Chocolate and banana granola clumps

Let’s start this post with a quiz. Name for me a breakfast food that one might consider ‘healthy’?

I’ll give you a few seconds to think about it…

Was granola one of the first ideas to come to mind? A deep bowl of fat free yogurt, chopped fresh fruit, and a generous smattering of granola. Not forgetting the drizzle of runny honey.

I’m not going to get into the debate here of clean vs dirty. Healthy v unhealthy. As is there really an unhealthy food? A slice of cake someone may think of as unhealthy however when you take a look at your diet as a whole if it’s sandwiched in between lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, surely that constitutes as a balanced diet? Kale and quinoa may be ‘healthy’ but if they don’t make you happy, are we living as well as we think. Cake, cookies, brownies and the sweeter things in life are as necessary as kale. That is fact.

Back to the granola, I’m sure there are many brands we grew up eating or still tip into our bowls each and every morning. Maybe you only bought some boxes believing they were healthy, perhaps better than your favourite Cornflakes, but didn’t really take any pleasure from eating them. Words such as natural, free from refined sugars, organic, low fat, whole, all suck us in to the belief that we are making the right choices. Go and take a closer look at almost any box of granola on the supermarket shelves. Take a real close look. HINT, look at the sugar content.

I know I’ve mentioned before about my thoughts on sugar. I’m not a nutritionist, a dietitian or anyone who has the scientific plain facts, so I suppose what I say should be taken with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, it’s evident that as a nation we consume far too much of the sweet stuff. I’m not just talking caster sugar. Maple syrup, honey and agave I’m looking at you too.  Our recommended daily allowance currently stands at 30g per day, that’s 6 tsp. Take a regular can of coke for example, when that contains 35g (7 tsp) you can see how the numbers stack up.

Anything which contains more than 5g of sugar per 100g is said to be high. As sugar or a syrup is the ingredient in granola which brings the crunch, it is going to be higher than say a box of muesli or shredded wheat. There are granolas on the market which have much lower sugar content and are GL (glycemic load) tested, so won’t cause as much of a spike in your sugar levels. That being said, if like me you have tried this one in particular, will know that it resembles a certain food for our feathery friends. Bird food. Dry, floury, not much crunch and rather bland, food for fuel not for enjoyment.

No one needs that. Life isn’t made for boring breakfasts.

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I’m sure many of you have seen this recipe before from one of my favourites, Green Kitchen Stories. Their banana granola is a bit of a worldwide phenomenon. My New Roots has a recipe also. In fact it’s far from a new concept. Google banana granola and the posts are numerous. Hundreds and thousands of them. Hello innovative blogger over here! But you can never have enough granola recipes.

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Yet again I had a few bananas, well past their best, festering in the fruit bowl. Usually that always means banana bread, but no eggs and so far no success with a vegan version of said bread, I just wasn’t going to take the risk. Banana granola was on my mind. Sweetened with fruit and just a little maple syrup to bring the crunch. Thoughts of baking low and slow to ensure no burnt bitter ends and using up some brown rice puffs hiding in the back of the cupboard, well obviously my brain on that particular day was fully functioning. Clumpy granola, lightly sweetened, boulders of crunch to munch whether it be for breakfast or as a snack. It was a result.

This one. A heavy dousing of raw cacao, a big pinch of salt is essential, and some peanut butter too. Cos’ why not! Chopped nuts, coconut flakes, oats, raw buckwheat and puffed rice mixed well with some cinnamon for that sweet spice. It’s simple as you like, low in added sugar and one to use up whatever is going in your cupboards.

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I can’t forget to mention that it’s dad approved. From a dad who likes his breakfasts of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, granola, Shreddies and Weetabix on rotation, and that is that. But this stuff by the handful, he was more than happy. Take it as you like. In a bowl drowned with your milk of choice, ice cold. Or some yogurt, whether it’s coconut, cows or almond topped with a big handful and some fruit. That açai bowl or smoothie that was begging for a bit of crunch, here’s your answer. As a topper for porridge, toast, overnight oats, a vessel for scooping up nut butter or just popping into your mouth… You got it!

Plus it’s chocolate flavoured. How can you go wrong?!?!

