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Porridge with a difference; and it takes you back to the world of rice pudding, fish fingers and pop tarts. It’s only semolina but I like it.
The best thing about having a baby was semolina porridge. At whatever baby’s age I forget (no wonder frankly as it was over thirty years ago), when weaned off formula, I cooked semolina porridge for my baby daughter every night. A bottleful of runny porridge, unsweetened (before Granny took over), was offered nightly and about a third of it consumed after much cajoling. She was not keen on eating in her early years, was my little girl.
I’d guzzle the rest like an alkie draining her morning beer. Yes that’s right, out of the bottle, teat and all.
Joking aside - even though it’s an honest truth about the semolina baby leftovers – I have a soft place in my heart (stomach?) for the bland baby goo, similarly to how people are sentimentally fond of rice pudding, cheese on toast or eggs and soldiers. The perversity of my fixation with semolina is that I probably didn’t much like it when I was served it my toddler self; though a vague image of a porridge featuring puddles of butter, sugar and cinnamon wanders through my memories.
But I never, ever cooked it for my own consumption until very recently when I thought ‘what the hell?’ Why are oats and barley and buckwheat and quinoa supposed to be fine for adult consumption, healthy and trending, while poor semolina is forever relegated to crèche?
It shouldn’t, and here’s the revival. Semolina cooks as quick as oats; in fact my favourite overnight soaking technique works here like an angel. Throw a few dried fruit in, pour in the milk and the next morning it takes no longer than three minutes to cook up lovely, thick porridge. I like it really lumpy but simply add more milk if you prefer it soupier.
semolina porridgeServings: 4Time: 5 minutes plus overnight soaking
- 100g (2/3 cup) semolina (coarse if available)
- a handful of dried cranberries
- 400ml (1¾ cup) semi-skimmed milk
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. butter
- ground cinnamon
- honey or maple syrup, to serve
1. Soak the semolina overnight: place it in a saucepan with the cranberries and pour over the milk. Leave in the fridge.
2. In the morning place the pan over medium heat, add a pinch of salt and the butter. Cook stirring often so it doesn’t catch, until it’s thick and comes away from the sides of the pan. Add a little water if it looks too thick to your liking.
3. Divide the porridge between serving bowls, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey or maple syrup.