Winter is Coming…

Today isn’t a day for waffling, today is a day for action. I’m feeling extremely determined today to get my shiz done. And it’s a Monday too, I feel so proud!

It’s a wonderful thing, quirky tweaks on everyday food. It can make the most dull and over-eaten meal seem exciting again, and can skew your way of thinking about food for just a minute. I actually had that feeling when I was reading a blog the other day, and it really made me smile. And that’s what a good quirk should do, it should make you stop and think “Ha! Well, I’ve never thought of doing it like that before”. Cheesy as it may sound it is actually true, I like the idea of food making people smile!

I can’t exactly take credit for this idea, as it wasn’t mine, the original was from ‘Emily Cooks Vegan‘ blog, which is really quite a wonderful stop for Vegan food if you happen to fancy a little guilt-free dining. I just wanted this particular recipe as soon as I saw it. I changed it to the way I normally make porridge myself, so it does have a few tweaks, of course it does!

But here you go, the namesake of this post:

Carrot Cake Porridge

2 small handfuls of porridge oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I have mine quite sweet, you can cut it down if you like!)
1 whole carrot, grated
1 small handful sultanas
A good dash of ground ginger (I had quite a bit in mine cause I love the fire, but you can put as much or as little as you like)
A small sprinkle of cinnamon (I mean a small bit, that mo fo is pungent as hell, but stunning in the right amount!)
Milk/water to cover it  (I use a ratio of 1:2 milk to water, so it’s not too sickly)

– Bung all the dry ingredients into a saucepan. There are ratios flying all over the place with this recipe I know, but it’s important to get it just right, nobody likes porridge glue! You should be looking at 1:3 dry ingredients to liquid. To put it simply, if you have 1 mug of porridge oats, you will have 3 mugs of your water/milk combo. You won’t have quite that many oats unless you’re cooking for more than one person, but you get my drift! 
– Cook it on a medium heat until the oats start to swell up. Then turn down the heat to low
– I just keep stirring it until it’s thickened, it does need to cook for about ten minutes at this stage though so keep stirring, topping it up with milk and water if it gets too thick (NB – If you’ve soaked your oats overnight, shave five minutes off this stage). Don’t skip this bit, many people always underestimate how long oats have to be cooked for, and if you cook it for too little-a time, the flavour doesn’t come out quite as well and it’s harder to digest.
– Sprinkle a small pinch of salt into it (even though it’s sweet, it does need it!) and stir some more. Cook for five more minutes.
– I like to cook it until it’s super thick, pour it into a bowl and generously sprinkle with golden sugar.

And that’s really it, it is actually just porridge, with a lovely little twist. It really is quite glorious! If i’m eating regular porridge, I like to top mine off with a good glug of milk so it looks like my porridge is a towering hill with a little moat of milk. Partially because I’m a child at heart and I like the idea of pretending, and partially because it’s nice to have a little plain liquid when you’re eating a thick lovely bowl of porridge in the morning. It helps to fight the whole claggy sensation that people tend not to enjoy too much.

Well, porridge may become your new best friend as we descend into single-digit temperatures and dark mornings. It’s really very satisfying to wake up and eat something really hearty. A nice little tip is to also leave a cup of oats covered in milk and water in the fridge overnight (top it with a plate or a little cling film obviously!). It makes the oats swell up and you don’t have to cook it for quite such a long time. It does vary from oat to oat though, if you’re using oatmeal, definitely soak it, because pinhead oatmeal takes the longest to cook.

There’s a lot more to porridge than you think, there’s not just Ready Brek and rolled jumbo oats, and nothing in between. There’s a long process before it even gets to your shopping basket, there’s really no harm in taking an extra 5 minutes in giving yourself a good breakfast. You can even make it while making a cup of tea! I really do hold a candle for my porridge, it’s my second favourite breakfast, just nipped at the post by tomato sausage sandwiches (which are absolutely immense by the way).

You should try it, I can guarantee that you’ll have most – if not all – of the ingredients at your disposal, what have you got to lose?

I sat and watched the entire first season of Game of Thrones on my day off on Saturday, and I’m half way through season two. Winter really is coming right now, and although it’s in a British man’s nature to comment on weather, I know you all secretly love eating stew and sitting in by the fire. It might not be a long and harsh Winter like in Westeross, but it’s cold enough. It really is a very good series, stay toasty warm everyone!