I didn't often used to get porridge for breakfast when I was a kid - my parents weren't that cruel.
The epitome of hideousness, it used to be the most detested breakfast food. Gruel with bits of husk in the glutinous tasteless goo, neither sweet or savoury, the type of thing that seems to swell up in your mouth as you try to eat it and won't go down. The sort of dish you spend what seems like hours over at the breakfast table and feel like the world doesn't know bigger misery than yours. The kind of food that never gets eaten up simply because it's too disgusting for words.
I considered myself lucky never to have gone to a boarding school as I had visions of porridge served there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let's get it clear - I didn't have any problems with dairy as such; unlike a lot of kids I actually rather liked rice pudding and semolina. But porridge was the pits.
And now it's all the rage. And I love it.
Maybe they grow different type of oats now. Or they must have changed the way it gets processed? Anyway, porrige surfaced first perhaps about seven years ago, to become a trendy breakfast food. I had actually re-discovered it before the world did, by soaking and cooking muesli (weird, I know) for my breakfast. I found it didn't contain the horrible husks anymore and what with a few raisins, a dollop of yoghurt and plenty of honey - quite delishhh.
Of course it's been hijacked by hipsters and turned into stuff made from amaranth (yuck) and quinoa (double yuck). No - porridge is oats, jumbo or pinhead if you're lucky to get them.
Pinhead oats are tougher, with more bite, but thanks to that also more satisfying - and actually keep you going for longer: I guess all those pinheads in the stomach take more time to be digested. Touted to be healthy but I don't know - it’s still fattening pure carbs, and in my books what's fattening ain't healthy. But in terms of nutrition - very very good. You have your bowl at breakfast and sometimes it'll last you until the evening meal if it needs to, and if you're disciplined enough.
What next to travel from detested to super food? Rice pudding I guess - your time is nigh.
- Per person:
- 50g pinhead oats, or jumbo rolled oats
- a small handful of mixed dried fruit: cranberries, blueberries and sultanas
- 160g whole milk
- a pinch of salt
- crème fraiche
- runny honey
Place the oats in a small pan with the dried fruit and milk and soak overnight.
In the morning add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until most of the milk is absorbed and the porridge has desired consistency - I prefer it quite thick so I cook it until it’s almost catching at the bottom.
Scrape it into a bowl, top with a tablespoon or two of crème fraiche and drizzle with honey.