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.
Babies, semolina porridge and me
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.
Fond food memories
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 myself to eat 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 the crèche?
It shouldn’t, and here’s the revival.
How to cook semolina porridge?
Semolina cooks as quick as oats; whether you choose to cook it with milk or with water (milk! milk!). In fact my favourite overnight soaking technique works here like an angel.
The night before measure out your desired amount of semolina - it's also more filling than oats so you probably want to use half as much - in a small saucepan. You can throw a few dried fruit in if you like (my favourite are cranberries) or some freeze-dried berries. Pour in the milk or water and leave it in the fridge overnight.
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.
What toppings on semolina porridge?
Again, what's below is what I like - the privilege of a recipe writer. If you don't add any berries or raisins, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon is a must. You can also use cocoa powder for a chocolatey tang. I like to add a little dot of butter and see it melt on warm porridge. And a drizzle of honey, maple syrup or a spoonful of jam.