Chocolate and banana granola clumps

  • Servings: Makes a small serving which can be doubled easily ( just divide between two trays and rotate them halfway through baking)
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Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 40g almonds
  • 40g walnuts
  • 40g flaked coconut
  • 50g puffed brown rice
  • 25g raw buckwheat
  • 75g rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 big pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp rapeseed oil (olive oil or coconut oil will work too)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 very ripe banana

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone baking sheet.
  2. Chop the almonds and walnuts roughly and add to a bowl along with all the other dry ingredients and stir together.
  3. In a saucepan mash the banana to a purée then add all the other wet ingredients and heat gently until everything has melted and combined.
  4. Pour the banana mixture into the oat mixture and give it a good stir until there are no dry bits left and everything is mixed well.
  5. Transfer to the baking sheet, pat into a thick layer and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. After that time, give the granola a stir by folding it over trying not to break the clumps up too much. Rotate the tray and place back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Checking the granola every 5 minutes, stirring the outside edges into the middle to ensure they are not burning.
  7. Take out of the oven when deep brown and smelling delicious. It will firm up even more as it cools.
  8. Leave the tray to cool on a wire rack, whilst the scent of chocolatey banana bread wafts through the house, so hide away from wandering hands! Store in a Tupperware at room temperature where it will keep for around 1 month.

Hope you enjoy this one. It sure is a winner. I’ll be off now, I’ve just eaten a mouthful of granola and I want some more!

X

The #PSL but not as you know it

The past week here in the UK there has been notable chill in the air. It seems to have sprung on us rather suddenly. Yes it’s October, and yes it is Autumn, but nevertheless I’m sure we have all been relishing in the glorious sunshine that’s turned up a couple of months late.

The sunglasses are still in use, but now I’m fishing out my winter coats, thicker tights, roll neck jumpers and very soon knee high boots (mini squeal!) to beat the frosty breezes but still enjoying the outside air without the wish to be snuggled up in a duvet with a hot water bottle.

Living in Britain we are supposed to have four proper seasons but due to global warming we’re shifting towards the two season year. Spring for sure, you’ll see the lambs, the daffodils, waking up to sunlight in the early mornings pulls us out of hibernation. Autumn too, leaves browning on the trees and gathering in piles of hedgehog caves, the low sunlight that blinds your vision, English apples crisp and sprightly. Both these times are truly magical.

Summer and winter are on a different level. Never warm enough in July and August, no picnics in the parks or bbqs (or if you’re lucky wrapped up in blankets), your umbrella is constantly sodden by the torrential downpour and bohemian summer dresses and sandals stay packed in the cases until next year. Winter isn’t much different, cold dreary mornings that turn into dark nights, never cold enough for snow only that grey sludge that lasts an eternity, everyone suffering from SAD in desperate need for some vitamin D.

Autumn is by far my favourite, maybe due to it also being the season for my birthday (yay!), I’m sure many others also cherish these couple of months. The time to make the most of British berries, plums, pears, courgettes growing in abundance, the last of the tomatoes, game season, early carrots and the start of the root vegetables, all meaning warmth and comfort will soon be filling our mealtimes.

For many the arrival of Autumn also means it’s time for Starbucks to take over with the #psl. What on earth is that? Come on, surely you know it’s the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The drink that has landed on our soil after many years being a favourite of the Americans. They will find the excuse to put pumpkin in EVERYTHING. And then if it doesn’t contain actual pumpkin there will at least be pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.

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Being a Brit, pumpkin only means one thing, Halloween. Pumpkin pie isn’t something we’re eager to bake and serve slices of with a mound of cream, and I don’t see people stockpiling pumpkin flavoured treats at the supermarket. I’m talking pumpkin Oreos, pumpkin spice cream cheese, pumpkin spice almonds, pumpkin spice kale chips, pumpkin pie flavour vodka, pumpkin pie flavour crisps, the list is endless I could’ve gone on on and but I think we’ve had enough of that.

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We get it the Americans love pumpkin, so in homage to them and in my attempt to create something as warm and cosy as the #PSL whilst still giving you something nourishing and not laden with sugar, I’ve come up with this recipe.

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Somebody else say porridge? Yes another porridge recipe, but if you’re anything like me that’s all I crave this time of year.

