Posts Tagged ‘porridge’

Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge

Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge

October flew by so fast it feels as if I blinked one September morning and November rushed in.

This was supposed to be the lull between the haze of summer and the crazed holiday season, the past two weeks have been a blur of transitions, from coming home and being sick for a few days to settling into the damp grey autumn landscape.

I’m getting back into the swing of things, slowly, I haven’t cooked a proper meal yet – still imagining that black eyed pea stew with harissa, cumin and fried sage… maybe this weekend.

The good news is, I’m managing breakfasts just fine – I’m usually excited for breakfast this time of year because porridges and hot cereals, which I utterly love, are better suited for fall and winter.

Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge

Porridges are warming, comforting and hearty; ideal for starting off a cold dreary day.

Although I’d heard of wheat berries, I didn’t really discover it until this summer when I had it in an amazingly good salad and it was pleasingly chewy and nutty. I knew I’d love it for breakfast, cooked in a thick, rich, sweet porridge.

This wheat berry breakfast porridge can also be made overnight in a slow cooker too. The ‘berries’ absorb the sweet creamy almond or coconut milk it’s cooked in, it tastes sumptuous.

I love the chewy texture of wheat berries, it has a nice crunch to it, it’s nourishing and keeps me energised throughout the morning.

I grate a little dark chocolate over mine with a little more milk, and it gets chocolaty and yummy

Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge
Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge

Wheat Berry Breakfast Porridge

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

We had a scorcher of a heat wave last week, with soaring temperatures bothering on uncomfortable.

I walked around in a wide brimmed hat and tried to do as little as possible, eating mostly salads, fruits and ice cream for dinner. We spent time at the beach and stayed out on the balcony for as long as we could.

I kind of loved those hazy sultry days; the super long hot days, humid nights under the fan with the windows open and even those mysterious bug bites – it was almost as if we were living on some tropical island.

Temperatures cooled slightly over the weekend to almost fall-like weather, with grey clouds and light rain.

The change felt nice; it seemed the perfect opportunity to make porridge – it’s my go to comfort food for breakfast, and I don’t get to make it enough during the warmer months.

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

This buckwheat with mango and coconut cream is my take on the humble buckwheat porridge (kasha), and because it’s summer there are mangoes and coconut for a tropical twist.

I love the nutty chewy taste of buckwheat, and all its good-for-you properties, it’s easily digestible and doesn’t feel too heavy.

I like mine with an extra splash of almond milk, it makes it deliciously creamy!

I started making this porridge back in the spring when we’d just gotten out of the dark wintery days. They had Kent mangoes at my local grocery store; juicy, rich and sweet.

Chopped mangoes folded into whipped coconut cream are the ideal luscious warm weather topping for this kind of porridge – it’s bright and summery.

*To make whipped coconut cream, refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight, or freeze for the few hours. This is so that the cream (coconut fat) would rise to the top and harden. Open the chilled can of coconut and scoop out the fat leaving behind the watery liquid. Combine the coconut with 1/3 cup of icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, whip until light and fluffy.

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Forbidden Rice Porridge

Forbidden Rice Porridge

I’m a ‘porridge girl’, I love all manner of porridges; give me grain or seed and I’ll figure out a way to turn it into breakfast come morning; it’s not like it’s a hard task – all I need is a pot and some water

Porridge is comforting, filling and oh so familiar; I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a part of my life.

In recent years I’ve been looking beyond the traditional corn and oat cereals I grew up with, I’ve experimented with a handful of grains and seeds like buckwheat, amaranth, polenta, cracked wheat, wheat berries, millet, quinoa, bulgur…

I like simple foods that pack a flavour punch, the porridges I make are usually creamy and pudding-like, when topped with fruit, nuts and more nut-milk goodness, it’s almost like having dessert for breakfast.

Forbidden Rice Porridge

I’ve been itching to try this forbidden rice porridge ever since I saw it here, then I saw it again recently, and like fate, it was topped with passion fruit and mango – guess what I had languishing on my counter? Passion fruit and mangoes!

