Glad tidings of comfort, joy and Porridge!

Christmas 2016

Seasons greetings! I hope you had a lovely Christmas full of festive food, fun and hopefully some good Porridge too 🙂

Sorry my blog has been really quiet over the last few months. It has been a really trying year and I’ve had neither the time nor the energy to dream up and write up new Porridge recipes. Roll on 2017! However I have been sharing lots of cracking Porridge recipes over on my Facebook page from Mince Pie Porridge to Gingerbread Porridge, Christmas Pudding made with oats and perhaps the most elaborate, most fantastical Porridge I have ever heard of…. Santa’s Flaming Porridge!

I have also been cooking up an old favourite of mine… Chocolate Orange Porridge that is full of nostalgic flavours for me.

Choc Orange Porridge3

Christmas has been a perfect break for me to recharge my batteries, put my feet up and rest my injured knee, and to eat some wonderful foods. So what Porridge did I have on Christmas day…. Figgy Porridge made with cream and topped with cream. Well it is Christmas!

Christmas Breakfast

However you are enjoying your holiday, I hope you are having fun, and here’s to 2017!

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Make a ‘Porridge Smile’ with your oats for Mary’s Meals World Porridge Day

Stoats Porridge Smile

October the 10th is the most important day in any Porridge fan’s calender as today is Mary’s Meals World Porridge Day!

This year World Porridge Day has got even happier as Scottish charity Mary’s Meals has partnered up with Scottish Porridge company Stoats to release the campaign of ‘Porridge Smiles’ onto to social media. Porridge eaters like me and you! Are being encouraged to add a smile to our Porridge bowls and donate to Mary’s Meals.

By donating £2 via text we can help Mary’s Meals provide daily Porridge to more than 1.1 million of the world’s poorest school children. In Malawi Mary’s Meals provide school children with a nutritious mug of maize porridge (likuni phala) every school day, just one of the practical projects to fuel education.

It’s really simple to donate, simply text OATS16 £2 to 70070

Porridge Smiles 1

This was my Porridge smile this morning and I was joined on Twitter by stars such as Lorraine Kelly, Adventurers, International Athletes and lots and lots of Porridge lovers. So please join us to make Mary’s Meals smile.

P.S. Stoats are donating 20% of their on-line Porridge sales to Mary’s Meals so there has never been a better time to stock up!

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Stop Press: Winner of the 23rd Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship is announced

Bob Moore 1

The news, hot off the stove from the Golden Spurtle, is Bob Moore, founder of Oregon based Bob’s Red Mill, has just been announced as the new World Porridge Making Champion. My congratulations go to Bob whose company makes such great oatmeal that they have now won the competition twice! 

Lots more news from the competition to follow soon!

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Fuelling Swallows and Amazons fun with bun loaf, a recipe for adventure

Bun Loaf 3 sml

Have you seen the newly remade film of ‘Swallows and Amazons’? I was lucky enough to see this wonderful adaptation during the heady days of summer.  Full of ‘daring deeds of do’ the film brought back nostalgic childhood memories and also fuelled my enthusiasm for some new summer water adventures.

Summer Boaty sml

Its hungry work being a Swallow, more so an Amazon!!! So where can you get all that energy? In a form that’s suitable for a picnic….? The answer comes in the shape of a bun loaf, the classic recipe from the Arthur Ransome book that’s been given the Porridge Lady treatment. Now this isn’t a light weight recipe; it’s not a fluffy, sticky, kind of bun. Instead it’s a hearty, stick to your ribs or sink a pirate ship kind of recipe. It’s a bun loaf that’s made to last for a few days of adventure, as long as it’s safely stowed in a treasure chest (or biscuit tin)

Bun Loaf 2 sml

Swallows and Amazons Bun Loaf


300g Wholemeal Flour

50g Oatbran

75g Butter

75g Brown sugar

1 Teaspoon ginger

1 Teaspoon of cinnamon

1 Teaspoon of nutmeg

1 Teaspoon baking powder

300g of Raisins

100g Mixed peel

1 tablespoon of molasses

250ml Whole milk


  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
  • Place the flour and oatbran into a deep mixing bowl.
  • Then take room temperature butter, add to the bowl and mix thoroughly with the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
  • Add the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and with a big wooden spoon stir in, adding in the sugar too. (I don’t like adding too much sugar to my cakes so if you have a sweet tooth you might want to add more).
  • Add the raisins and mix peel and stir again.
  • Then take a big heaped tablespoon of molasses and a little teaspoon of baking powder and add to the bowl.
  • Pour over the milk and give a final hearty stir.
  • Grease a medium sized loaf tin (about 20cm x 10cm),
  • Then evenly pour in the bun loaf mixture.
  • Young deckhands should ask for the help of an older sailor at this point…
  • Carefully place the loaf tin in the oven.
  • Cook at 180c for twenty minutes then turn the thermostat down to 150c and bake for a further 40 mins.
  • Take the loaf out of the oven and gently insert a knife into the middle of the bun loaf. If it comes out clean the recipe is ready, if not cover with kitchen foil and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
  • Once cooked place on a cooling rack, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool for at least one hour.
  • Once cool place in a tin, pop in in your picnic and head out for the high seas!