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For the pumpkin element obviously using pumpkin would be ideal, but if you’ve ever attempted to cook the ones you can find in the supermarket you’ll well know that they’re grown more to be spooky than savoured. Instead I reached out for the humble butternut squash, or even sweet potato would work here. We’re looking for that earthy sweetness, and brilliant orange tone to bring this porridge to life. Spices are obligatory, then finely chopped medjool dates are stirred through for their caramelly sweetness meaning no added sugar is required. And of course what would porridge be without a swirl of nut butter, sunflower seed butter was what I opted for but go ahead with anything else, pecan butter would be INSANE, and of course peanut butter will always have a place in my heart.

 

Pumpkin Pie Porridge

Ingredients

Serves 1

  • 40g / 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 125 ml / 1/2 cup water
  • 125ml / 1/2 cup plant based milk (I like oat or hemp)
  • 1/4 cup butternut squash, mashed**
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Small Grating of nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 squishy medjool dates (I find them very sweet and one is enough but alter to suit your taste)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter

 

Method

** The squash needs to be prepared in advance, can be cooked and kept in the fridge for around 5 days, use leftovers in a soup, as a mash for dinner, stirred into hummus, as a spread on toast or crackers, or just for this porridge every morning.

Wash the whole squash and wrap in foil. Place in an oven set at 180C for at least an hour until tender. Leave to cool.

When required, cut in half length ways and remove the seeds in the rounder section, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon, leaving the skin behind.

  1. The night before if you wish mix the oats, chia seeds, water and milk in a bowl and leave to soak until the next day
  2. In the morning if the oats have been soaked pour into a saucepan, if you haven’t soaked the put the oats, chia, water and milk straight into a pan. Then add the salt, squash purée, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and nutmeg and mix it all together.
  3. Place over a medium high heat until it starts to bubble, then turn down the heat to a low simmer and leave to cook for 5-10 minutes until thickened to your liking. Keep checking and stirring to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom and add more milk if you prefer it looser.
  4. Tip into a bowl, swirl through your nut butter of choice and add the chopped medjool dates.
  5. Sprinkle with more cinnamon if you like, seeds, bee pollen and whatever else you fancy. If you want to go all out on that pumpkin pie vibe, add a dollop of yogurt, cows, goat or coconut, take your pick for some extra creaminess.

Enjoy in your dressing gown and slippers, a mug of green tea in one hand, the newspaper spread on the table and the porridge warming your belly.

Sending warmth and rosy cheeks your way

X

The Mae Deli

Me and my mum are best friends. There is no one else on this earth that I would trust more than my mum. We do everything together, I ring her a few times a day and then we talk for hours. I feel so so grateful, and I’m so glad that we have this relationship. Maybe it’s me being an only child, having no brothers or sisters to play with, there’s no other choice really (and sorry dad, I love you but I don’t want to watch football or talk about sheds). 

Now that I’m away during the week and don’t see my mum as often, I find it quite hard. For one it’s because I can’t afford to go out to nice places like we do when we’re together, and two because I love to share experiences with someone else. Going to exhibitions or cool restaurants by yourself just isn’t as fun. There’s no one to ooh and ahh with, and laugh about daft art (we are fans of an art gallery to be frank).

I look forward to the few times a year when my mum comes to visit me in London for a day out. Obviously I plan the day around where we will eat, and we go from there. Typically a vegetarian or health foodie spot for some lunch then a must visit restaurant I’ve been eyeing up on Instagram for dinner. Probably involves some serious carbing or deep fried crispy goodness because, BALANCE people! 

Most of the time though I’m by myself, either I haven’t got any friends around, or no one else can afford to spend the money. For me however I spend all my money on food, occasionally clothes, but mainly food so it will include a detour to Wholefoods or Planet Organic too (my weakness). Staring at all the new things on the shelves makes me tick. Weird I understand, but we all have our ways.

Once in a while, I start to get sick of my food. I KNOW, bet you never thought I’d be saying that. But think of it this way. When you’re cooking just for yourself only for four to five days it’s not possible to buy a wide variety of foods, so the same thing day in day out, only altered ever so slightly tends to become the norm. Now you see, pretty boring. When I start to get these pangs for variety I take myself out for a little lunch date. Yepp, solo. If anyone fancies joining me, that would be rather lovely, as long as you don’t mind me instagramming my food before you can start eating it #issues.

