Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Baby's first porridge

Cliché of the day: Time flies when you're having fun. Well it flies whether you're having fun or not, but mostly we've had fun. What am I talking about?

Baby Erika turned 6 months already. I don't know how it works in other places but in Finland you go for monthly check ups the first 6 months. And now that it was time again, the nurse told us that now that Baby Erika has started tasting vegetable purees the last few weeks, it would be a good time to start with morning and evening porridge as well. I told her i have a porridge blog and this would definitely get to be a blog post. She commented that it's actually a very good idea because she's always surprised by how many phone calls she gets about how to cook food, porridge included, for babies and toddlers. People who have never cooked are suddenly expected to make healthy, nutricious, home cooked, versatile food for their children.

So here is what i know: Depending on how old your baby is when you start with porridge, you might want to begin with something really mild, like rice porridge. Don't confuse this with the delicious creamy christmas porridge that you make with rice grains. These are rice flakes that make a really soft baby friendly porridge. You can find it on the shelves with baby food, don't go looking where the normal grains are. This is because no one but babies would eat this since it is essentially tasteless.

Since Erika is already over 6 months i decided to start with oatmeal. That's what we had at home anyway. Here you can use the normal kind, it doesn't have to be special baby oatmeal although I'm sure you can find that on the baby food shelves as well. What i did first was to put a couple of deciliters of normal wholegrain oats in the mixer and mix it to almost flour. For the first portions i made the porridge only from the crushed grains and after making that for a few days i started mixing in some normal grains as well. When these crushed grains have all been used up i think she will be ok with only the normal grains from then on. She seems to be more particular on the amount of fluid in the porridge anyway than the consistency of the grains. She likes her porridge quite thin, this girl.

Normal oats in the big jar and a mix of crushed and normal oats in the small one. This way i don't have to take out the mixer everytime i make porridge for the baby.

Baby's first (ever) porridge
serves 1 baby, with lots left over to massage into baby's face and hair, baby chair, bib, baby's clothes, mom's clothes and whatever else you can find close by.

1 tbsp crushed wholegrain oatmeal grains
3 tbsp water (can be substituted with breast milk or formula)

Mix together in a microwave safe bowl and cook at 600W for under a minute. Keep your eyes on it, it boils over really fast. I usually put it back in and bring to a boil one more time before i take it out to cool. Be sure to let it cool enough, i bet you will not get more than one spoonful in if the porridge is too hot. Good luck!

Here we go! She ate about a third of what's in the bowl. Quite a lot that is :)



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

End of Summer - Start of Something New

It's popular to lament the end of summer, and I feel it too - there's something easy about summer, things seem less serious. But to me there's always something appealing with the start of fall. The air is fresh, the evenings get cosy and you can wrap yourself up in blankets and watch the rain falling outside. Or you can be outside and get rained upon, sometimes that really works. And, (bet you couldn't see this one coming) fall is the perfect season for porridge. Hearty, warming and full of taste. So welcome back after a long hot summer! We will be trying lots of new recipes and researching traditional ones. This season we're also hoping to check out some porridge recipes from different cultures and Linn-Sofie will be coming up with easy and healthy solutions for families with kids and precious little time and free hands. This sounds like a grand plan that will probably end up being a mix of everything in a more or less sensible order. Oh! And we're also bringing in some guest writers! If you have a great recipe that you want to share let us know!

R and I celebrated the last days of summer holidays with a trip down to Snohomish, a sweet little town outside Seattle that specializes in antique stores. We tried very hard to distinguish just old stuff from very awesome design features and useful retro but I'm still not quite sure what kind we ended up bringing home... The picture above is from lunch found at the First and Union Kitchen. Pretty basic but well made from scratch and not too heavy on milk. The oatmeal was served with dried cranberries and brown sugar, accompanied by some fresh fruit and jam on toast. Their pancakes are great too.. 



Saturday, 21 June 2014

Porridge by the sea

The big Finnish Midsummer holiday is here. The holiday when the whole Finnish population moves out to their summer homes to celebrate the time of the midnight sun. For us this means a long awaited reunion out on a little island where our family has a selection of haphazardly arranged little wooden cottages, complete with a wood warmed sauna, outside privies and only cold running water. All four generations in the same place. And here we are, the porridge sisters together at last.

One legend that is part of the midsummer celebration is for young unmarried women to collect seven different flowers and put them under their pillow when they go to sleep. If this is done on Midsummer's Eve then you will dream about the man you will marry. Since we are neither very young nor unmarried, we decided to honor the tradition in a different way. Here is the recipe for our

Midsummer seven grain porridge (serves 4)

3 dl grains (oats, rye, linseed, wheat, buckwheat, millet, barley)
6 dl milk or water or mix of both
pinch of salt
fresh blueberries and wild strawberries


Serving suggestion: by the sea

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Porridge elsewhere on the web!