The porridge sounded lovely, like something I’d wake up early on a weekend morning for. I’ve always thought black rice would be wonderful in dessert or pudding-like recipes with it’s naturally sweet and nutty aromatic flavours.

Rice porridge isn’t new to me; there was ‘rice water’ when I was a kid, it’s white rice cooked in plenty of water until almost mushy and the water turns thick and glutinous, it’s a popular breakfast food in Ghana.

I love, love this porridge, it’s rich creamy texture, the sweet nutty flavour and it’s so fragrant – there’s a bit of nutmeg and vanilla in this recipe to compliment the natural aroma of the rice.

It does transport you to tropical locales; fields of rice and coconut trees on deserted beaches with the bluest waters.

This porridge can be made overnight in a slow-cooker, use your favourite fruits and/or nuts, I’d even try dollop of whipped coconut cream for more coconut-ey creamy goodness.

Forbidden Rice Porridge

Forbidden Rice Porridge

Sweet Corn Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Sweet Corn Polenta with Toasted Coconut

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

We’ve been hanging out with my good friend J.’s almost-eleven-year-old daughter V., the brave girl flew all the way from the UK to Vancouver by herself to spend summer with her ‘Aunty Elsa’!

Our summer has been less ordinary, and indeed fast, and like the quote above, it feels refreshingly new.

We’ve been spending our evenings on the beach, having dinners, catching sunsets and watching fireworks. We’ve also been on boat rides and other great adventures. And me, I’m rediscovering what makes this beautiful city magical in the summer.

We usually start our day off with breakfast, and talk… and make plans for our day; sometimes I forget she’s a ten year old, she’s smarter and pluckier than I ever was at that age. And then, there are those moments that remind me of my ten-year-old self.

I love our breakfast time together, and testing out breakfast recipes on her – like this sweet corn polenta with toasted coconut, it’s an update on the old polenta porridge, made extra divine by adding sweet corn and topped with crunchy toasted coconut chips.

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I ate roasted corn and coconut when I was a child; it’s an inexpensive popular street food in Ghana, and a yummy healthy combination children seem to love. Thin runny polenta porridge has a similar texture to a maize infant cereal also popular when I was little.

The tasty breakfast polenta is nourishing for adults too, it’s creamy and filling, I toss a handful of peanuts in mine for a little protein boost, plus the combination of corn and peanuts is quite satisfying.

I used to toast my own coconut chips, which is quite easy to do, but I recently discovered roasted coconut chips from Trader Joe’s – they’re lightly sweetened and salted, and provide great crunch.

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*To toast coconut chips, spread coconut chips in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300F for about 20 minutes; stir every 5 minutes to ensure that the coconut browns evenly, or spread coconut into a skillet and toast on stovetop over medium heat, stir frequently, until coconut is mostly golden brown.


Sunday Breakfast: Finger Millet Porridge


I grew up with Rwanda in the news when it was synonymous with genocide; but I always suspected that this beautiful Eastern African country ‘adorned with hills, lakes and volcanoes’ was so much more than its horrid and unimaginably painful past.

These days Rwanda is becoming known for premium coffee grown on small hilly farms many metres above sea level.

The coffee I brew at home is from Rwanda and I get it from a lovely coffee shop, and it’s really, really good coffee.

Then there’s the millet flour I get from the little African store on Kingsway, it too is from Rwanda – it’s ground from unhulled African finger millet they call uburo.

This flour is a little grittier and the flavour is nuttier than the much popular pearl millet.

When I use this flour to make the traditional Ghanaian spiced porridge (Hausa koko), it’s darker and bolder – a little full-bodied, if you may.

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I make this porridge quite often on weekends, alternating between this flour and the pearl millet variety, which is lighter with a smoother taste.

I prefer this finger millet porridge; it’s a little more complex and the spices give it a luxurious depth, I make it with lots of coconut milk and nuts and a warm bowl of this porridge on Sunday mornings is deliciously heartwarming.

The recipe for this porridge can be found here; finger millet flour is in Indian grocery stores too as Ragi flour, and there’s a similar porridge from India called Ragi Malt.

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