To say breakfast is my favorite meal is a bold statement, as quite honestly any time of day where I can consume food fills me with delight. But there’s something about this morning meal, with its endless possibilities, that I really do love. It’s a time of day where you can eat bacon and eggs or a bowl of hot, steamy porridge, but also quite feasibly have pancakes and syrup too…what’s not to like? Sadly, when your alarm is snoozed one too many times and you’ve perhaps not left quite enough time to get yourself ready in the morning, breakfast is all too often eaten in a rush while dashing out the door, or even (shock horror!) skipped altogether.
Humble porridge, however, cooked for just a couple of minutes in the microwave or slowly simmered over a gentle flame, is a solid breakfast option for both busy work mornings and lazy weekend lie-ins. Make it with water, milk or cream, this simple combination of oats cooked in liquid is a winning breakfast any day of the week.
Somewhere stepping up their porridge game to absolutely dizzying new heights is 26 grains. What started as a pop-up providing bowls of nourishing oats and grains has now taken roots in Covent Garden, tucked away in Neals Yard. I’ve followed them on Instagram for a while now and have long admired their beautiful bowls of cooked oats, quinoa, and other grains, served in both sweet and savoury dishes.
While porridge purists (my mother being one of them) will try and tell you any divergence from the classic oats cooked in water is all wrong, I’m with 26 grains and their adventurous take on what a bowl of porridge should be. I like to add chia seeds to my oats, and will always eat them with a dollop of greek yogurt on top, often with some kind of fruit and seeds too. I’d consider myself quite the expert when it comes to all things oaty, yet it’s hats off to 26 grains in the porridge stakes, as their concoctions put my plain yogurt and fruit toppings to shame.
On my visit, breakfast porridge bowls included Banana Cacao made with almond milk oats and topped with coconut yogurt, cacao nibs, banana and maple syrup as well as other tempting options such as Blackberry Bay, again cooked in almond milk, served with a blackberry compote and topped with almond butter, apple and bee pollen. A sucker for any touch of salt with my sweet, I opted for the Salted Caramel Pear, where my oats were accompanied by barley and cooked in coconut milk, topped with cinnamon greek yogurt and then salted caramel pears and a pistachio sesame sprinkle.
Not just beautiful, this porridge was filled with interesting flavours and quite unlike the plain oat and milk affair I’m used to consuming. Feeling inspired by 26 grains amazing oats, I wanted to come up with my own porridge recipe…but not before I had read up a bit on how to make the perfect bowl of porridge. Turns out I’m not the only one with a keen interest in oats either; The Porridge Club have a whole website devoted to it, and you only need to read Felicity Cloake’s article on The Guardian to see how much opinions vary on what makes a ‘perfect’ bowl of porridge.
I based my own recipe on what I had tasted at 26 grains and also the grains of knowledge (get the pun) I had learnt while reading up on the perfect porridge recipe. I’ve opted for a mix of coconut milk and water, as I think using just coconut milk is a bit rich for an everyday breakfast. A top tip is toasting the oats before you add in your liquid, not only because it creates a lovely popcorn-esque aroma around the kitchen but because it does seem to enhance the overall flavour of the oats. Felicity Cloake recommends it, and from her extensive porridge recipe research I think we’ll take her word as gospel.
I’ve added chia seeds to my porridge recipe because they’re really fashionable and I want to be a trendy blogger. Just joking – I happen to like the texture they add in their weird, gelatinous way of swelling up which gives the porridge a smooth, voluptuous feel (this all sounds a bit sexy now, doesn’t it?).
Try making this porridge today – just 10 minutes on the stove with minimal effort creates a breakfast bowl you won’t want to miss.
Coconut and Chia seed Porridge