"Traditionally the English enjoyed their porridge with milk, buttermilk, butter and salt. In Scotland, they preferred butter, cream or beef broo' (the skimmings of beef fat from the cooking pot). In Asia, rice porridge (congee) is still eaten with a base of rice cooked in chicken stock and topped with lean pork, pig's liver and raw egg yolks." A. Forge

Found this great article by dietitian and columnist Arabella Forge. It covers lots of basic cooking and soaking tips about porridge, has a couple of great-looking recipes and is a short and easy read. 

Rolled Rye (front), Spelt (back) and Buckwheat (right)
Photo: Simon Schluter



Spelt, Rye and Cinnamon Porridge with a Pear and Prune Compote
Photo: Simon Schluter
"The preparation of grains prior to cooking can make a huge difference to their taste and flavour. Pre-soaking grains shortens cooking time and improves the creamy texture of the grain. It also makes the grains easier to digest and helps the body absorb nutrients such as B vitamins and minerals." A. Forge

"While there are plenty of “quick” porridge mixes available in the shops these days, porridge is best when it's cooked slowly, with lots of stirring. Adding the right amount of liquid is also essential to ensure the porridge is not fibrous or gluey. A good rule is to add a little water at a time and continue to stir. A generous-sized, sturdy wooden spoon is essential.A. Forge

Have a look at the article here , and if you want a detailed basic recipe for great-tasting rolled-oats porridge, look no further than to the very first post on this blog!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Overnight Slow Food Barley Porridge

I wrote about barley porridge in the oven on the blog before. I've now tried a new way of making the same thing. Even easier. You just put the porridge in the oven overnight. In the morning you wake up to the smell of delicious barley, just take out a bowl and breakfast is served.

Overnight barley porridge serves 4

2 dl whole barley grains (preferably wholegrain)
1,1 L milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
a couple knobs of butter

Heat the oven to 100°C. Put all the ingredients in an ovensafe dish. Leave the porridge in the oven overnight (8 hours). Eat with a little cinnamon and sugar and some milk. Or with fresh berries, yum.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Lemony millet porridge

I was browsing through porridge pins on pinterest and i came across a delicious looking recipe for millet porridge. So here it is, pretty much as i found it.

Millet porridge with lemon curd and sunflower seeds (serves 2)

1/2 cup millet
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

To serve: 
2 tbsp lemon curd
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Warm the millet in a pan for a couple of minutes. Add the water and then the vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Let simmer for about 30 minutes stirring every now and then. When the water is absorbed take off the heat and add the milk, a little at a time until you have the consistency you want. Divide the porridge into two bowls and eat with a tablespoon of lemon curd and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds on top of each serving.



I'm doing a two-week food diary project where i try to keep track of everything i eat so for this recipe i can actually give you accurate nutrition facts. One serving of this porridge is about 250g and the nutritional values for 100g are 119kcal, 3,3g protein, 17,9g carbs, 3,7g fat and 0,9g fibres.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Chocolate Banana Pecan Porridge with Rye and Oats

Todays recipe tastes like dessert but is as healthy as anything. How can you say no to that? Bananas are great sources of potassium and vitamin C and dark chocolate has a high level of iron. I used Green & Blacks organic 70% chocolate, which is really good and not too sweet.

I like mixing grains. I rarely make porridge just with rye (the Rye, Walnut and Date Porridge being a delicious exception), but mixed with regular oats, rye gives the porridge a deeper, nuttier taste. I like this especially when making a sweeter porridge recipe like todays recipe.

Chocolate Banana Pecan Porridge with Rye and Oats

Cooking time: 30min (10min if pre-soaked)

Ingredients (serves 1)

1/3 cup regular oats
1/3 cup rye flakes
1/2 cup water 
1/2 cup of milk or almond milk
pinch of salt
2 pieces of dark 70% chocolate, chopped
1/2 banana, chopped
small handful of pecan nuts, chopped

Mix the rye and oat flakes, the water, milk and salt in a non-stick pan, bring it to the boil and let simmer under a lid. Mix with a wooden spoon every now and then and add a little water or milk if the porridge gets too thick to your liking or starts getting sticky. Slice the banana lengthwise into four and then chop it chocolate and pecan nuts. After about 25 minutes, move the porridge off the heat and let stand for 5 min. Mix in half the chopped banana, pecan and chocolate, pour the mix into a bowl and top with the rest. Enjoy!