So off I trot to a healthy hot spot that’s been lurking on my radar. I could swear that every time I tick one off the list, another two new ones get added. It never ends!!! But I’m not complaining. 

And when it’s variety I’m after a quick tube to Marble Arch is all it takes to reach The Mae Deli.

I’m sure there’s no need for me to explain if you’ve been on this planet for the last few years, or if you live on cloud cuckoo land I shall begin:

Opened up by the blogger wellness warrior that is Deliciously Ella and her husband Matt, The Mae Deli is a cafe where you can eat ‘Deliciously Ella style’ and obviously walk out like a glowing goddess, and they’ve even made it accessible for the non vegan crowd by providing a side of either chicken or salmon if you so wish. 

Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or even a sweet pick me up there is so much on offer here. The portions are generous so you won’t be leaving hungry.

For the three times I have visited I’ve always opted for the Mae bowl, a selection of four of the salads, dips or hot options that you can mix and match to your liking. Pretty good right! I can’t leave a review of anything else as I just haven’t tried them, there’s always a next time…

For breakfast, expect porridge, avo on toast, chia pots, coconut yogurt and granola, smoothies, juices and shakshuka. After your deli bowl maybe grab a matcha latte, turmeric latte, coffee or loose leaf tea, and if you’re feeling not so virtuous one of the sweet delights that tempt you on top of the counter.

Also available to buy are Deliciously Ella’s books, loaves of bread, bags of granola and the Deliciously Ella energy balls available in three flavours, cashew and ginger, cacao and almond and hazelnut and raisin (the last is my faveeee).

There’s plenty of seating, and downstairs feels a little like your best friends house cosy, warm and comforting. If you arrive at 1 or 7 (peak times!!!) beware you will probably have to queue but it’s definitely worth it.

When I say ‘Deliciously Ella’ you’re probably thinking all kale and quinoa. Of course they feature but it’s a hell of a lot better than that, the menus change seasonally but there’s always two dips on offer, obviously I’ve always gone for the hummus and if you don’t you’re missing out! Expect sweet potato dishes, warming curries rich in coconut milk, avocados galore, sundried tomato falafel 😻😻. There’s more inspiration to make you want to eat like this 24/7 than you could shake a stick at!! So go, right now if you can, your dinner will be delicious (apparently just like Ella).

Happy eating my loves

X
(I apologise for the lack of photos, they seem to have all gone from my phone, well at least there’s a mystery so you just have to go to find out for yourself) 

Porridge from the gods

So, I was thinking what is a good way to follow a recipe post on porridge? Obviously a review of possibly THE BEST porridge cafe, like EVER!

I’m not exaggerating here

So, in the mornings I do like to make my meals that little bit special. Sprinkling on a little bit of bee pollen here, cacao nibs there, adding maca for some OOMPH. When I’m at home this is all fine and dandy, i have everything in my kitchen and my mum doesn’t mind paying for these things that make me happy (thanks mum!), however when staying away from home, i can’t fill my carry on case just with food. Ok ok i do do this, but I need some clothes to wear too. So food alll goes in the latge case, along with tupperware (my hero dressed in plastic), and clothes and shows into the carry on. Sorted.

Alas, when in London there is a saviour.

Sick of avo on toast, and nut butter on toast, I need some proper posh porridge in me.

In saunters 26 Grains, with serious amount of swagger, and porridge making credentials.

(The few times that i have visited 26 grains is when they were open in Neal’s Yard, but now they’ve moved to another location as of September 2016, so don’t follow my directions, you won’t find them there anymore!!)

Hop on the tube and get yourself down to Covent Garden, or if you’re like me WALK, everything is so much closer in London than you realise. Have a little wander over to Neal’s Yard, a little hidden oasis of calm. It is crowded but it sure ain’t rowdy. This haven is chockful of healthfood and wellness warrior hotspots. Spy Wildfood Cafe in the corner. A completely raw vegan cafe that isn’t all lentils and bird seed. Also there’s Neal’s Yard Remedies, a natural organic skincare company (its BRITISH TOO), where you can slather on the most beautiful smelling products whilst knowing that you’re not adding any bad chemicals into your body. Pick up some hippy health foods too, to recreate THAT porridge that you’ll soon be eating in 26 Grains.

