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Anyone who has ever lived with me knows about my love for porridge. My usual morning consists of a social media trawl, cleaning out my inbox, putting the kettle on and making a massive bowl of porridge, usually smothered in almond butter and topped with whatever fruit and form of dark chocolate I have kicking around that week. I’ve always been a breakfast person, and the versatility of porridge means I’m never bored.

Nutritionally, porridge is actually pretty good for you, especially once you add the things that make it go from good to great. It’s a source of slow-release carbs to fuel you up for the day ahead, and has a reasonable fibre content that’s important for good digestion. With add-ins, it can also provide you with servings of healthy fats and protein to make it a balanced and reliable breakfast option.

In winter, porridge is also a godsend; having a bowl of hot oats in the morning makes me dread the pink ears and cold fingers a little less. And what can be even greater motivation to leave the warmth of your duvet than when your breakfast tastes like dessert?

Here are three porridge recipes inspired by some truly life-changing cakes I’ve had in my lifetime. I am in no way suggesting that these are substitutes for actual cake, but they do give a nice homage to their inspirations.

 

DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD OATS

This recipe was inspired by the most gorgeous dark chocolate chip banana bread brought to my friend’s dessert party. It was still warm from the oven, and I was definitely responsible for about a third of the entire cake. The combination of cinnamon and dark chocolate is heavenly, although feel free to leave it out/substitute for milk chocolate if it’s too strong a flavour for your liking.

Ingredients:

1 serving of porridge oats (I use 1/3 cup or 40g worth, but adjust based on your needs/appetite)

water/milk/milk alternative

pinch of salt

½ tsp of cinnamon

1 banana – half sliced into coins, half mashed

small handful of dark chocolate chips/broken up dark chocolate (equates to two-three squares)

Optional toppings:

nut butter of choice

Method:

  1. Add oats to a microwave safe bowl then add double the amount of your chosen liquid.
  2. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the oats have absorbed most of the liquid.
  3. Add the salt and cinnamon to the oats and stir, loosening with more liquid if needed.
  4. Stir through the mashed banana and microwave until the consistency is as desired (I like mine super thick).
  5. Scatter over the dark chocolate, reserving some for topping, and stir it a little to distribute the chocolate through the porridge.
  6. Top the porridge with the sliced banana, remaining chocolate and any other toppings you desire!

 

BROWNIE OATS

One of my friends always has food on her table when she hosts parties as well as drinks. Spiced potato wedges and fudgey brownies (aka the best kind) are a key feature, and you can guess which one inspired this porridge! 

Ingredients:

1 serving of porridge oats

water/milk/milk alternative

pinch of salt

2 tsp cocoa powder

small handful of chopped/broken-up chocolate of choice (I use dark but any kind of chocolate would work!)

Optional toppings:

fruit (I like berries, and I imagine banana would pair nicely too)

chopped nuts/nut butter

Method:

  1. As per the banana bread oats, add your oats and liquid to your bowl and microwave until the oats have absorbed most of the liquid.
  2. Add salt and cocoa powder and stir, loosening with more liquid if necessary.
  3. Microwave until the consistency is as desired. I highly recommend blasting it for a little more than you usually do to form a bit of a crust on the porridge – makes it more brownie-like!
  4. Scatter over your chocolate and stir through to distribute if desired.
  5. Top the porridge with any fruit or nuts you desire – adapt the recipe to how you like your brownies!

 

CARROT CAKE PORRIDGE 

One of the recipes had to be inspired by one of my mother’s cakes. She makes the best carrot cake cupcakes, complete with tiny fondant carrots on the cream cheese frosting! I’m yet to add the frosting component to this recipe but let me know if a dollop of cream cheese on top is worth it or not!

Ingredients:

1 serving of porridge oats

water/milk/milk alternative

pinch of salt

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)

1 small carrot or ½ large one, grated

small handful of chopped walnuts (omit if allergic or not keen!)

Method:

  1. As per the last two recipes, add your oats and liquid to your bowl.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, grate the carrot using a regular cheese grater and add to the oats, stirring thoroughly to combine.
  3. Microwave, stirring between each interval, until most of the liquid is absorbed – you’ll probably find you have to cook this one a little longer than the other recipes because of the carrot.
  4. When the carrot has softened, add the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg if using to the oats, adding more liquid to loosen if necessary, and cook through until the consistency is as desired.
  5. Scatter over the chopped walnuts and stir it a little to distribute through the porridge

 

All of these recipes can also be done in a small saucepan on the hob if you don’t have a microwave. Cooking on the hob seems to make porridge come together better and the texture is nicer, so maybe treat yo self to pan-cooked oats when you have a little more time to spend on breakfast. But there’s nothing wrong with using the microwave when you’ve got to rush to campus!

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