Normally the sound of Beyonce singing about Single Ladies would make me jump up and do some kind of ridiculous dance which makes my partner question my sanity. But at 5:30am on a Monday morning, the blasting Single Ladies makes me want to delete the entire Beyonce discography from my iPhone. For me, at this time, Beyonce is the sound which brings me back to reality and reminds me that I have a shift starting at 7am.
When it comes to breakfast at that time of the morning, everyone has something to say. My partner can’t eat until about 2pm in the afternoon because it makes him feel sick, but I can’t leave the house without something in my belly. And on these bitter winter mornings, where you have to test how cold the floor is before you get out of bed, nothing quite makes me feel better than a warming bowl of porridge. On a Monday I make mine in a mug in the microwave and eat it in the car!
Porridge (or porage) is the food of my Scottish heritage and it is definitely something you either love or hate. But I think that the reason a lot of people don’t like it, or don’t give it a chance is because they think it’s a hassle. Porridge is such an easy breakfast to make, that I can’t believe it gets such bad press. And, for the health conscious amongst us, the oats are full of healthy wholegrain oats which release their energy slowly throughout the morning, keeping you full up until lunch- subject to the topping you prefer.
The traditional Scottish method of making porridge is to cook it with water and salt, but this reminds me of something Oliver would have eaten; how that boy wanted more I’ll never know. The other alternative is to make it with milk and sweeten it. I prefer the latter, but I tend to sweeten it with toppings such as fruit and spices so that I’m not piling refined sugar into my body first thing in the morning, as that isn’t very good for your glucose levels.
The toppings I tend to smother in my porridge depend on what I want that morning, and how much time I have. If I feel I need to get a lot of protein into my belly that morning, I’ll add a scoop of my favourite protein powder in smooth chocolate flavour which is Impact Whey Isolate from myprotein.com or 15g of almond butter or peanut butter when it’s cooking to give it a delicious nutty taste full of protein. Almond butter has better nutrients but it’s not always available in shops. I go for Natural Almond Butter or Meridian Peanut Butter. Alternatively, you can sprinkle 10g of flaked almonds or other nuts on top of your porridge which gives a nice bite.
Coconut is another favourite porridge topping of mine. A super food which tends to get a lot of bad press due to it’s fat content, Coconut is actually very high in GOOD saturate fats which your body will always use as energy and never store. If in a coconutty mood, I’ll add a teaspoon of Organic Coconoil when the porridge is cooking, or sprinkle some dessicated coconut on top.
Occasionally I do get a craving of jam in my porridge, which is fine if you do it moderately, weigh your jam, and use a jam which is low in refined sugar. My pick of the bunch is St Dalfour Strawberry jam. St Dalfour jams contain no sugar, instead they are sweetened with concentrated grape juice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very sugary, but it’s not as bad as a jam made with cane sugar.
I do add fruit to porridge too, but not too much because it can be extremely sweet and doesn’t always mix well. The fruits I tend to use are strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the summer, and in winter I’ll chop a small braeburn or cox apple and mix it through the porridge whilst it’s still cooking and add a dash of cinnamon for a nice Christmassy taste. Sliced banana and a tiny bit of demerera sugar are also divine but only once in a while.
So how do I make porridge?
-40g of Scots Rough Porage
-1 cup of milk (I tend to use Kara coconut milk)
-Pinch of salt
-Choice of topping
If possible, soak your oats overnight in a little water and milk to make them fluffy
Add your oats to a small pan and add the milk and salt. The salt is important as it brings out the flavour.
Stir with a wooden spoon until thick. (If you’re adding protein or a nut butter, now is the time to stir it into the porridge)
Pour into your favourite bowl and top with your favourite topping.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought, so don’t be afraid to bust out those oats and give your tastebuds a treat! Please comment below with your favourite porridge toppings.
Until next time, stay Healthy.