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Food Blog: Porridge Perfection

Porridge is very much like Marmite; you either love it or you hate it. My box of Quaker Oats takes pride of place in my cupboard but to be completely honest, I used to loathe it. For a long time, I associated porridge with the slimy, salty mess which I was force-fed in primary school. This memory stuck around for several years corrupting the yummy reality of the porridge world. I feel like a lot of people still linger upon their nightmarish childhood experiences, and these folk need to see what they’re missing.

I know that a lot of people are put off by the texture but if you cook it correctly you don’t get a starchy, sticky mess but a smooth, milky mixture. On several occasions during my mid-morning rush, I have left the pan on the hob only to return ten minutes later to discover a stodgy, ugly concoction, which I instantly abandoned. Timing is essential. But the oat itself is also crucial. Don’t cop out and get Morrison’s cheapest oats, as you’ll find when you’re home that you’ve just bought yourself a bag of dust. That’s a school boy error.  Instead stick with Quaker the porridge King.

Once you’ve got the knack of cooking you can be as adventurous as you like. Over the past week I have been on a porridge frenzy testing out different flavour combinations and I thought I’d let you guys in a couple of them.

My personal favourite is porridge with vanilla fruit compote. I made the compote by cooking a packet of frozen mixed berries with a cup of water, some sugar, lemon juice and a vanilla pod. It is a perfect porridge topper, but works equally well drizzled over Ben and Jerry’s chocolate fudge ice cream. Amazing! 

This is an absolute classic. Don’t throw out that borderline black banana, it will make for a delicious addition with a drizzle of honey. Cut back on the sugar with this one as the natural goodness in the banana and honey will take the edge off the porridge; a healthy alternative to the usual dosage of caster sugar. And why not swap honey for maple syrup?! Delish. 

Why not try flavouring your porridge with some cinnamon and a sprinkle of brown sugar. I also added a dollop of Greek yoghurt for good measure. On a separate occasion I accidentally used ginger instead of cinnamon, which ended up working quite fabulously. Give it a go.

Some other flavours I’m planning on testing out: stewed apple and cinnamon, Nutella, fruit and nut and lemon drizzle.

I know it seems a little mad that I’ve managed to chat on so much about porridge but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. When you make the same thing every morning eating becomes a bit of a chore, un-enjoyable and mundane. I find when I become bored I start skipping breakfast. And when I skip breakfast I start scheduling 3 o’clock naps. It is generally a downward spiral. So, I encourage you to be a bit more experimental with your porridge.

Happy Breakfasting to you all!

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Beth Marsh

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