Pimp Your Porridge: Banana, Chocolate, Raspberry & Almond Butter…

wp-1484392423819.jpgThere shall be no prizes for guessing my favourite breakfast, having looked through this blog. Obviously, it has to be porridge. However, I tend to stick to the same formula of pear, nut butter, berries- because it’s easy, quick, and like a reflex action on a busy morning. Today though, after seeing the café in the gym I’m using while visiting home put banana and chocolate chips on porridge, I stepped it up a notch.

This is by no means a really complex or ground-breaking recipe, just a quick post on a combination of porridge toppers you may want to try out…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats, combined in a small pan with 1/2 cup freshly boiled water, a pinch of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 super-ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 1tbsp almond butter
  • 1 small handful dark chocolate chips, or chocolate of choice (I used two of the Discover mini gianduiotto, chopped up into pieces- they taste like Nutella and worked great here)

Method:

  • Heat all of the ingredients that you’ve already placed into the pan, stirring, until the porridge thickens to the consistency of your liking. Empty into a bowl.
  • Top with the chocolate chips immediately so that they begin to melt, then add on the rest of the toppings.
  • Voila! You’re all done…

 

 

Salted Caramel- Apple Porridge

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I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like salted caramel. Even those who hate the combination of sweet and savoury, love sweet and salty. I have met a lot of people who hate porridge (I know, it’s unthinkable), but for this post we’re going to ignore them.

This porridge contains sweet and tender apples, and is topped with a healthy faux- salted caramel. I know that it sounds incredibly autumn appropriate, but I’m already looking forward to that time of year, and this is my blog so I’ll do what I like.

It takes just under 10 minutes start to finish, and I can guarantee it will get your morning off to a cracking start. I love using canned apples in recipes because, although fresh apples are lovely, I can have these kicking around in a cupboard for emergencies, and they have a beautiful tender texture. The salted caramel you’ll be making can be used in other recipes as well- top a fruit salad with it, double the quantities and stir in frozen berries, dollop it on top of a poached pear or griddled peaches,  whack it on top of a chocolate mousse, or smother pancakes with it.

Let’s get started….

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats (proper oats, not instant stuff)
  • EITHER 1/2 cup boiled water and 1/2 cup almond milk OR 1 cup boiled water
  • Pinch of cinnamon and ginger
  • 100g canned apple slices, reserving a few slices for decoration and chopping the rest into chunks
  • For the salted caramel: 1tbsp almond butter (I’m using Meridian) + a good pinch of salt (to taste) + 1tsp honey + 2 scant tbsp thick Greek yoghurt

Continue reading “Salted Caramel- Apple Porridge”

Making Porridge My Way…

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One of my most asked questions on IG is How do you make your porridge? My porridge bowls are a point of pride. And every time one of you guys complements those bowls, you make my day. Sad, but true.

I’ve decided to let you all in on my porridge-making secrets. This post tells you how to make every day porridge, and will give you some topping ideas. In the next few weeks though I’ll be writing some specific porridge recipes for you all, pairing up some of the optional ingredients below.

I understand that many of my friends and family point blank cannot stand porridge. But I’m convinced they aren’t making it right. Porridge is simple and (as we’re using water that is already boiling) quick to make, nutritious if you make it well, satisfying, and can look amazing if you know what you’re doing. Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll open a porridge street food truck, or maybe even a porridge café.

With all that said enjoy this basic step by step recipe below, and remember to tag me in any IG pictures of gorgeous porridge bowls…



Ingredients

Basic:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup freshly boiled water
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (I usually opt for a plant based milk, my favourite being almond milk, or coconut-rice milk)
  • Cinnamon, to taste

Every day essentials:

  • Fruit of choice: I usually go for a pear, and then berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1tbsp nut butter of choice

Make it fancy:

  • OPTIONALS: pinch of ground ginger, 1 egg white (for added protein; recipe here), mint sprigs, cacao (1tbsp), chia seeds (1tsp), vanilla (1tsp), chopped nuts, maple syrup, honey, agave, homemade apple sauce…


Method

 

  • Halve your pear (we’ll work with this as its my go-to) and remove the core. Chop one half and add it to the pan.
  • Place the pan over a low heat, adding in the milk, water, cinnamon, and oats. Allow to simmer until nearly thickened to your liking (I like mine pretty thick)…
  • This is the point where you can throw in optional extras like cacao and chia seeds. Ginger is also great if you need to settle your stomach. Play around with different combinations and find some you love!
  • Stir the porridge with a wooden spoon continuously, until the mixture is completely thickened and the oats have absorbed all of the liquid. As you get better at making porridge on the hob you’ll come to understand how long you need to leave it in order to achieve the texture you like.
  • Remove from the heat once the porridge is of your desired consistency, and pile into a bowl. Top with the remaining half of the pear, and any other fruit/ nut butter/ maple syrup you like…

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Pear & Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Does anyone else prefer their pears crunchy and crisp? Instead of that awful, gritty, mushy mess they become when overly ripe? When pears are anything less than crunchy, there is only one thing for them: baked oatmeal. Pear and blueberry is a particularly lovely combination. Frozen blueberries are better value, keep longer, and also (for some strange reason) release more of their juice and flavour in baking, I find. The oats will keep you full throughout the morning, provide fibre, energy, and cook down to a texture somewhere between cookie dough and a muffin. In short, this is a perfect student breakfast. I tend to make my baked oatmeal on a Saturday morning, post lie in, when I have more time to enjoy it…



Ingredients

  • 1 medium pear, I used a Rocha pear (these were the crispest ones I could get hold of at the time)
  • 1 small handful frozen blueberries (trust me: these work the best)
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup milk (plant based, or cow’s milk)
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • Cinnamon and ginger, to taste
  • OPTIONAL: Nut butter of choice, 1 tbsp. (to top)


Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190*c, and grease a baking dish (a deep dish works best).
  • Chop the pear into chunks, reserving three thin slices to top.
  • In a bowl mix together all of the ingredients, and then pour into the baking dish, pushing the pear chunks below the surface of the mixture (as much as possible anyway). Top with the pear you sliced earlier and then put to one side, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few more frozen blueberries.
  • Place into the oven for 25 minutes, until crisp on the top. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly (give it 5 minutes-ish: we don’t want any burnt mouths).
  • Top with nut butter if you desire (almond is a good call), and dig in…

Pear, Chocolate & Hazelnut Butter Porridge

Lets talk winter breakfasts. Winter breakfasts mean something warm and filling, and that can be eaten sat in your living room, whilst watching pedestrians slip on icy surfaces, and dreading the moment you have to join them. I also feel like I want winter breakfasts to be a bit more indulgent around Christmas time. Or at least feel indulgent, whilst delivering maximum nutritional benefits. Because we all know that I would rather tuck into a massive roast dinner than fill myself with a sack full of chocolate coins on Christmas morning.

So, whether you want to make this for Christmas day, or simply as a lovely December treat to lure you from your bed, I have a porridge recipe that will nourish you and your taste buds. Cacao is an ingredient I picked up in the Black Friday sales (and then using the points on my Holland & Barratt’s loyalty card), and is rich in iron and flavour. It also apparently aids digestion, and is a mood booster. If you cant get hold of it, then use unsweetened dark cocoa powder, it will taste just as good! Pears are still in season (conference pears are great right now), and provide one of your 5 a day, plus fibre, and natural sweetness. Oats are a bit of a nutritional powerhouse (understatement), containing fibre, protein for muscle repair and growth, carbs for slow release energy, and some studies have linked them to lowering the risks of certain cardiovascular diseases. Then we have hazelnut butter: again, a great source of protein (especially for veggies and vegans) and fats- which are needed to help keep hair, skin, and nails healthy, as well as (and probably more importantly) absorbing the vitamins A,D,E and K. With all of that out of the way, enjoy making this recipe, and let me know what you think- either in the comments below, or over on my IG account (link to the right)…


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup freshly boiled water (this speeds up the process, as I have little time in the morning- but still want a good breakfast)
  • 1/4 cup alpro coconut milk (or almond milk, or cows milk, or goats milk, or oat milk- or whatever milk you can get your hands on)
  • 2tsp cacao powder
  • OPTIONAL: 1tsp honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar (cacao is a little like dark chocolate, but without the refining process. I like bitter dark chocolate and so don’t always add the sweetener; if you have a sweet tooth then taste the porridge and decide whether to add it in!)
  • 1 large, crisp pear
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1tbsp hazelnut butter (feel free to use almond instead, it works just as well. I used the Meridian hazelnut butter, which tastes just like Ferrero Rocher as it is…)