Bun Loaf 1

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Key Lime Pie, an oaty recipe for a clean eating dessert

Key Lime Pie 1I love looking at recipes on social media; the gorgeous photos and the drool-worthy descriptions, but it’s been a while since I rushed to make one of them.  Then a tweet from @hedihearts popped into my stream that had me hooked!

I’m a big fan of ‘Key Lime Pie’ a truly American dish that uses the limes grown in the state of Florida. Whilst delicious, the recipe is laden with sugar, and the commercial versions filled with hydrogenated fats. Whilst it is a favourite dessert it’s one I rarely eat, that is until I caught sight of Hedi’s version that is packed with natural goodness.


Not only is Hedi’s recipe bursting with vitality, the base is packed with oats – yes you guessed it oats would have to come into the post somewhere 🙂 The base is cleverly made with; soaked dates, ground almonds, a little bit of coconut oil and a lots of oats. With a super healthy topping too, this recipe is a winner if you are following a clean eating plan.

I made up Hedi’s recipe last weekend and served it as a special Saturday night dessert. It got rave reviews from friends who had no idea how healthy it is, or how it is made without refined sugars. So if you would like to make the perfect lime pie, without compromising on your nutrition have a look at Hedi’s recipe here.

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Cranachan, hedgerow and multi-grain; Stoats have a new Porridge recipe selection for you


I love the new and inventive when it comes to oats. That’s why I was more than happy to taste test the new Porridge products from Scottish oat company Stoats.

Last week a lovely parcel popped onto my doormat from Stoats, which contained three new Porridge products; Multigran, Hedgerow Fruit and Cranachan Porridge. Yes you did read that correctly CRANACHAN PORRIDGE!!! Genius flavour and what is really clever about the new packs is flip them over and there is a fill line for you to measure the amount of fluid. Simple empty the oats into your microwaveable bowl then reuse the pack to measure the milk/water you need.

Stoats porridge pack

The new flavours are fab but as I’m not a fan of free sugar in my Porridge, I gave the Cranachan to a sweet tooth’ed friend to enjoy. However I am a huuuggggeeee fan of the multigrain Porridge that I will now be packing in my bag to make at work whenever I have a really early start. 

The new Porridge varieties are available on-line from Stoats and in your local shops soon! 

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Zoats to Proats to pudding; The 3 big oat food trends of the summer


Maybe it’s a sign that the summer hasn’t been that hot (yet) or perhaps it’s the realisation that no matter the weather, Porridge is the best breakfast 😉 As the media has been full of oat stories.

From Zoats, to Proats to Porridge for Pudding the press has been packed full of pretty summer Porridge pictures, but just what are these food trends?

Zoats 2

Like a bit of veg in your morning Porridge? No, neither do I, but the new trend for Zoats or simply put; adding courgette, zucchini, to oats has become the runaway Instagram  summer food trend according to the Metro. Zoats popularity is really down to the ‘wellness blogging‘ trend. Adding extra fibre to your breakfast means you feel full but with few calories, so ‘clean eaters‘ can pretty their Porridge and healthily snap away.

If you want to give Zoats a try for your breakfast then Look Magazine has some simple handy tips;

  • Prepare two thirds of your usual amount of porridge oats
  • Grate as much courgette as you’d like into the pan or bowl
  • Add milk of your choice – slightly less than usual, as courgettes contain a lot of liquid
  • Cook in the microwave or over the stove for around five minutes
  • Add the toppings and flavourings of your choice

Zoats 1

If Zoats don’t fill you up then Proats definitely will! Lifted straight out of the body building community Proats are oats with added protein. From adding protein powder to nut butters this new trend taps into high protein diet regimes. The added benefit for morning gym goers, according to The Upcoming magazine is that Proats help your post-workout aching muscles to recover.

If you want to get on board with this muscle-y trend then follow the @theproteinchef for lots of power packed ideas!

Proats 2

Last but by no means least, my favourite of the three trends is ‘Dessert Porridge‘. Hailing from Denmark this trend for Porridge Pudding has been championed by the Copenhagen restaurant Stedsans OsterGro who have reinvigorated the classic recipe ‘rødgrød med fløde’ (red porridge with cream).

