Winter’s now getting into its groove, but porridge doesn’t stick to just one season. Though it warms from within when the temperature drops to zero, it’s just as good on a wet and wild Autumn morning or a sunny spring day. In hotter weather, chilled overnight oats are the true ticket – layered up once removed from the fridge with all manner of nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey. Chilled chia pudding, a more modern interpretation of traditional porry featuring super seed of the moment, works just as well.
To eat well at work you often have to improvise with confined kitchen space, few tools, a dash of common sense and respect for others using the space. Whether you have a catering company commanding a canteen, have weekly fresh deliveries (hopefully our Fruit People one!) or you have a hot plate set up in a tin shed out back, it’s always nice to have something hot and filling in the morning to kick off your day that won’t break the bank or require excessive kit to assemble.
Here’s how to make the perfect porridge in the microwave:
Work with ratios. We’ve found the optimum is 1:2 or 1:2.5 oats to liquid (100g oats, 250ml liquid) – you can adjust depending on your preference for more firm or looser porridge. Within that liquid, we’ve found, 30:70 milk to water is spot on. This is still creamy-tasting but isn’t queasily over indulgent like pure full-fat milk whilst not lacking flavour with just water (a drizzle of ice-cold whole milk just before serving is a delicious finish too!)
Add a pinch of salt. Trust us, just because this is an ingredient doesn’t mean the finish line flavour will taste like licking a rock at the harbour. Salt is in everything – bread, biscuits, even your favourite sugar-laden breakfast cereal. Salt adds balance to milk’s natural sweetness and makes porridge better tasting than you ever thought.
Stir. At least two, if not four times, during the quick cooking process. We recommend short bursts of 30 seconds on the highest setting and stirring well in between each one.
Change bowl. It may be molten and may have risen in the bowl, we recommend decanting it to a fresh bowl, which instantly cools the porridge and also allows you to clean the messy bowl quickly before any dried-in oat-y hell!
Here’s 8 great serving suggestions:
- Tumble in some fresh mixed berries once in season
- Stir through some chopped mango
- Chuck a chopped, over-ripe banana in the porridge itself and watch it disintegrate into the mixture to make it childhood-sweet and banana-flavoured
- Drizzle in some honey, agave nectar or maple syrup with some chopped pecans (toast them slightly, or roast, for nuttier flavour)
- Finely grate an apple and small carrot directly in (this is fantastic for digestion) then sprinkle with dried cranberries and raisins
- Mash up some strawberries with a tsp of sugar to create a loose, fresh jam that you can stir through in place of that sugar-laden supermarket stuff
- Go super seedy with pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and goji berries
- Add in a scoop of whey protein, stirred into a little greek yoghurt, for extra creaminess and a well-rounded meal of protein, carb and fat.
Porridge is slow releasing, so whilst you might feel instantly full after a small portion, your digestive system will slowly absorb the energy from the porridge, unlocking it step-by-step to see you right from morning ‘til lunchtime (well, maybe a sneaky piece of juicy fresh fruit and a black coffee will call your name sometime around 11am… we won’t snitch though).
The op-porridge-unities (…) are endless, and it needn’t ever feel like gulping claggy wallpaper paste; now go make them oats sing!