breakfast porridge

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porridge transports me back to my childhood to the days when my mum made a basic, austere, but wholesome version of porridge, mostly with oatmeal, and other times with broken wheat or finger millet. she said it was healthy and fed me, and so did my grandmother in her times.

most people do not fancy waking up to a gloopy gruel when they could easily have fried eggs, crispy bacon and gooey melted cheddar sandwiched between generously buttered slices of toasted brown bread (well ok, wholemeal and multigrain at that!). but the health benefits of the unassuming humble oat are far too many to ignore, such as lowering of high blood pressure, reducing of bad cholesterol, regulating of blood sugar levels, besides being a vital source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. it is little wonder then that oats already happens to be the breakfast choice of champions, athletes and of those on a liberating not restrictive diet. read more on this study conducted at the Harvard University. my grandmother and mother did not need conclusive evidence then, kitchen wisdom never fails. period.

purists insist on porridge being made with oats, water and salt alone. i don’t see that going down well with anyone, leave alone me. now adding of milk surely enhances the taste and texture of what would otherwise be a goopy inedible unpalatable mess. and nobody wants that! my breakfast porridge is apt for those rush workday mornings and works just as good on lazy weekends. simple, wholesome, healthy, and flavorful. now shouldn’t a breakfast be all of that, if not more?


ingredients

  • a cup of quick oats (i use Quaker Oats)
  • a half a cup water
  • a pinch of salt
  • a cup of milk or more depending on how you like your porridge consistency to be (use full fat if you want it creamy, i use skim milk)
  • one heaping tbsp of light muscovado or soft brown sugar
  • a tsp of ground cinnamon powder
  • a handful of roughly chopped walnuts or almonds or a mix of both
  • a scant mix of dried berries (blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries)

instructions

take a small saucepan, pour the water in it and bring it to a boil. tip in the cup of oats, pinch of salt and stir until all of the water has been absorbed. pour in the cup of milk and stir. toss in the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until blended. bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer for a while. turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve. pour into two bowls and sprinkle a mixture of walnuts and mixed berries on top of each bowlful. i believe toppings are personal. some alternate suggestions;

  • a drizzle of thick dark forest honey
  • a sprinkle of chopped dates and walnuts
  • greek yogurt and honey
  • a sprinkle of demerara sugar
  • any fresh fruit serving of your choice

serve right away!


as always, BBC Good Food and The Guardian have articles on how to cook the ultimate “anything”;

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/nov/10/how-to-cook-perfect-porridge

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-porridge-best-breakfast-ever

 

easy breakfast pancakes

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i look forward to saturdays. the promise of good times. starting with a good breakfast. eggs always do figure in my saturday breakfasts, they being the most versatile of foods. and then there are times when i feel like going the extra mile. my earliest memory of breakfast pancakes was watching my mum whip up a simple batter of wheat flour, coconut milk, eggs and sugar in our kitchen and cooking these off a griddle pan. sometimes she would incorporate mashed bananas into the batter adding to character and taste.

“I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.” ― Kathleen Flinn, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

pancakes really are the simplest of breakfasts that can be made in no time with modest ingredients from your pantry. nothing fancy. sans culinary genius. simple, yet satisfying!

adapted from Inspired Taste


ingredients
3/4 cups (105 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 cups (105 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk, dairy or non-diary if you please
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for your frypan
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

instructions
whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder in a mixing bowl, set aside. whisk milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla together in another bowl until blended. make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet milk mixture. or simply break the egg into the flour mixture followed by pouring in the melted butter, milk and vanilla, like i do. whisk until all ingredients have been incorporated. however do not overmix coz that would lead to tough pancakes, which is just really sad. heat a large frypan over medium heat. lightly brush the pan with melted butter. spoon a 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan and gently pan out into a circle. when the top of the pancake breaks out into bubbles, gently flip over. once flipped, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle. repeat for the remainder of the batter.


i like my pancakes with a generous drizzle of honey or maple syrup. but what really elevates my experience is a dollop of Nutella on a hot pancake just off the pan. you could also serve them with peanut butter, jam preserves or a fresh fruit coulis. or simply a knob of butter. ‘coz anything is better with butter, so good!