There’s nothing like homemade porridge to cheer up a wet and windy day. It’s the food equivalent of snuggling in a warm blanket on the sofa. So it makes for the perfect weekday breakfast when you need to head out into the cold rain for a long day at the office.
There are so many options for porridge toppings, and I’d like to create a little series on my favourites. A staple, like porridge, should never get boring. Having a variety of preparation methods and toppings can make all the difference to livening up a dish you’re stuck in a rut with. This is my first foray into my favourite porridge toppings and it involves jam.
I’ve started to feel quite strongly about jam – I feel like it’s often overlooked and that someone needs to stick up for this staple food. If you’re trying to eat seasonally, the way we did in past centuries, you’ll know that preserved fruits were a staple of the winter months. They added flavour and much needed nutrients to the otherwise bland and sparse offerings from the winter veg patch. But it seems that nowadays jam has been relegated for use as a toast topper. When I was a child, we would use strawberry jam to top most things. It was a primary sweetener for homemade natural yoghurt, rice pudding, semolina, croissants, vanilla pudding, and pancakes. I don’t really eat many of those sorts of foods anymore so there’s usually a pot of jam languishing in the fridge from when I have a hankering for a croissant (every couple of months). It takes a long time to use up a pot up in this way. I don’t bake a Victoria sponge or jam tarts on a weekly basis. This porridge recipe will help you to use it up a little bit more speedily.
If you’re lucky enough to receive homemade preserves as a gift or have a grandma that lovingly makes her own from scratch, don’t sniff at them. They’re gifts that come from the heart and should be savoured, particularly in the depths of winter. This porridge recipe is a great vehicle to appreciate a good preserve.
Ingredients – Serves 2
1 cup porridge oats
3 cups milk (or any non-dairy substitute of your choice, I have used rice milk and oat milk for this recipe in the past)
1 ½ tablespoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon brown linseed
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon flaked almonds
Warm the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. The milk should warm gently and not bubble. As it warms, add the oats, linseed, cranberries and 1 tablespoon of jam. Gently stir it all together making sure that especially the jam is incorporated.
As the porridge heats up it will start to thicken. Keep stirring so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan.
After about 10 minutes your porridge should be ready. The mixture should be quite thick and you should be able to see the bottom on the saucepan when you’re stirring.
Plate up into bowls. Garnish with flaked almonds and top with a small spoonful of strawberry jam.
I love the crunch of the linseeds in this strawberry flavoured porridge. It mimics the slight crunch of seeds as if you’re eating a real strawberry. The cranberries add a satisfying taste of plump real fruit, especially if you’re using a smooth preserve. A delicious, summer fruit-inspired way to start your morning.
What’s your favourite porridge topping? Do you have any ingenious ways of using up jam?