Porridge – or ‘oatmeal’, as our American cousins say – is pretty standard breakfast fare during the 9 months that serve as sprautumn / winter here in Liverpool.
I know you all know how to make basic porridge. I know you all know that you can use whatever milk you like. I know you know that you can use different oats.
I’m not going to go through the basics – because I have to mother two children who won’t even eat my porridge every single day and I just can’t be bothered.
However I will tell you how I make mine more interesting so you can try some new ways to make your own bowl of wallpaper paste tasty. Or taste different, anyway.
I make porridge on the hob. Microwave just doesn’t taste the same to me – and you don’t get to control the consistency as exactly.
I use half full fat milk (I have it in the fridge for the kids anyway) and half just boiled water (because I boil the kettle to make coffee at the same time). That means that it cooks quicker because I don’t have to wait for the milk to heat from chilled.
Once the oats are in the pan, I add the other ingredients. All the suggestions are for a large bowl worth of porridge. One large bowl…like I said, those little shits won’t eat any cereals that don’t come from a box containing a toy.
At the moment, I’m doing pumpkin spice. It’s not exactly the same as the stuff they add to your coffee but it’s pretty good. Just add a level teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to the pan and stir it in. Add maple syrup or golden syrup too and you’re happy. You can bung in a couple of drops of vanilla extract – if you’re feeling sorry for yourself. It’s like retreating to childhood in a bowl. That’s always good.
I also recommend porridge made by adding a couple of heaped tablespoons of ground almonds and one of sultanas. It has a creaminess that is comforting with a few juicy little surprises.
Then there’s a heaped desertspoonful of chia seeds and a teaspoonful of raspberry jam. Bonne Maman is amazing but almost everywhere does a generic version now (Asda’s even have prettier pots). Make sure you have dental floss for the afterwards. It’s French inspired but it’s all soviet era for your dentistry.
If you have any of your own specialties, feel free to comment. I will top up as I go through the season.
Have a delicious breakfast tomorrow!
Edited 21st March, 2020
I’m just going to add a link to the BBC good food list of ‘extra’ porridge recipes here because, during the present Coronavirus crisis, porridge oats are a great dry ingredient to have to hand.
Quite honestly, though – if you’re stuck in your home – I’d go for some of my more basic and easier versions.
I’d also recommend buying powdered milk – of whatever sort you prefer. It generally tastes horrible if you have to drink it but it can add a lovely creaminess to hot meals. Just mix the powder with the appropriate amount of liquid – comprising milk and water in my recipe to make up the porridge. Or go hell for leather and do it all milk. Well, powdered milk.
Right now we’re using some ingredients and foods that were last used commonly in times of crisis. I’m not familiar with them all. Some of my recipes will involve more ‘wriggle room’ than normal through necessity. Others will need a leap of faith into using your culinary intuition. Fear not, I’ll be trying them myself and will, as always, offer you alternative methods of cooking and what I call ‘taste highlight ingredients’.
Stick with me, dear readers.
We’re in this together – and I’m not going anywhere. I promise.