Why do I love this trend so much? because it allows me to eat one of my favourite recipes, my take on rødgrød med fløde –  ‘Red Autumn Porridge‘ twice a day 😉

Red Porridge
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Dessert Porridge the new food trend?

Porridge Pudding

I love a new food trend and it’s even better when it contains oats 🙂 so I was really excited to read on Vogue on-line about the new trend for ‘Dessert Porridge’. The new craze hails from Denmark where restaurants such as Stedsans ØsterGro, Copenhagen’s hot new roof top eating spot, have been serving the classic rødgrød med fløde (red porridge with cream).

I was also excited to read about the dessert Porridge because Red Porridge is one of my favourite late summer recipes that I like to make with redcurrants, strawberries or even raspberries. The choice of fruit doesn’t really matter, just pick your favourite, season well and serve generously with cream.

Which ever fruit you choose I hope you tuck into Porridge for your pudding soon.

Speciality 4 (1 of 1)

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Wish you were…. at home? 5 reasons why you should staycation

Staycation PostcardCat Cafe Postcard








I’ve just come to the end of my fortnight’s summer holiday, two weeks of sunshine and ice cream, sight seeing and afternoon tea. Where did I go? The South of France? The Caribbean? No, good old South East England!

Since being knocked off my bike before Christmas, I’ve been in and out of medical appointments and painful physiotherapy sessions. I was REALLY in need of a holiday but still not fully mobile, and needing to attend weekly physio appointments, a far flung holiday was off the cards for me this year. Instead I decided to make the best of a bad situation by having a ‘Staycation’; staying at home to enjoy my vacation.

My fortnight was a holiday of two halves; week one was wild camping, all ‘Swallows and Amazons’, canoeing and camp fires with toasted marshmallows. Week two I was a tourist in my own town, visiting galleries, sight seeing and taking the time for afternoon tea with friends.

Summer Boaty sml

After a lovely stress-free holiday, I would whole heartedly recommend a staycation to anyone but if you still need convincing here are my postcards from home, my 5 reasons to staycation;

1. Save money

No travels costs, no hotel room rates, all you need is a small budget for museum entry fees and money for ice cream 😉 So if you are tired of single room supplements and high season holiday surcharges, staycation!

2. No packing and no lost luggage

An eavesdropped cafe conversation whilst staycationing, I heard two women talking about their lost holiday luggage. A week without clothes and wrestling with airlines insurance policies spoiled their holiday. The answer – staycation as there is no need to pack, no stress of deciding what to take and what to leave and no chance of your luggage being lost by airlines.

3. Cut down on your air miles

We all fly and we all know the environmental impacts of our passion for travel. So why not take one less overseas holiday a year and staycation instead. You don’t have to give up long haul for good, try going every-other-year and stay for longer.

4. Be a tourist in your own town

Enjoying a holiday in your home town gives you time to visit all those places you’ve been talking about, but have never got round too. From local museums to local beauty spots, a staycation gives you time to enjoy where you live, like a visitor. Why not invite your friends to join in too, try that new restaurant or sit all morning chatting and having coffee in the sun. 

5. Do. Be. Be Happy

For me the best part of my staycation was just catching up with myself. I got round to finishing off several books, I caught up with friends, I relaxed and generally slowed down. Being on holiday somewhere hot and exotic is fantastic but sometimes you just need a book and a pot of tea and time to put your feet up.

However you spend your 2016 summer holiday I hope you have fun 🙂

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Where did you get that helmet?

Sparkly helmet 1s smlWhere did you get that helmet where did you get that tile?

Isn’t it a shiny one, and just the proper style,

I should like to have one just the same as that!

Where’er I go, they shout “Hello! Where did you get that helmet?”.

Now I know that normally I’m blogging on Porridge, sharing oaty recipes and tips on how to make the best breakfast but recently my new bike helmet has been the thing that people want to talk about.

I didn’t used to wear a cycling helmet, wearing one felt more like going to war than work. However a serious accident and several months of Physio has taught me how close I came to brain injury, as well as knee injury. So I decided if I had to wear a cycling helmet I would wear one that made me happy, which I why I bought the Sawako Furuno ‘Sparkle Helmet’.

Since buying, and ALWAYS wearing the helmet, people have been routinely stopping me and asking where I bought it. The helmet has made people smile, laugh and talk to me about the joys of cycling. I have to be honest to inquirers, it’s not a cheap helmet. Designed by an architect and individually hand finished, these are helmets of quality, not made in quantity, with a price and a waiting list to match. The helmets are made to a high safety specification (EN1078 and CPSC) and what I like the most is the adjustment wheel at the back that means I can get the fit right, even when I am wearing it.

If you think your head and your ride is worth it have a look at the Sawako range here.

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