Barley, the new Porridge trend for 2015?

Barley Porridge Wall Street JournalFrom the UK to LA, Scandinavia and beyond has Barley become the new Porridge trend for 2015?

Last year I wrote about the benefits of barley as a grain and how to add it to your Porridge with my recipe for ‘Barley & Oat, Banana and Walnut Porridge’. High in selenium, magnesium, Iron, fiber and a low GI food (even lower than even oats) that has shown to reduce insulin response after eating, its not surprising that chefs are adding barley to breakfast.

From seeing so many recipes I knew that Barley Porridge had become popular but even I was surprised to see it feature in the Wall Street Journal. With such lofty endorsement I’ve decided that it must be a trend!

I made sure that I was ‘on-trend’ ;-) this morning by having a new cherry & berry version of my classic ‘Hobbit-y Porridge’ recipe;

Berry Hobbit-y Porridge

If you want to be a ‘Porridge-trendy’ too (it’s the new hipster ;-) ) here is my Hobbit-y Porridge recipe in full. 

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5 Top Tips For Porridge Newcomers

RC Porridge1 smlWith ‘Porridge Season’ well and truly upon us I have been busy on Twitter answering lots of oaty questions. I find that I am busier than ever in January, as lots of new people take up the Porridge habit. With lots of common question coming up, I decided to write a post based on the most FAQ’s on Twitter. So whether you have come to Porridge for health reasons, to save a bit of money after an expensive Christmas, or you’ve read that Porridge will lead to a long life! This tips are for you….

My Top 5 Tips For Porridge Newcomers

1 Ratio

To make the perfect Porridge you need to get the ratio of oats to fluid right. It doesn’t matter if you use water, milk or a dairy substitute, too much of any fluid will give you a runny Porridge with a gruel consistency. Too little will result in a solid Porridge.

I always use the ratio 2:1 Two parts fluid to one part oats.

2 Quantities

Making too much Porridge is never an issue in my home ;-) but too little definitely is! From cooking a single morning bowl, or breakfasting with friends, to catering for over a hundred hungry cyclists, I always use my ‘Porridge Mug’ to get the correct quantity of oats.

I find that 3/4 of a mug per person is an ample breakfast but 1 mug full of oats is perfect for those with big appetites. If you use the same mug everyday you will quickly learn just how much makes the perfect breakfast for you.

3 Stir, stir and stir some more

It doesn’t matter whether you cook oats in a pan or the microwave the key to lump free Porridge is plenty of stirring. If you are using a microwave take you bowl out of the oven and give it a good stir at least three times during cooking. Also rotate the bowl to ensure an even cook.

4 Store your oats properly

After Christmas we all need to economise a bit and what better way to save money than buying a big bag of oats. Not only is it better value, but also ensures that you won’t run out. However to make the most of your oats and to ensure you always make the perfect Porridge, you must store your oats properly!

5 A stock of Simple recipes

To keep Porridge eating interesting it’s good to have a few simple recipes you can call on. Have a browse through my blog for recipes and why not follow me on Twitter where I share a photo of my breakfast everyday.

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Porridge for all! As Mornflake launches a new range of gluten free oats

Mornflake Gluten Free oatssml_blog

“Can Coeliacs and people following a gluten free diet eat Porridge?”. It’s a question that I get asked on a daily basis via Twitter. Up until now the answer hasn’t been that simple. However today Mornflake has unveiled its new certified Gluten Free Oats range making the answer to your questions yes!

Accredited by Coeliac UK and produced via a dedicated, 100% British, wheat free supply chain, the Mornflake Gluten Free range will include; jumbo, classic cut oats and Mornflake’s speciality Pinhead Oatmeal.

Happy gluten-freen Porridge eating :-)

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Porridge the elixir to a long life?

Recipe for sustainable Porridge

I love this time of year, not the grey mornings or the sad end of Christmas but the fact that the media is full of Porridge stories. From saving money to starting a diet, Porridge is being hailed by the papers as a cure-all. In a detox crazed January when we are urged to shed the Christmas pounds with drastic diets or costly and strange supplements it’s great to see a bit of Porridge sanity in the papers. Then yesterday to top it all off, the Telegraph newspaper broke the news that “Porridge could be key to a long and healthy life”.

Researchers from Harvard University have found that a diet high in wholegrains like Porridge, kept participants in a research trial protected from illness especially heart disease. The article also went on to report; “They also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits towards extended life expectancy.”

So eat up your oats, as Porridge is the common sense way to a healthy long-life :-)

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What I did on my Christmas holiday

Anna DiggerDo you remember when you were a schoolchild, and the first day back after the holidays, your class teacher would ask you to write an account of your break? I can still remember the tales of my classmates; holidays, adventures, and even misadventures with the occasional broken bone! Well this post is the grown up version of my holiday story.

