I’m writing this one down as much for my own use as for yours. I’ve been sort of curious and appalled by the idea of porridge for years – it looks so dreadful – but I’ve also secretly been aware that I really do like both oats and honey, so how bad can this food actually be? In fact, the primary reason I haven’t discovered porridge until recently has been, quite simply, that it all looked as though it would take far too long to cook, and I am not a morning person.
Also, hot milk is sort of icky.
Anyway. Here’s my entirely non-traditional version of porridge. It replaces dairy milk with almond milk, which I feel is a great improvement, and it has a bit of yoghurt for tang, and honey for sweetness. Best of all, because you soak it overnight, it cooks in about three minutes, while you are pottering around feeding and tripping over the cats and letting their furry majesties outside (which, in our household, has evolved into an entire ritual requiring each madam to be patted and the cat door opened for her while she peers through and decides whether the outside world is truly deserving of her gracious self. No, I don’t know how this happened. I’m pretty sure Andrew started it, because he is far more owned by the cats than I am, but he denies this. Mystery claims that it has always been this way, and always will be, and who am I to argue with a cat of her magnificence?), and it’s lovely and warming and sustains you all the way through to lunchtime…
Also, I could pretend that this bastion of Scottish Breakfasts is my tribute to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but since I only thought of that as I was finishing off this blog post, I’ll stop tartan up the story with reel bad Scottish puns, and just note that porridge should always, always be served piping hot. (Bagpipes optional. Very optional in our house. I went to a Scottish school that was *obsessed* with bagpipes and insisted on offering free bagpipe lessons to anyone who wanted them, which meant that all our classes were accompanied by the squirl of badly-played bagpipes. And not just our classes, because we lived close enough to the school that we could even hear the bagpipes from home. It’s been more than twenty years, and I am still traumatised by this…)
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1/3 cup rolled oats (not the quick oats)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup yoghurt
1-2 teaspoons of spiced honey, or plain honey plus a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Now what will you do with it?
The night before you plan to eat this, put everything in a microwave-friendly bowl, stir, and put in the fridge to soak.
In the morning, microwave for three minutes, until it is bubbling and thick.
Serve! I like this with a handful of mixed dried fruit, preferably the kind that has a bit of bite to it, because porridge is undeniably mushy. If you are all about the mush, tinned fruit is good, too. Fresh fruit would also work just fine.
This recipe is egg-free and vegetarian, and is also low-GI. It is low in fructose if you replace the honey with sugar or treacle. It is gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats, or you could use rolled quinoa as a nice, high-protein alternative. For a dairy-free (and thus vegan and low FODMAP) version, you could use a soy yoghurt, or just double the almond milk and skip the yoghurt part.
In terms of variations, firstly, if you find this too thick, obviously you can increase the almond milk and yoghurt until you get a texture you like. You could put all sorts of other lovely flavours in with your almond milk – spices, vanilla, even saffron might be nice. You could also use a fruit juice instead of the milk or to replace the yoghurt. This would probably make the whole thing much sweeter, so be warned. And you could replace the honey with maple syrup or agave nectar, or even just brown sugar.
You could put some raisins or dried fruit in with the overnight soaking mixture, if you like your porridge that way. Or if you are a savoury porridge person, you could skip the honey and add a little salt instead. And maybe some paprika! Though I strongly suspect that this is not traditional.
And now I absolutely cannot help myself – I have to share with you my favourite Scottish joke in the whole wide world. Because my school was almost as obsessed with Robbie Burns as it was with bagpipes. And I love that joke to bits…