I’ll start with a little background information first. Alex set up 26 grains first as a pop up and then they opened up their first shop through Crowdfunder. Whilst living in Denmark, Alex grew to love their sense of ‘hygge’. It doesn’t really translate to English directly, but means warmth and cosiness. Does a bowl of steaming porridge sound familiar? So she wanted to open a cafe serving porridge, full of wholegrains, not just oats, seasonal fruits and vegetables, cooked long and slow to retain all the goodness and give anyone eating it a lovely glow. THAT she has definitely achieved.

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Whether its breakfast, lunch, a rather hefty snack or an early dinner you are wanting, 26 Grains can cater for that. It ain’t all sweet either. Savoury porridge is a DAMN GOOD THING

I’ve now visited 26 Grains 3 times (hello mini fan over here), first all by myself at lunch time, the second on a day out with my mum (thank god, i needed someone to talk to) and the third with a friend for a little early breakfast date. The shop is a little space, with outdoor seating if it’s a nice day (we are in London though so its probably raining), or the option to take away. The menu is written on a large chalkboard on the wall, there’s jugs of water to help yourself as you take a perch at a wooden table to make your decision.

In the tiny Neal’s Yard shop, usually there are three people working in the smallest kitchen i have seen. They cook on little stoves, surrounded by a crazy array of toppings, rude health milks and steaming bubbly porridge.

First up on the menu and for my first visit it had to be the classic, Hazelnut and Butter. This is where my love affair first began. You’re probably thinking,”BUTTER IN PORRIDGE? EW!” It’s incredible. I’m telling you. And makes it even creamier. As Renee Redzeppi once said, “The only dish I go back to is porridge every morning. I cook it in milk, and it has to be steaming hot, I add a dollop of butter that melts all over it. I sprinkle flaky salt on it and if i have it, add thin slices of pork. That’s the breakfast of champions”.

I think he has got it about right.

So I visited for lunch. Picture, almond milk oats, topped with toasted hazelnuts, a nice sizeable amount of butter, cinnamon coconut sugar, and some slithers of apple. Put it in a beautiful bowl, eaten on a cold rainy day and HEY MAMA! Porridge coma here I come!

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On the next visit with my mumsy was over a spot of lunch. As we were sharing, we thought we’d get a savoury bowl and then a sweet, for a little bit of pud. So it was a bowl of crispy brown rice (something I MUST recreate) with coconut curry chickpeas, kale, aubergine pickle and coconut yogurt. Not spicy just full to the brim of flavour. One of those dishes where every mouthful tastes that bit different so you keep going back for more, and more…and moreeee.

Next up. The sweet stuff. The bowl we’d been eyeing up. Both of us admitted afterwards we were trying to eat the savoury as quickly as possible so we could dive into this! It was one of the seasonal bowls, as we were just coming out of winter into spring it meant blood oranges. Those purple tinged citrus that stain your face as they drip down, marvellous beauties. In the bowl was a toothsome (I don’t know why I’ve written that word its awful) mixture of spelt, rye and oats to make up the base. Then a topping of blood orange compote, cacao granola, pistachios and greek yogurt. Heavenly. We left nicely satisfied with a big grin on our faces. No brisk winds and pelting rain could stop us…

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And then there was the third visit. With my friend Hannah for an early breakfast. I mean I woke up at 6:30 in order to get there, dedication or what? We both opted for something sweet, Hannah had the blood orange that i had the previous time, but I had my eye on a little coconut rice concoction. Toppings consisting of cacao nibs, toasted coconut chips, lime zest, black tahini, date syrup and some extra lime to squeeze, I mean what more can you ask for. Like my childhood memories of Ambrosia rice pudding in a much more body loving form. The best by far.

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Alongside Hazelnut and Butter, Banana and Cacao and Nordic Spice are regulars on the menu. The seasonal specials don’t stick around for long, but some past members have been Blueberry Almond Butter, Rhubarb Buckwheat Cardamom Granola, Matcha Cacao Coconut, Raspberry Cacao Tahini Fennel and Apple Beetroot Cranberry. I could go on and on but I’d like to leave some element of surprise for you.