Back in August I wrote for the Soil Association blog on my new project to re-establish a cherry orchard in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Over the summer and into autumn my colleague and I undertook lots of preparatory work, such as soil testing, creating planting schedules and sourcing root stock. This work was rather like getting ‘ducks in a row’ ready for the winter dieback, when we could make the most of natures rest period. However Christmas was to be anything other than a rest for us!

Frost 3From boxing day to the New Year we worked to clear the site, establish a tree nursery, and turn tonnage of dead trees into chippings, ready to make our own orchard compost.

I’m ready to admit it was hard work. In freezing temperatures the work seemed even harder thanks to the frozen soil. However I was working in a winter wonderland of picturesque frosty mornings and glorious sunny afternoons.  I was also fuelled by Christmas treats of turkey sandwiches and endless pots of tea accompanied by friends homemade mince pies and my Frankfurt stash of Lebkuchen.  

As I return to work my desk seems like a welcome rest but I’m looking forward to spring and the next big push to plant the new tress.

Whatever you did with your Christmas holiday I hope you had a great time. May I also take this opportunity to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Happy New Year!

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Tea at Frankfurt’s Cafe Mozart where a change is as good as a rest

Motzart Tea smlA change is as good as a rest, so the saying goes and I’m back from my German travels feeling rested, having enjoyed a change of scenery and routine.  One of the small yet significant changes that I enjoyed was the change to my tea drinking rituals, which includes the habit of always having tea with milk.

Taking a much needed break from exploring Frankfurt I took a rest in the cities ‘Cafe Mozart’. Described by the guide books as a ‘cafe institution’ I took my place with an interesting mix of refined ladies and cool kids, all taking tea.

I ordered a pot of their finest Ceylon but was dismayed when the tea arrived without milk but with lemon. Now although I’m a die hard black tea and milk kind of lady I do dabble with Oolongs and green teas when the mood takes me but I always drink Ceylon with milk. Taking the ‘when in Frankfurt’ mindset I gave the Ceylon + lemon combo a go and I was taken aback by it’s freshness and full flavour, that I don’t normally get to enjoy when doused with milk. Better still I was served a natty device to dispense the lemon juice which stopped any pips getting into the tea and allowed me to add just the right amount of juice.

Motzart Tea Paw smlAs a convert, I’m now on the hunt for one of these lemon squeezing devices. Does anyone use them?

If like me you want to be converted or just want to experience the pillar of Frankfurt’s cafe society, you can find Cafe Mozart here; 

Café Mozart
Operated by: Fam. Iacino
Töngesgasse 23 – 25
D 60311 Frankfurt am Main

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Chocolate Orange Porridge; a recipe to welcome in Christmas

Choc Orange Porridge3It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas with my new Porridge recipe. Now that December is here my thoughts turn to Christmas shopping on cold days, with perhaps even snow?

For trudging around in big boots and woolly hats you are going to need a hearty breakfast and what better than a seasonal themed Porridge. The inspiration for my new recipe comes from that rather famous chocolate, shaped like an orange. I have childhood memories of giving the orange shaped chocolate a little tap to separate the chocolate orange segments, and then my Christmas was made.

To see you through the festive period here is my take on ‘Chocolate Orange Porridge’

Choc Orange Porridge2

Chocolate Orange Porridge

Serves: Two

Cooking & Preparation Time: 8 mins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of jumbo oats

3 cups of full cream milk (the creamier the better!)

1/3 teaspoon of orange oil (I used Steenbergs orange extract oil)

2 sweet Clementines

2 dessert spoonfuls of orange hot chocolate powder (I used Montezumas mandarin drinking chocolate)

Method:

Pour the oats and milk into a heavy based saucepan and stir thoroughly.

Place the saucepan over a high heat and stirring constantly cook for 2mins.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the orange oil.

Keep stirring the oats for a further 2-3 mins or until you have a ice creamy Porridge consistency.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.

Remove the peel and pith from the Clementines and separate the segments. 

Then pour the Porridge into two bowls.

Garnish with the Clementine segments, sprinkle over the chocolate flakes and serve hot to enjoy on a winters morning.  

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Perfect presents for Porridge lovers; Porridge Lady’s top 5 Christmas gifts

Sweeheart Porridge blogAre you struggling to find the perfect Christmas present for the Porridge lover in your life? Whether they are a die hard oatmeal traditionalist, or a microwave Porridge fan, this list will help you find the perfect present.

1. The Spurtle

Spurtle 7For: Those who want to advance their Porridge making

Mighter than the spoon, and for me an essential piece of kit, the spurtle is invaluable when making oatmeal Porridge. However many Porridge fans don’t own a spurtle and a handmade one makes a lovely and thoughtful gift. You can read all about spurtles and their customs in this post.

