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!
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.
These arose from the annual glut of courgettes. After having them grilled, fried, baked, and in soup and chutney, and still having a never ending supply from the veg patch, I started looking for more creative ways to use them up.
I first heard of Harry Eastwood and her vegetable adventures on BBC Breakfast (while in a hotel room in Iceland, bizarrely) a few years ago, and subsequently bought her book, the gorgeously named Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. However, as often happens with cookbooks, it had been pushed to the back of the shelf and largely forgotten about until my courgette quest led me to turf it out. It’s such a beautifully written and photographed book that it’s worth a read even if you never intend to make any of the recipes, but on discovering the dregs of a packet of pistachio nuts I had to experiment.
Eggs are definitely one of my favourite ways to start the day. Not only are there so many ways to cook them (Poached, fried, boiled, scrambled, baked blah blah), but they manage to keep me full until at least elevenses, which in my opinion is impressive. Eggs have had a fair bit of bad press lately due to the fairly high cholesterol in the yolk, hence the anaemic and kind of gross looking egg-white omelettes that are popping up all over the internet. Not only are these poor people missing out on the most flavoursome part of the egg, in my frugal Yorkshire it also seems a huge shame to be wasting half an egg for silly reasons, especially as that’s the part that contains some pretty important vitamins. As well as this, recent research has indicated that saturated fat, rather than dietary cholesterol, is the bad guy (you can have a gander over some egg facts here). So, if it’s good enough to grow a little yellow chick from scratch, I’m pretty sure it’ll be alright for me!
Anyway, I digress, back to breakfast. Here’s a little recipe for a power pack of vitamins and nutrients to start the day. I only intended to use avocado to snuggle my egg on, but I found some leftover beetroot hummus in the fridge (as you do) so I decided to experiment. Firstly though, is the base of the dish: toast. If you can, make sure you use some nice wholemeal, seeded or sourdough bread or muffins, even if it’s been lingering at the bottom of the bread bin for a bit too long it’ll toast up beautifully. Light and airy white bread (think the kind perfect with a ham sandwich) is pretty useless here, as it tends to lose all form and smush onto the plate. This recipe is great if you’ve got a slightly over-ripe sorry looking avocado, because as you’ll be smashing it up and covering it with an egg the beautifully sliced and uniformly green type will be wasted here.
|(There’s a very high chance your egg will look more attractive than this, I dropped mine!)
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)