Although I was born in London, from the age of two years old I grew up in the countryside up in the north of Scotland near a place called Inverness. In the summer, we can sometimes be found eating in the garden at 11pm at night without even the need for a candle – the days are so long and sunlight pours down on our berry bushes, allowing them to be as sweet as nectar. In the winter months, however, you will probably find us nestled in our woollies by the fire, layered up to the hilt because Dad says we can’t put the heating on yet. By 4pm, it is dark as night outside and Jack Frost often drops by. We really do see the extremes of the seasons up there and being so far north, if you are lucky – very lucky – you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. We did the other night.
We fill the long winter months with food that warms you up from the inside out – hearty soups, local game and various greens from the garden that Dad has managed to save from the birds, caterpillars and that pesky frost – he grows a mean kale bush and I have never tasted a red cabbage as good as his! Of course, being Scottish, a bowl of porridge makes for a regular breakfast option. We bake pinhead porridge overnight in the oven so that it is soft and ready for when we get up – if Dad had his way he would have this every morning with ladles of Jersey cow cream and a lavish spoonful of brown sugar.
For now though, I suppose London is home and we are loving a slightly lighter porridge option! Packed with flavour and spices, this number is perfect for a cold winter’s day. I like to serve it with a spiced apple compote and if I could give you all a tip for the week, it would be to make up a couple of fruit compotes on a Sunday night and keep them in the fridge. They make for a great sweetener in sugar-free baking and are perfect for dolloping on your porridge – hopefully it can take the place of that naughty brown sugar! Try pear, plum, apple or even mango.
This really is such a quick and easy healthy option for breakfast, so I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.
SPICED APPLE PORRIDGE
- 90g (3oz / 1 cup) of porridge oats (gluten-free if you are intolerant)
- ¼t teaspoon of allspice
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
- 250ml of oat milk (almond milk or rice milk would work too)
- 1 apple (I like to use Granny Smith for lots of sweetness)
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 150ml (5fl oz) of water
- Start by making the compote. Peel the apple, remove the seeds and cut it into bite sized cubes. Place in a pan with the cinnamon and water and simmer over a gentle heat for around 15 minutes or until the apples start to soften and break down.
- Meanwhile, prepare the porridge by combining all of the ingredients in a pan. Heat over a gentle hob, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens and it just starts to bubble. Transfer to a bowl and serve with a little more milk over the top and a generous dollop of the compote.
A few things I like to serve with it |
- Chopped toasted walnuts or almonds
- Sheep or coconut yoghurt
- Pomegranate seeds
- A drizzle of honey or maple syrup