So onto the savoury is the favourite of Egg and Kale (yesss egg on porridge, think of the oooooze) also some avo on there for good measure, but past creations have been Indonesian Chicken, Sticky Teriyaki Mushrooms, Orange Buckwheat Feta, just to name a few. There’s a Bircher muesli and smoothie bowl for those wanting something on the colder side, banana bread, bliss balls, smoothies, juices, brilliant coffees and matcha lattes. Basically anything superfoodie, they’ve got it.

So what’s to come next? Alex has a book coming out soon. I’m expecting lots of porridge recipes and food with a scandi influence. The pages will probably smell of cardamom. They’re moving out of the Neal’s Yard store to a new location which opens in September, I can’t tell you exactly where yet because I don’t know! So if you’re ever in the vicinity, please don’t hesitate to stop off at 26 Grains. You’re looking to spend around £6 for a sweet bowl and about £8 for a savoury, you can’t get much for that price in the big smoke and you’re guaranteed to not be feeling hangry 1 hour later.

If anyone visits please let me know about it, I want to hear your experiences too. I’ll definitely be back to visit the new store when it opens, so look out for some pics on my instagram. In the meantime, don’t mind me as I’m now off to cook, porridge for breakfast lunch and dinner anyone?

Love, bliss and full tummies

X

 

First things first

I want to talk about breakfast.

Now I am a breakfast person. I like to wake up early in order to have a little peace in the morning, some time for me, and devour my little creation. My masterpiece (aka breakfast) changes from day to day, you won’t find Crunchy Nut Cornflakes in my bowl, no no no! We’re all about nutrient density peopleeee!

So before breakfast starts, I have my little ritual. It tends to differ slightly if I’m away from home, but if I’m not working or don’t need to rush out the house I usually like to wake around 7:30. Then its time for my warm water, lemon and ACV (apple cider vinegar BTW). If there’s one thing I recommend everyone does, that will make you feel that much better, is drinking a large glass of this first thing in the morning. Overnight your body starts to become dehydrated, so get some H2O down ya. It does a lot of good. Whilst you are asleep your body rests and repairs, now when ACV and lemon come along they kick your digestion into gear and the juices start churning.

Another thing I’ve recently added to my morning routine is a quick 10 minute yoga sequence, or if i cant be bothered, a good old stretch. You know that feeling when you wake up and your head feels a bit stuffy and you just can’t roll out from under those covers (I live in the UK, I’m always bloody FROZEN), just quickly throw off those covers-go on grin and bare it- then hang upside down, follow a little sun salutation or just take a few breaths in downward dog. If you want to supercharge your morning, flow into wildthing or wheel, that’ll get you going for FO’ SUREE!

I understand you were expecting a breakfast recipe, it’s coming don’t worry. BUT FIRST…. PROBIOTICS. None of that coffee business for me. I wish I was a coffee drinker, they all look so cool, but no its some tummy loving I need.

Now, boys and girls comes the thing we’ve all been waiting for. And today I’m bringing you ‘drumroll plooiseeee’….. PORRIDGE. Or oatmeal for you a bit further west across the Atlantic.

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Alright, alright I know you’re thinking, is that it?! Ok, it can be boring, it can be stodgy and lumpy, it can also have no nutritional value, just drown it in golden syrup and well, there you go. But porridge doesn’t have to be. Correction: it shouldn’t be and from now on, never will be.


I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. But when such a simple thing can taste SO DAMN GOOD, I want to give you one of my favourite porridge recipes, a bare bricks recipe that you can use as a guideline for creating other flavour bombs. I’m telling you, BOMBS! If you don’t like one thing on there change it for something you do like. You can alter the fruit depending on what’s in season. You can go as fancy pants as you wish, or as minimal. You’re the one who’s eating it, not me. And if you’re a porridge-o-phobe, you can’t stand the smell or taste, maybe this will change you for good.

Or you still hate the stuff? And if that’s you, eat an omelette!