Available directly from wood turners and many good cookery shops. You can also buy on-line from the ‘Seafoam Woodturning Studio‘. Whilst Derek is based in Nova Scotia, he can ship to anywhere in the world.

2. Pogo

Pogo2For: Especially good for Porridge newbies

Recently I was sent a ‘Pogo‘ to review from the designer and creator of the oaty invention. Conical shaped, Pogo is a nifty device for measuring oats, and the fluid needed to cook them to perfection. You can read my full review of Pogo here but in short I think it’s a great device for newcomers to Porridge making.

One of the key aspirations of Pogo’s creator is to get people making their own Porridge from scratch, rather than buying ready-to-go oat sachets. So if you have a friend who you are keen to convert, or fancy buying one yourself to save £’s on pre-packed sachets, you can get a Pogo on-line here.

3. Porridge Thermos

Porridge Thermos, Breakfast recipe to goFor: Commuting Porridge eaters

For several years I have been espousing the benefits of a ‘Porridge Thermos’. The picture above shows mine, which has been in active service for all that time. basically it’s a wide neck thermos with a spoon that sits neatly in the lid. I use the thermos when I have an early start and a long train journey ahead. I make Porridge before I leave and spoon it into the thermos, to eat at my leisure on the train.

My favourite style of the moment is the ‘Thermo Pot’ available from the science museum. With a 10 year guarantee, this Christmas present will give your loved ones years of Porridge pleasure.

4. Howies t-shirt

Howies Porridge t 1 For: The Porridge lover who has it all

Eat the breakfast, wear the t-shirt. When Howies, the outdoor clothing company, introduced this fab-t to their collection I just had to have it! Designed by Anthony Oram the logo says it all! 

Available directly from Howies on-line

5. Oats!

Porridge Champion Anna Louise BatchelorOk this may sound obvious but if your friend is a Porridge fanatic why not buy them…

OATS!?

It may sound silly but I can assure you a huge sack of oats would be more welcome to a Porridge loving member of the family than a pair of socks! Stored properly a big bag of oats can last until next Christmas,  when you can always buy them a refill ;-) Read my post on how to store your oats properly here.

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Barley & oat, banana & walnut; my new multi-grain Porridge recipe

Barley & Oat Porridge 1I love oats, from making Porridge to an array of breads, cakes and biscuits, oats are a staple in my recipe repertoire. However recently I’ve become interested in making Porridge from a variety of different grains. From buckwheat to barley, adding different grains to your morning Porridge not only adds texture, flavour and a splash of colour, different grains bring different minerals and nutrients to your breakfast.

My new favourite grain to add to my morning Porridge is Barley. Very yellow and slightly thicker than the oats that I use, jumbo barley flakes add a nice bit of chew to my Porridge. Barley is also high in selenium, magnesium, Iron, fiber and is a low GI food (even lower than even oats) and has shown to reduce insulin response after eating. And all importantly barley flakes are really tasty too!

Because I am enjoying barley & oat Porridge so much I thought I would share with you my favourite breakfasts of the moment….

Barley & Oat Porridge 2Barley & Oat, Banana & Walnut Porridge

Ingredients:

1 cup of rolled barley flakes

1/2 cup of jumbo oats

2 cups of full cream milk

1 cup of cold water

1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 ripe banana

handful of walnuts

Serves: Two

Cooking time: 8 mins

Method:

Place the barley and oat flakes into a deep saucepan.

Add the milk and water, and stir thoroughly.

Place the saucepan over a high heat and cook for 2 mins stirring constantly.

Then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the vanilla.

Cook the oats and barley slowly, stirring regularly for 5-6 mins. The barley flakes take a little longer to cook than the oats so take your time.

Once you have a nice thick Porridge consistency, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a separate pan gently warm a good glug of maple syrup, at least two generous table  spoonfuls.

Whilst the syrup is warming, pour the Porridge into two bowls, garnishing with banana slices and a good sprinkle of walnut pieces.

Finally pour the hot syrup over the Porridge and enjoy all the benefits of a multi-grain Porridge.

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Values, Spending Power & Supporting Local Traders; my post on the Fox & Monkey site

Fox & MonkeyLast week I wrote for the Soil Association blog on the welfare of chickens within the British agricultural system. My post got picked up by an organisation called ‘Fox + Monkey’ as part of a piece they posted on the ethics of where we spend our money. It’s always great to see one of my posts re-cycled as the whole point of campaign blogging is to get the word out!

My post was picked up thanks to Sheepdrove Organic Farm who had retweeted it to highlight the excellent work on their farm. Sheepdrove raise organic livestock through the highest welfare practices, resulting in quality products. You can now try the farm products for yourself as the Sheepdrove Christmas shop is now open. You can order one of their organic meat hampers on-line, which also include treats like farm honey and on-farm baked mince pies. So get your fingers clicking for a high welfare, delicious Christmas!

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