Virtually every magazine and Sunday Supplement I have read recently has been chorusing the virtues of porridge and how ‘on trend’ or fashionable it has become. There has even been news of a pop-up Porridge Cafe venture opened in London (Shoreditch – where else?) which offers both savoury and sweet porridge made from 11 different grains. The savoury porridges have become something of a talking point being a cross between porridge and risotto and feature such combinations as Amaranth, Black Rice and Stilton as well as more recognisable Oats with Blue Cheese, Mushrooms and Walnuts.
I adore porridge in all its guises not least because many other grain and cereal breakfast options are full of fat or sugar, and porridge isn’t – a bowl of porridge ticks as many nutritional boxes as a kale smoothie (full of zinc, vitamin B6, iron, folic acid, calcium and magnesium) and prepared with thought it is amazingly bariatric-friendly. A generous bowl contains about 170 calories of slow-release carbohydrate so it will keep you nourished from breakfast to lunch very comfortably.
I generally make my porridge hot with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk on colder mornings but also make a bircher style cold one for when the weather is milder. With our current fluctuating temperatures I have been making both over the last few weeks in tandem. In both cases I ring the changes by adding different milks, yogurt or quark to the basic mix, then top with fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and flavourings to avoid monotony. I have also perfected a recipe that I pop into a screw-topped jar the night before required which means breakfast on the move is well and truly catered for in regal style.
But I also make my porridge work for me when it comes to get maximum protein – I use protein rich milk and yogurt as a matter of course but now have also started to use quark for its protein content and luxurious taste. I have used plain naturally fat-free but also experimented with some of the flavoured ones like vanilla and lemon. My favourite to date is the vanilla one made by the Lake District Dairy Co. Its velvety texture and generous vanilla flavour make me think I am eating something much more decadent.
The latest family favourite is creamy vanilla quark porridge topped with a berry compote (see the recipe below) but don’t be afraid to also make and layer the same raw ingredients bircher style in a jar overnight for something luscious and creamy to wake up to the day after. Trust me on this – it’s gorgeous!
CREAMY VANILLA QUARK PORRIDGE WITH BERRY COMPOTE
125 g/1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries (such a blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
4 tsp honey or other sweetener (choose one that you can tolerate with the desired sweetness level)
75 g/1 cup dry porridge oats/rolled oats
375 ml/11/2 cups water
1/2 x 250 g/8 oz pot Lake District Dairy Co Vanilla Quark (or 125 g/4 oz plain quark flavoured with vanilla extract to taste)
1. To make the compote, place the berries and honey or other sweetener in a small pan and gently bring to the boil. If you’re using a granulated sweetener then add 1-2 tbsp water. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the berries have softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
2. To make the porridge, place the oats and water in a non-stick pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened.
3. Add the quark and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy. remove from the heat and spoon into bowls. Serve at once topped with the prepared compote.
NOTE: To make a chilled bircher style pot, prepare the compote as above. Mix the oats with the water and quark and divide between two screw-topped jars. Top each with half of the prepared compote. Screw on the lids then chill overnight. Mix the compote into the oat mixture to eat.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER PORTION: 261 (using honey)