a little olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, with a little pepper, and stir. Cook the mushrooms until they are lightly golden. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and put them to the side while you make the porridge.

2. Put the rice flakes and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it is gently simmering. Add the umami or miso paste and half of the seaweed sheets torn into small pieces. Add a little ground pepper, half of the cooked mushrooms and stir well. Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened and the rice flakes are soft and creamy. Rice flakes will take a little longer to cook than normal oats.

3. While the rice flakes are cooking, put the same frying pan you cooked the mushrooms in back on a medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil and gently heat it. Crack an egg into the pan and cook until the white is fully set, and a little crispy on the bottom and around the edges. Ideally you want the yolk to still be runny. Take off the heat and put to the side.

4. Put the rice flake mixture into a bowl. Top with the remainder of the seaweed torn into pieces and the rest of the mushrooms. Use an egg flip or spatula to place the fried egg in the bowl and grind over a little more black pepper. Use a spoon to break the egg yolk so that it runs into the rice and stir it to make a lovely creamy mixture. You can also add a little splash of soy sauce for an extra umami hit!

Other flavour options:

Sprinkle over some pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch / spice things up even more with some chilli flakes / add a splash of mirin (Japanese rice vinegar) for more Japanese flavours

* Thanks to Clearspring for the tasty products I used in the above recipe. These ingredients will also be featuring in my upcoming Experimental Breakfast Club event.

 

How do you like your porridge in the morning?

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