It is cold. It is damp. It is November. This means one thing; porridge season is most definitely upon us. Time to start the day with a belly-warming bowl of delicious goo. Cereal, please step aside.
I think I’m currently in the midst of a mild addiction to porridge. It’s a fantastic blank canvas for a near-infinite list of toppings, so I’m not going to get bored of it any time soon. Now, I know people can be very specific about their porridge (I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to try it Scottish-style with salt and a side of kippers), but here’s my recipe for how I like it.
As well as being yummy and comforting, it’s also a whole league better for you that most cereals and ‘healthy’ granolas on the market today. That is until you stir in some Nutella, but hey, let’s live a little! Oats are jam packed full of all the good stuff, fibre and vitamins, and will hold off those mid-morning tummy rumbles for a lot longer that Mr Kellogg can. And of course, they’re cheap as chips!
British food often gets a bad rap, and in my opinion it is an entirely undeserved reputation. My gran has lots of old recipe books from the Milk Marketing Board celebrating the great range and variety of local produce from different regions of the country, complete with some rather unappetizing 70’s era food photography!
I went to university in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, and was very gladly introduced to the local speciality, welshcakes. They are essentially a flat scone, studded with sultanas before being cooked on a hot griddle and liberally sprinkled with sugar. They can be eaten hot or cold, on their own or split and filled with jam, even with lemon curd (although I’m not sure what the traditional Welsh purists will have to say about that!) It goes without saying that the best place to get them is at the Cardiff Bakestone in the indoor market, where stacks of cakes are constantly being churned out from an enormous hot griddle bigger than the average table, then sold at a charming 30p a pop.
As a new season and new term starts, it’s time for a new recipe. I made these in the slight hope of making a dent in the enormous quantity of apples we now have stacked in the garage after a particularly autumnal wind brought them all down from some of the trees in the garden. Even after stewing and pie-ing and eating, it still looks the same! Apples, raisins and a hit of cinnamon make these muffins deliciously seasonal.
These fruit-packed muffins are ideal for when mornings get the better of us and a grab-and-go breakfast is essential. Despite the misleading title, they are also brilliant for lunches as they are a bit more robust than the usual muffin – they can be slung in the bottom of a rucksack for the day and still come out looking like a muffin! Like most muffins, these freeze well and can double up as an ice pack in a little one’s lunchbox, defrosting (hopefully!) just in time for lunch.
This is the perfect quick and lazy midweek dinner (let’s excuse the fact it’s a Saturday!) that can be thrown together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. It has both the comforting cheesy stodge and a decent hit of vitamins, all without breaking the bank one bit, and can be easily doubled up for two.
(Excuse the dodgy picture, I was far too eager to get it in my face)
This recipe follows the current trend of ‘foods that are quite orangey and look a bit like sick’, although it definitely tastes significantly better. I had a cupboard full of veg that had definitely seen better days (some of it looked like it was trying to escape), so a big batch of soup was definitely in the making. The wonderful thing about soup is that it can revitalise any vegetables past their best, as well as making a decent amount of meals (I got 5 generous bowls out of this) for just a few pennies.