Method

  • Chop the pear into chunks, having cut the core out. Place half of the pear into a small pan, and add in the boiled water. Place onto the hob, and turn the heat up high. Bring the water back to the boil, and add in the cinnamon. Poach your pear for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now, turn the heat down as low as possible without turning it off. Add in the coconut milk, and then the oats. Stir. Add in the cacao and the honey/agave, and half of the hazelnut butter (alternatively, save all of the nut butter to top the porridge). 
  • Continue stirring until the porridge is of the desired thickness, and the oats have absorbed the liquid. Pile into a bowl, and top with the remaining pear, hazelnut butter, a dash of cinnamon, and perhaps some berries- if you’re feeling fancy. I love using frozen berries, as they acquire a very Christmas-y frosted looked when they hit the hot porridge…

Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal (with a secret ingredient…)

Who loves apple pie?! I know that a good apple pie is sometimes right up my street, especially in
autumn. Apple pie, with chunky pieces of apple, wrapped in cinnamon and a crisp short crust pastry. All homemade, because that’s just the best way when it comes to apple pie- not least because it makes your whole house smell delicious.

Unfortunately (although the odd slice here and there- with ice cream) won’t do you any harm, apple pie isn’t something you can eat every day. But this baked oatmeal can fill in the gaps I reckon…

The recipe makes a single serving baked oatmeal with a soft and delicious base, spiced apple and juicy sultanas scattered throughout. It is sweet, and spiced, and fruity. And those tender apple chunks are kept tender by the not-secret-for-much-longer secret ingredient in the oat base. Avocado. 1/4 of a large, super ripe avocado adds some creaminess without all of the butter of a short crust pastry. Trust me, it works.

Feel free to top this baked oatmeal with almond butter, as I did, or even a good dollop of super thick Greek or vanilla yoghurt, to replicate the cream you would have with apple pie. Maybe use vanilla fro-yo if you’re more of an ice cream fan, or really feeling a treat…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 SUPER RIPE avocado, well mashed to a creamy consistency
  • 1 apple, chopped into chunks (reserve three slices for decoration if desired)
  • 10g sultanas
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used Alpro coconut original, as it is my current favourite)
  • OPTIONAL:
1tbsp almond butter; Greek yoghurt; vanilla yoghurt; frozen yoghurt, to top.
2tsp agave nectar or honey, for a sweeter “apple pie” mixture.


Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190*C.
  • Take half of the chopped apple and microwave on full power for about 1 minute, until just tender.
  • Mix all of the ingredients but the apple and sultanas together, until well incorporated. If you do wish to add honey or agave then add these into the mix just formed, and stir until mixed in.
  •  Following this fold in the apple and sultanas, and then dollop into an ovenproof dish, smoothing out the top. Lay the three apple slices on top, and then place into the oven for 18-20 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden.
  • Top your baked oatmeal with any one of the suggested toppings. Although I personally suggest peanut, almond, or cashew butter.

Take in a deep breath of that apple pie aroma, and then dig in guys…

Italian Veggie & Mackerel Savoury Porridge

Who says porridge has to be sweet? I have seen some amazing savoury porridge recipes in the past, and have finally gotten around to creating one of my own. That’s right, I unleashed my inner Heston Blumenthal.
I personally think that mushrooms and herbs are ingredients that work really well in savoury porridge, and that a thicker, denser texture makes this dish feel decidedly savoury. I also topped mine with mackerel, although if you aren’t a fish fan feel free to omit this. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then I believe this would be just as good without the mackerel, or amazing with some baked tofu on top. In fact, I may have to try that one myself…

Ingredients

  • 30g porridge oats (the proper ones, not the ready prepared sachets. The added sugar and flavours in these will not work well with onion guys.)
  • 130ml cold water
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • Dried mixed Italian herbs, approx. 1/2tsp (this depends on personal taste)
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • Mixed seasoning (mine contained black pepper, sea salt, white pepper, and oregano)
  • 1 mackerel fillet ( I used canned, as it was a better portion size, and needed using up)
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 mashed avocado, or 2tbsp pumpkin puree (the 100% pumpkin stuff- I used Libby’s)


Method

  • In a microwavable dish cook the onion with the dried herbs until softened, about 1 minute.
  • Add the mushrooms and carrot to the dish, and then the oats and the water.
  • Microwave for a further 2-3 minutes. The oats should become very thick and dense in texture, and the vegetables you can see will appear tender.
  • Remove from the microwave and top with the pumpkin or avocado (I went with pumpkin as, again, it needed using), and the mackerel fillet (you can warm these slightly in the microwave too, or eat them cold). Sprinkle with the chopped basil and mixed seasoning, and then dig in…