I’m a great, unconditional fan of porridge. Some may hate it, but I certainly love it. It’s my staple breakfast which I eat on average 5 times a week – usually in the 5-minute, no-cook office breakfast version. It does its job and tastes great, but I’m always more than happy to use a chance to cook my porridge. Being in the festive season, I decided to create a Christmas version of my favourite breakfast. Here’s a recipe for my perfect festive, warming, aromatic, gingerbread porridge!
First of all – what makes food festive? Everyone might have a different answer to this question. For me, Christmas comes with the scent of gingerbread spices, honey, nuts and dried fruits – after all, there’s a reason why half of Christmas recipes will contain some – or all – of the above. So it felt only right to make my festive porridge with all of those ingredients.
I strongly recommend using rolled, not instant, oats. They will soften while you cook them, but the final dish will have some sort of texture – porridge based on instant oats is much more like baby food. Plus, it brings less vitamins and minerals – and those are one of the things that make porridge so healthy, nutritious and filling.
For 2 servings you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice mix*
- a handful of chopped up nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds
- 1 dried apricot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon candied mixed peel and fruits
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 small carrot, finely grated**
- Almond flakes for garnish
* Make sure to use good quality spice mix – in other words, one that contains only spices, no flour or sugar. Why? First of all, a spice mix with flour inside isn’t as aromatic as one without it. And I’ve seen spice mixes where 75% of the net weight was plain flour! That means you’d have to use 4 times more of that mix than a mix of pure spices to achieve the same result. Secondly, buying spice mixes with flour or sugar inside simply isn’t the most cost-efficient. One little packet of mainly flour with a little bit of spices can cost much more than a kilogram of plain flour. Always read the ingredient lists. And if you can’t find a mix without flour… buy cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cardamom, anise, etc instead and mix them yourself.
** Yes, there’s a carrot in the ingredients list. Don’t let that put you off! This mystery ingredient doesn’t contribute to the final taste (gingerbread spices are much stronger and fully take over the flavour). The carrot contributes to the texture and nicer colour of the porridge. It also brings some extra vitamins – yes, most of them get lost when you cook the carrot, but some benefits will definitely stay.
In a pot, mix oats with hot water. Wait a minute or two, until the water is all absorbed by the oats. Add finely grated carrot and a cup of milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the extras – a generous handful of chopped up nuts, dried apricot and cranberries, raisins, candied fruits and mixed peel, honey, and gingerbread spices. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir your porridge all the time, so the bottom doesn’t burn.
Serve warm, sprinkled with almond flakes or other nuts or dried fruits. Enjoy! 🙂