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NOTE (on the ingredients): This is a banana version of the porridge, which lends a nice sweetness without you having to add any sugar or sweetener. Spiked blood sugar levels first thing in the morning is most definitely what we don’t want here.

Porridge oats: I like to use rolled oats (preferably organic) for a quicker cooking porridge, sometimes half rolled, half jumbo which leads to a chunkier texture. For a lovely nutty flavour use rye or spelt flakes or for the gluten free, you can substitute brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes, or buckwheat flakes.

Chia seeds: Teeny tiny packs of nutrients, these chia seeds add some protein and omega 3 to your porridge. It’s important to pair some protein with your breakfast to keep you sustained for longer. If you don’t have chia, you can use linseeds, flaxseeds, sunflower or pumpkin. They also add a nice crunch.

Fruit: Adding fruit is not necessary for porridge, however it makes it that bit creamier and sweeter as i mentioned before. Also it gives you a larger bowlful, WINNING!  If you don’t want banana, grate in half an apple or a pear. Or if you want a less sugar first thing in the morning grate in a small carrot, courgette, add in some mashed cooked sweet potato or butternut squash. If it’s a plainer porridge you wish for don’t add any fruit at all and let the flavour of the oats shine through.

Milk: Personally I prefer a plant based milk, but only if it’s unsweetened, I would rather it didn’t have any added things like carageenan or emulsifiers (however we can’t always escape these sort of things and have to go for the best option) but please don’t use soy milk. If you are more inclined towards some dairy, try to go for organic and whole milk too. It’s the fat in dairy which makes all the vitamins and minerals available for our bodies to use. If you have none left in your fridge, go on and use all water, it won’t be as unctuous, but perhaps stir through some coconut oil, yogurt or nut butter for some added YUM!

Spices: Again, not completely necessary, they add a certain je ne sais quoi?! Cinnamon makes the porridge sweeter, and is brilliant for balancing your blood sugar levels. But why not experiment with ground cardamom, ground ginger, turmeric (don’t knock it till you try it), vanilla or nutmeg.

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Ingredients:

40g or 1/3 cup of porridge oats

1 tsp chia seeds

125ml or 1/2 cup water

125ml or 1/2 cup milk of your choice

1/2 banana

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon (I love the stuff so I add loads, but it’s up to you, just taste and adjust)

pinch pink Himalayan salt

 

  1. The night before, put the oats and chia seeds in a bowl and mix them together. This will ensure the chia seeds don’t go into a big clump. Add the water and the milk of your choice to the oats, mix, place a plate over the top and leave to soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, mash the 1/2 banana in a saucepan, add the soaked oats and chia seeds along with all the liquid, the cinnamon, and the pink Himalayan salt. Mix together, clamp on a lid and turn up the heat to medium-high until the porridge starts to bubble.
  3. Give the porridge a stir to make sure it’s not sticking, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on a tilt.
  4. Leave to bubble slowly, like little pops of lava, until thickened to how you like. This can take however long you have, 5 minutes for when you’re in a rush, 15 minutes or even 30 minutes, cooked really slowly to retain all the goodness in the oats to make the softest creamiest porridge you’ll have ever tasted.
  5. Add more milk if necessary. Sometimes I want a looser consistency so add a bit more milk, other times i want it stodgy, stand a spoon in it sorta stuff.
  6. Leave to settle with the lid on for a minute or two off the heat whilst you prepare your toppings, then tip into a bowl.
  7. Bring out your creative side, decorate THE ULTIMATE PORRIDGE how your little heart desires, and then take a quick pic for Instagram. Everyone will say how they hate people who take pictures of their breakfast, don’t listen to them, they’re just jealous that they’re not eating it.

Toppings: I advise some nut or seed butter or some yogurt for some protein, and because PEANUT BUTTER. If you don’t like the texture mix it into the porridge when its finished cooking. ^EPIC

Sprinkle, with nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit compote, more milk, cacao nibs, bee pollen, yes and nut butter.

For that extra sweetness (I don’t think it needs it, but sometimes we all need a little sweet touch) drizzle with maple syrup, date syrup (HELLO CARAMEL), rice malt syrup or raw honey.

Seriously you can go crazy. Have a #moretoppingsthanporridge morning.

Enjoy my loves!

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