Is Posh Porridge the Next Big Thing?

I love this article written by Annie Stevens in the  April Edition of Australias’  Delicious Magazine. Just sums up all my thoughts about AMAZING PORRIDGE.

‘Topped with everything from violet sugar to mulled wine, porridge has never been better.
Here are some of my earliest memories of porridge. The watery slop served at a swimming camp that still somehow reminds me of the smell of chlorine, and the perfect steel cut oats that dad lovingly prepared each morning. The ones that my brother and I sulked about because we were pretty certain that every other kid in the world got to have Coco Pops and why were stuck with boring old porridge? Oh how things change (sorry Dad).

Because now my thoughts often turn to creamy porridge topped with a glug of cream, sliced banana and brown sugar. Or if I’m feeling virtuous, porridge made with quinoa flakes and almond milk, with a dollop of nut butter and berries.

I’m not alone. Porridge is now a sexy food. Which seems rather incongruous given its general colour and texture. But scan the breakfast menu of cafes such as Edition Roasters in Darlinghurst and spot the bowl of grött and glögg, Danish porridge with house mulled wine, decorated with rehydrated fruit, honeycomb and lavender (just TRY and resist ‘gramming that), or the oat porridge strewn with strawberry and rhubarb compote, violet sugar and pistachios at Richmond’s Top Paddock.

We’re not even talking about things like Heston Blumenthal’s snail porridge when we say porridge is getting posh, it’s just that after 32, 000 years (yep, the ancient people were said to eat porridge for breakfast) we’ve maybe hit porridge nirvana.”

Brent Savage, co-owner and chef at Sydney’s Yellow says that the “yellow-bix” oats, fruit, maple and buttermilk dish remains a popular choice on his weekend brunch menu. Partly, says Savage, because people choose porridge because of the mood they’re in.
“Porridge is surprisingly popular these days, especially now that we are coming into Autumn. People seem to be nostalgic about their childhood experiences of eating porridge at home…sometimes good, sometimes bad,” says Savage.
“I love the feeling of satisfaction after you eat it.”

“Porridge is also bang on the clean eating trend, given that plain old oats are high in fibre, protein and the low GI factor keeps you full longer. Plus, there’s the fact that you could swap in other health-conscious grains such as quinoa or amaranth instead. For Corie Sutherland, co-owner of Edition Roasters, the versatility of porridge is a key factor in its appeal.

“Porridge is getting fancier per se, because it’s such a plain staple. There are so many possibilities and creative things you can do with oats and other various ways to cook them, and why stop there – there are other wonderful grains that we can turn into porridge … its versatility is astounding as a culinary premise,” he says, adding that at home he tends to make okayu – Japanese rice porridge.

Another facet of porridge’s rise is due to it being an unlikely winner on Instagram. Indeed, in a direct competition to avocado toast, you can’t scroll too far without coming across a snap of someone’s bowl of porridge lovingly decorated with symmetrical lines of banana slices or oats sitting pretty in a puddle of syrup, often hashtagged with #porridgeporn or #porridgelovers.

It seems porridge lovers are a tribe, with leaders that include the likes of food blogger and cookbook writer Ella Woodward from deliciouslyella who flies the flag for porridge addicts with her regular porridge ‘grams. She describes her love of porridge on her blog as like “eating a giant hug,” which is not inaccurate. Plus, it might even help you to live longer.

All of which adds up to porridge pretty much being the ideal food for the finicky times we’re living in. The inherent customisation that porridge offers is endless – from Jamie Oliver’s recipe for quinoa, oat and linseed porridge topped in his new book, to model Chrissy Teigen’s mum’s “hangover curing” rice porridge in her book Cravings. As for what’s next in porridge? For Sutherland at least it might just involve “something fermented” on the menu at Edition Roasters.

There are, however a few cardinal rules of porridge. Namely, that you must use decent, chunky oats, get the liquid to grain ratio right (purists use only water, but experiment to find your own preference), consistent stirring is essential for creaminess, and as any Scotsman would tell you – don’t forget the salt.

Oh and there’s probably one more porridge rule for the modern day fan to abide – don’t take too long Instagramming your bowl. Because it doesn’t matter how you make your porridge or how many roasted nuts and seasonal berries you sprinkle on top, it remains a truth that there’s nothing sexy about a cold, solidified bowl of oats.”

Five bowls of porridge to try in Sydney.

