Summer is here with a merciless vengeance. The air is so hot that it hurts just to sit still. Right now the only thing I can imagine that would hurt more would be the electricity bill this month, which no amount of hardcore scrimping intentions can ever hope to bring down. And when you work from home, and not in some cushy, fully air-conditioned office building, you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place: blast the a/c like a demon and face an exorbitant power bill or save some pennies and melt like a block of butter left out near a busy stove.
I am finding solace in chilled summer mangoes, lazy weekends, ice cream, and naps. But all this heat cannot stop me from cranking up the stove. What’s a little discomfort when it comes to baking cookies or making one of the best porridges my breakfast bowl has ever seen?
I know, some may think me crazy for making porridge during the summer, particularly during a blazing, tropical summer. Especially when I have access to chilled mangoes. But sometimes, when you really want something, you just have to throw caution to the wind, follow your heart, bite the bullet, and just do as you please!
April Bloomfield's Porridge(recipe from A Girl and Her Pig, as recounted here and here)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other flaky sea salt (if using fine salt, use less – start at 3/4 teaspoon and adjust as needed)
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- Sweetener of your choice
- In a medium pot bring the milk, water, and salt to a simmer over high heat. When liquid starts to simmer, add both oats, stir to combine, and reduce heat to medium.
- Cook the oats at a steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary and stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from boiling over. At 20 minutes, taste for doneness. The steel-cut oats should be just cooked and the rolled oats will have melted into the porridge. Towards the end you may need to stir more frequently to prevent the oats from sticking.
- Taste the porridge. It will be salty (especially if you’ve never had your oatmeal with salt) and that’s ok. That is exactly how it should taste at this point. Now adjust the flavor by adding the sweetener of your choice (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc). Taste and adjust. As the original recipe states, you want it “to start salty and then fade into sweetness”.
- Spoon the porridge into bowls to serve and top with whatever you wish. You can add a splash of milk or a little more sweetener. I topped mine with dried fruit (raisins, dried blueberries, and prunes) softened in hot butter, with walnuts and brown sugar stirred in.
I discovered this recipe by way of a comment from one of my readers. When she mentioned that this was a recipe that made a “huge impact” on her “breakfast habits” I was immediately intrigued. When I saw it was a porridge recipe I knew I had to try it. I love oatmeal, or porridge, or whatever homey sounding breakfast cereal comes my way. This was certainly no exception. And despite the many, many times I have made oatmeal, I have, yet again, found a new way to love it. As the recipe promises, this was indeed one of the most luxurious bowls of porridge I’ve ever had. The rolled oats give it body, the steel cut oats give it texture, the milk gives it creaminess, and the salt a mouth-filling savory-ness that, although surprising at first bite, once balanced with your sweetener of choice, makes this something you will scrape to the bottom of the bowl.
So although the air sizzles dangerously, and I am firmly planted in from of a computer instead of on a beach somewhere, I comfort myself with these little indulgences – like flouting summer’s rules with porridge for breakfast.