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!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Porridge on the go!

Spring is here and summer is on the way and porridge needs are changing with the seasons. I will be doing a bit of traveling and camping, and I hope to be able to share some of the recipes that can be good to have on the go. Just last weekend I found myself in a car, driving down to Portland for a mini-holiday, and while I'm a big fan of picking up a muffin on the go AND of having great meals out when travelling, every now and then I just want something simple and warm - like, you guessed right, porridge.

Having porridge on the go is much easier than it sounds. I had a camping mug and spoon with me on the trip and thats' pretty much all you need, the rest you can pick up in a supermarket on the way. Here's a quick tip for getting an easy, healthy meal wherever, whenever.

Ingredients (serves one, as a snack - double it up if you want to make a meal of it!)

1 portion pack of regular instant oatmeal
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt (if you can find some!)
1 handful of trailmix 
(I used one with dried cranberries, walnuts, sultanas, raisins, sunflower seeds & cashews)

If you're in a hotel, you're likely to have a kettle in the room to boil water. If you don't (which was what happened during this trip), all you need to do is stop by a coffee-shop or restaurant and kindly ask for some hot water for your mug. Mix in the instant oats and a small pinch of salt and let stand for a couple of minutes, covering it with your hand or a guidebook or whatever you have lying around in the car or your pack. Add the trailmix and enjoy! Of course you can add fresh berries, some banana or anything else you can easily pick up int a store along the way, but the trailmix and instant porridge are both dry and easy to store, whereas other ingredients would need to go into a coolbox if you don't want to use them all at once.

Now I didn't actually have any salt with me this time and it bugged me a bit because without that tiny bit of salt you don't get the balance and contrast between the porridge and the trailmix, or any other sweet things you might add to your porridge. When I got back home I dug out a little tin I got once as a  taster package of tea, and filled it with salt. It's the perfect size to pack for travel, so from now on I'll be okay. Something I've done before is also to keep the little salt packages you get in fast food restaurants, but they wear out and tend to break in your bag at some point. Also, they can't be resealed so it's always all or nothing. 

In the next couple of weeks I'll be making my own instant porridge mixes. I'm not a big fan of the ready mixes you can buy in the store, as they're usually drowned in sugar and all kinds of unnecessary added ingredients. It's still great to have ready made mixes that you can just add water to, so stay tuned for some ideas, and if you have any good tips for porridge on the go please share them by commenting below!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Two in one

Around christmas we wrote a couple of posts about rice porridge: a basic recipe and a rice-cooker version. Well here is another one. I was inspired when my son watched a children's tv-show where they made Ålandian* oven pancake, and one of the ingredients is leftover rice porridge.

When we wrote the posts about the christmas porridge, i got a comment that it's really easy to make it in a steaming pan. Since i actually own a steaming pan i have been wanting to try it, and now was a perfect chance.

Rice porridge in a steaming pan

The ingredients are almost the same as the basic recipe only I substituted the water with more milk. I made half a batch because my steaming pan is not big enough for a whole one.


1 dl round porridge rice
6dl milk
a pinch of salt

Fill the lower part of the pan with water so that the upper part doesn't touch the surface. When the water is boiling, put the butter in the steaming pan and let it melt. Add the rice and salt. After a couple of minutes, pour in the milk. Let the porridge steam for about an hour, stirring every now and then.

Ålandian oven pancake

If you don't finish all of your rice porridge you can use the leftovers to make ålandian oven pancake. It is a local dish from the island of Åland in the Finnish archipelago.

3 eggs
1/2 dl sugar
2 1/2 dl rice porridge
1 dl flour
1/2 l milk
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cardamom

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the mixture into a pan you have covered with oven paper. Bake for 30 minutes in 225°C. Serve just like that or with some strawberry jam and whipped cream.

*Åland is an island between Finland and Sweden. It belongs to Finland but is self-governing, and the majority of the people who live there speak Swedish. It's absolutely gorgeous in the summer, a big island with lots of small, smaller, and tiny islands sprinkled around, and little boats scooting back and forth between them.