1.  The foxy spring porridge at Bread and Circus – organic oats with toasted coconut, banana, blueberry and a dollop of organic clotted cream (optional but recommended).
2.  Grött and glögg at Edition Roasters – Danish porridge with house mulled wine, decorated with rehydrated fruit, honeycomb and lavender.
3. Yellow-Bix oats at Yellow – oats, fruit and buttermilk.
4. Polenta porridge at Kettle Black – burnt maple, textures of strawberry and basil
5. Brown rice and sweet miso porridge at Bills – coconut yoghurt, mango and lime

And, as a last link for my posts on porridge have a look at one of my favourites from The First Mess, an award winning food blog by Canadian Laura Wright. Laura’s beautiful photography tantalizes the taste buds and all her recipes are created from plant based and seasonal food.

Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge with Lavender Strawbs & Superseeds

Millet Porridge
Photo Courtesy of The First Mess


Amazing Porridge

Weekend Notes is a great way to find out what’s happening in Melbourne and surrounding areas and when I read that various cafes serve up a great porridge I just had to check them out. The Patient Partner LOVES his porridge. I think secretly he loves it because it’s the only time he puts lashings of sugar on anything. Admittedly I’ve weaned him onto using coconut sugar which is an improvement on the mounds of regular brown sugar he was using. This type of porridge made with oats is our quick breakfast for when we have to leave the house really early as on days when we drive into the city to do our farmer’s market shopping.

But on weekdays our porridge is made with millet, quinoa or amaranth, topped with a mixture of fruit, nuts,  yoghurt or kefir and perhaps a drizzle of coconut nectar.

Millet & Amaranth PorridgeMy Millet & Amaranth Porridge

It’s my job to make the porridge while The Patient Partner makes our salad for lunch at work. And it’s all finished off with a cup of filtered coffee made quickly with the Aeropress using freshly ground coffee beans from any one of our favorite Melbourne Cafes.

Its a good way to start the day. Plenty of quality protein to provide energy, probiotics for a healthy gut, fruit for vitamins and the caffeine hit to get us out the door!!

The Big Wave Cafe in Newhaven Phillip Island was recommended by Weekend Notes and as we needed to visit the Patient Partner’s Mum in Cowes we decided to leave early and give their porridge a try.

My PP’s lovely Mum nearly fell off her chair when we told her we paid $14.50 for a bowl of porridge. Had Uncle Toby’s rolled oats gone up that much she asked!    She still wasn’t  convinced when we told her that this was a delicious breakfast bowl of quinoa and black rice, topped with banana, rhubarb, stawberries, passionfruit, coconut milk, mint leaves and pure maple syrup to finish it off.

The Big Wave Porridge Phillip IslandThe Big Wave Porridge

I particularly liked the addition of the fresh  mint leaves and as I now have a huge pot of it growing in my garden I have been adding it to my  own millet or quinoa porridge. Lavender flowers are another tasty  sprinkle from our garden. The beauty with porridge is that you can be as creative as you want. It’s come a long way from plain boiled oats.

I have rather horrible memories of my time in Scotland as a teenager many many years ago.   It was my first job out of school and I was staying in digs run by an incredibly tall landlady with an incredibly short temper. I don’t think she liked having lodgers because it seemed to me that she did everything in her power to make sure no one would ever return.One of these was to serve bowls of stodgy porridge for us every morning for the duration of our stay. Not only was it thick and almost cold it was drenched in enough salt to give us  early onset of heart disease. Thinking back, apart from the obvious taste difference it possibly was no worse for health than the porridge my Mum made for us as kids with spoonfuls of  cream and brown sugar.

Scottish Porridge OatsScots Porridge Oats with Salt

Now the search is on for more porridge options from around world.
Much of our year is spent in Malaysia and there porridge is a savoury. Most often a tasteless boiled rice or congee spruced up by the addition of chicken or fish head and lots of salt. Not a healthy option maybe but really good if you have a dodgy stomach. It seems to help just like chicken soup does when you’re not feeling great.
In China this same rice porridge/congee is served up for breakfast and unless you are a local its hard to eat it without adding some fruit.

Just found a great porridge online from NourishbyAshlyn. An awesome site for those with fructose malabsorption, but also for anyone wanting some healthier options. She writes well too so her website is entertaining as well as informative.
Her Banana Porridge is delicious and you can be as creative as you want with the toppings. I used Loving Earth Choc Hazelnut Butter instead of Peanut and a mixture of bluberries and raspberries. Every mouthful a taste sensation.

Banana PorridgeAshlyn’s Banana Porridge

When in Malaysia we have a bit of an in joke with fellow expats about porridge days. Usually its the day of the week when we cant be bothered making anything more elaborate than the quick Scots type of oats with some added tropical fruit, but I had no idea until recently that there is actually a WORLD PORRIDGE DAY.

If you would like a list of amazing porridges, sweet and savoury and feel you could make a difference to the lives of poor children in various countries around the world then click here.

 Happy Porridging Everyone!!