Well, I couldn’t really run a series on thrifty breakfasts without including porridge, could I? Not only are porridge oats a low-cost option (a 500g bag of oats costs around 65p), but my trusty tiffin allows me to make three bowls at a time. I get to be Goldilocks.
There are lots of porridge recipes out there. The purists point to the original Scottish version, made with water and salt instead of milk or cream. I thought about going there but in truth, when I make porridge I plump for compromise: half water, half milk.
- 1 cup porridge oats
- 2.25 cups liquid (water, milk, both - your choice!)
- Pinch of salt
- Brown sugar or honey, to sweeten (optional)
- Add the oats, liquid and salt to a saucepan.
- Simmer for five minutes.
- Sweeten to taste.
Plain porridge suits me fine but is a devil to photograph: even with the nicest lighting, it looks like boring beige gloop. Fortunately porridge takes five minutes to make and five seconds to dress up a little.
Here we have:
Plain porridge with fruit and brown sugar. I added a few redcurrants, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, from the £1.50 tub of frozen summer fruits I opened earlier in the week, for the Homemade Honey Nut Granola breakfast. Even if you don’t have brown sugar, do be sure to use granulated: such a satisfying crunch. I have read porridge recipes in which the cook spoons sugar on top of the porridge and then nukes it creme brulee style, with a blowtorch or grill. I wasn’t going to try that with a handpainted metal tiffin bowl, but I bet it tastes delicious.
Almond and banana porridge. A revelation. I made this porridge for the first time, using some of the Alpro almond milk I was sent. When I was on an enforced dairy-free diet I tried almond milk in coffee and in pancakes, but never porridge. Now I know I missed out! I hadn’t tried almond milk in porridge before, but it worked well: it tasted surprisingly creamy. All I would say is, this porridge was thicker than porridge made with regular milk or water, so if you make it with almond milk I’d add an extra slosh. I used sweetened almond milk but unsweetened is available too, depending on your preference.
Just before serving, I stirred in some small chunks of banana, and topped with some banana slices and also a few flaked almonds, which I had toasted in a heavy-bottom pan on the hob.
Apple and cinnamon porridge. Chopped apple stirred in just before serving; sprinkled cinnamon and sliced apple on top.
I couldn’t eat it all, but I was at home today, so I had some help from Baby Bear: