For the March Daring Cooks’ challenge, Ruth from Makey Cakey invited us to start the day with something filling, warm and nutritious. We got to experiment with different techniques and flavorings to create our own perfect personal porridge.
These days there’s no reason not to love porridge. There are so many variations out there to suit every palate and who doesn’t love a warm, steaming bowl of porridge in the winter months? This challenge called for us to make porridge at least two different ways, so it was totally useful that one of my Donna Hay magazines (Jun/Jul 2014; Issue 75) happened to have a collection of porridge recipes. Two of them in particular looked irresistable – Quinoa Porridge, cooked in almond milk and served with sliced dates and maple syrup and Mixed Grain Porridge with Brown Sugar Apples.
I enjoyed both versions for different reasons. It was the first time I’d eaten quinoa (keen-wah) and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It has a slight crunch to it and a savoury nutty flavour, which I thought paired really nicely with the sweet maple syrup and dates. And, of course, it’s super healthy and gluten-free – a real bonus. I’d definitely make it again.
The other porridge, with its combination of rolled oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and almonds was a very hearty porridge and, with all the additional seeds and nuts, made for quite a chew session! While I’m generally a fan of tart caramelized apples, I think in this case a topping of softer, sweeter pears might have worked better. I adapted the recipe a little too, swapping caster sugar for honey, and oats (which can cause issues for those with gluten-intolerance) for buckwheat flakes which are naturally gluten-free.
I enjoyed this challenge – in particular because it opened my eyes to the many variations of porridge out there just waiting to be sampled.
QUINOA, ALMOND & DATE PORRIDGE
- 3 cups (750 ml) almond milk, divided
- 1 cup (200g) white quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes (or regular salt)
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/2 cup (75g) fresh pitted dates, chopped
- Maple syrup, to serve
- Place 2-1/2 cups (625ml) of the almond milk, the quinoa, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir to combine.
- Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the quinoa is cooked through (it will still retain a slight crunchiness).
- Add the remaining almond milk and stir to combine.
- Top with the dates and drizzle with maple syrup to serve.
MIXED GRAIN PORRIDGE WITH BROWN SUGAR APPLES
- 2 cups (500ml) milk, divided (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 cup (45g) rolled oats (I used organic buckwheat flakes)
- 1/4 cup (35g) sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon black chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar (I used honey)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 Granny Smith (green, tart) apples, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Place 1-1/2 cups (375 mls) of the milk, the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, chia seeds, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir to combine.
- Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes, stirring ocassionally or until the oats are cooked through.
- Add the remaining milk and stir to combine.
- While the porridge is cooking, place the apples, brown sugar and half the lemon juice in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the apples for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until golden and caramelised.
- Remove from the heat, add the remaining lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Top the porridge with the apples to serve.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting