Porridge. A perfect comfort food.

Can I start today’s blog post with a riddle?

Question: What do you call couture porridge?

Yummy fancied up oats porridge.

Answer: Haute- meal.

I knew you’d get it, LOL!

Porridge is a popular breakfast option in many cultures around the world. It is also a good meal for weaning babies, convalescing adults and anyone struggling with a solid food diet.

Amaranth flour porridge with crunchy peanut butter, honey and garnished with unflavored yoghurt and moringa powder.

There are many ways and options for making porridge. In our culture, we like it fresh but also fermented . We call it “ucuru wa mukio. You can read more about it here.

I love fermented porridge, it is full of good bacteria, as well as nutrients. It is usually served on festive occasions and also to breastfeeding mothers, as it is believed to boost milk production. I remember when I got my first born, my grandmothers as well as my mother in law made me some. At one time I had three full jerrycans of fermented porridge. That’s almost 100 litres! I loved it.

I am yet to try making some fermented porridge for myself from scratch, but it is definitely on my to do list.

Porridge is a great breakfast option. It is usually rich in carbohydrates, making you fuller for longer, regulating your appetite as a result. It is rich in fibre, boosts immunity, and abundant in various minerals and vitamins too. For example, did you know finger millet is one of the richest plant sources of calcium, as compared to other cereals? Porridge is a great way to indulge in our whole grains and get all the amazing benefits in one go.

I prefer this local brand of porridge flour. They have amaranth, millet, and even bean options available.

My usual porridge options range from amaranth flour porridge, oatmeal, millet, rice, flour, pumpkin flour porridge and even green banana porridge which I have already shared here.

I have attached a video below of how I make my oatmeal sometimes.

This was a decadent, delicious bowl. Yum!

If using porridge flour, I usually boil 3 cups of water on the stove top. In a small bowl, I mix 6 tbsp of the porridge flour with another cup of cold water to get a thick, smooth paste. I then add the paste to the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon till it thickens to my liking. I let it simmer on low for about 10 or so minutes then add some milk or peanut butter, if using. This makes enough porridge for 3-4 people.

Finger millet porridge, garnished with unflavored yoghurt, moringa, black seed powder, chia and sesame seeds.

I sweeten my porridge with honey though sugar also works well, but when using sugar I add it in while still on the stovetop so it can dissolve completely.

You can use ripe mashed banana to sweeten your porridge too, and some yogurt works well with oatmeal, in addition to your favorite toppings.

Porridge bowls are quite versatile so you can play around with your preferred flavours and toppings.

Other add ons once I pour some porridge into my bowl are chia seeds, baobab powder, black seed powder, desiccated coconut, chocolate flakes, moringa powder. Nuts and seeds work well too, as do chopped fresh fruit or dried fruit. Banana, raisins, passion pulp, mango cubes add yummy flavours, interesting texture and added colour and nutrients to your porridge bowl. Work with what you like and have on hand. 🤗

Creamy cardamom flavored oatmeal porridge. Garnished with sliced banana and chia seeds, sweetened with honey.

Porridge is a perfect comfort food to me, especially on cold, dull mornings, during the rainy season and anytime I feel I am missing home. A bowl of thick porridge works wonders in lifting my mood.

Millet porridge is another fave, topped with cream, peanut butter and some moringa powder.

Here are other delicious breakfast ideas worth checking out.

Do you like porridge, how do you make yours?

Savory Oat Pancakes.

These pancakes are a wonderful option to our usual sweet pancake options.

They make a great breakfast, brunch or tea time snack and are filling, colourful and oh so tasty, which are my non negotiables when it comes to good food.

They are both vegan and vegetarian friendly as they are dairy free and egg free. They are also gluten free, and guilt free.

Best of all, they make great use of those little vegetables that are usually left in the fridge looking all forlorn and neglected at the end of the week.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:-
• 2 cups oats. Quick cooking ones work well.
• I heaped cup of assorted vegetables. ( I used some finely chopped onion, tomato, capsicum and grated carrot).
• 1 tsp grated ginger, and one grated garlic clove.
• 1 tsp mixed spice blend (this enhances the savory flavour).
• 1 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.
• 1 1/2 cups chickpea (besan) flour, also called gram flour locally.
• 2 cups water and more if needed.
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
• Cooking oil.

Method.
1. In a dry, preferably non stick pan, toast the oats on a low flame till they become a bit darker in colour. Don’t burn them . Toasting them releases a subtle nutty aroma and flavour. Put them on a wide plate or tray to cool down completely.


2. As the oats cool, chop or grate your veggies of choice. I like removing the seeds from the tomato. This can go into the salsa mix you will serve on the side.

These pancakes are also a great way to load up on your fresh veggie intake. 🤗


3. In a large bowl, add the gram flour, paprika, salt pepper and mixed spices. Mix well to combine.


4. Add the cooled oats and the water gradually till you get a thickish batter. Start with one cup of water and add gradually.
5. Next go in the chopped vegetables. Mix well and remember to season well. Taste a little bit to confirm.


6. Heat the pan on medium low and add a tablespoon of oil. Swirl the pan to ensure it is well coated, before adding a ladle or scoopful of batter. You can use a measuring cup for this.


7. Let the pancake cook until it looks dryish on the surface, then flip carefully to cook the other side. It will turn a lovely golden colour and firm up. They will however not puff up like our usual fluffy pancakes as they have no rising agent or gluten. So flip carefully, don’t make them to thick and keep the heat medium low to low, so they can cook completely on the inside. I like mine with a few crispy edges, which is fine.


8. Once ready, put them on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Look at that lovely golden colour!


9. Serve immediately with salsa or chutney and some avocado. The colours, flavours and textures blend in so beautifully.

This is a perfect colourful and filling meal that is not hard to make, makes use of what you have on hand and is healthy too. Win Win Right?

Definitely worth a try!

Herb and Cheese Rolls.

I am a big fan of savoury / seasoned breads. Such as these yummy cheese and herb rolls.

Don’t they look lovely?

I like using this recipe from half-baked harvest, though I usually make a few changes here and there.

These rolls are so soft, fluffy, buttery, well seasoned, herby, cheesy and great to have with some soup on the side or even on their own.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

1. 3-4 cups of all purpose flour.

2. 1 small packet of instant yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp).

3. 2 tbsp honey.

4. Small pinch of salt.

5. 1 cup of warm milk.

6. 2 tbsp of melted butter. Have some extra butter on hand to brush on the rolls once out of the oven.

7. 2 eggs.

For the herb and cheese filling our ingredients are:-

1. 2 tbsp chopped coriander.

2. 2-3 cups cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese (grated).

3. 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese.

4. 1 minced garlic clove.

5. Salt and freshly ground back pepper.

6. Mixed savoury spice seasoning.

This is the savory seasoning I used.

7. 2 heaped tsp mixed herbs (mine had thyme, oregano and basil).

8. 1 tbsp sesame seeds.

Let’s get started.

1. In a large bowl, add the flour, yeast, salt, and mix well. Add the sugar, milk, beaten eggs and butter. Mix with a wooden stick then once its kind of a shaggy dough, knead with your hands till it is soft and smooth.

2. Cover with a cloth and let rest for about one hour in a warm place, or till the dough is doubled in size. I usually keep mine in the oven with the light on.

3. For the filling, chop your coriander, which can be alternated with parsley too and set aside in a bowl. Add the grated cheddar and mozzarella, mixed herbs, salt and pepper, and the savoury spice and mix well.

4. In another small bowl, add the cream cheese, a little bit of salt and pepper and the minced garlic and mix well.

5. Get a baking tin and line it with parchment paper.

6. Once dough is ready, punch and knead a bit to deflate it. Roll it out to a rectangle shape, but not too thin.

7. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the dough generously, then sprinkle the cheddar and Herb mix.

8. Roll it tightly into a log shape, same way we do with cinammon rolls, then slice into 12 pieces.

This recipe makes 12 rolls.

9. Place the cut pieces in the baking dish, cover and let rest for half an hour.

10. Preheat oven.

11. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the rolls and bake fo 25-30 minutes at 170°C. You can let them brown a bit and you will smell and see the cheese bubbling on top. They smell so good!

Love it when the cheese bubbles over. Yum!

12. Once out of the oven, brush generously with some melted butter and let rest for about 10 minutes.

13. Serve warm as a brunch side, or with soup on the side.

They are fluffy, soft, well seasoned and so tasty.

They bake so beautifully too. See how well browned the bottoms are. 😍

We have had them here on their own, with some roasted tomato soup and some pumpkin soup.

Had them with some pumpkin and bell pepper soup.
They go well with some roasted tomato soup too! The soup recipe is from here.

Definitely worth a try!

Delicious Homemade Breakfast Ideas.

Breakfast time is one of my favorite meal times, and I am a firm believer in having a proper breakfast.

It is the first meal of the day, so why not make it special. Yes, I know we are all rushing out to go to work or school but even plain old cereal or oats do not take a lot time to assemble, can be prepared in advance and adding different toppings makes them more visually appealing, tastier and healthier if the toppings have added benefits. Toppings such as nuts, seeds, baobab powder and fruits, fresh or dried, add to both flavour, texture and nutrients that are essential to having a healthy body.

Traditional breakfasts were heavier and filling to provide the body with adequate fuel to farm or do labor intensive chores. They could be leftover dinner, steamed or roasted yams or porridge. These days, a cup of coffee or tea with a muffin is all some will take before heading to the office. Breakfasts these days also include more fry ups than steamed or boiled foods that people would eat in the past. I am no food purist, I believe there is room for what one wants to eat, as long as your meet your daily nutritional requirements.

In our household we like having cereals during the week, and a wider spread over the weekend when there is no rush. A small leisurely homemade brunch. The kids like their Weetabix and Hubs likes oats or muesli, or smoothies and I like oats or porridge. This is had with milk/ yoghurt. Toppings differ according to individual preferences (and moods) but our usual ones (not all at the same time though), are chia seeds, sesame seeds, black seed powder, hibiscus powder, cocoa powder, baobab powder, peanut butter, raisins, coconut flakes, sprinkles, fruits, and honey. Beverages are Coffee, tea, cocoa for the kids and fresh juice.

I sometimes soak the oats overnight, other times cook them on the stovetop and even in the microwave if pressed for time. They are an ideal weekday breakfast as they are filling but do not give one a feeling of heaviness and go so well with any accompaniment you choose.

Oatmeal porridge smothered with a nectarine, coconut and pineapple sauce, with a drizzle of honey and a pinch of nutmeg.
Oatmeal porridge made with milk, and served with sesame seeds, peanut butter and chia seeds.
Oatmeal with crushed pineapple, coconut flakes and nuts, garnished with chia seeds and honey.

Weekends are for breakfast potatoes, pancakes, sausages or bacon, potato hash, fresh juice, eggs and fruits.

Maizemeal, besan and wheat flour pancakes.
Fluffy American style pancakes with an orange chia butter sauce.
Simple Kenyan style pancakes with fruits on the side and a homemade blueberry compote on top.

Breakfast potatoes either pan fried or baked with onions, peppers, sausage and tomatoes are an ideal weekend brunch dish.

Pan fried hash of cassava, capsicum, tomatoes, onion, garlic and crumbled sausage.

Traditional foods can be had at any time too right?

Simple boiled maize, just needs some salt and pepper, or butter if you please.
Roasted sweet potatoes, baked beans and cheesy scrambled eggs are tasty and filling.
Steamed arrow root, spicy slices sausage and baked beans with a fresh vegetable salad is a another great option for a breakfast that is tasty, healthy and filling.
And I cannot forget that Kenyan breakfast staple, the Mandazi. A tasty beignet that goes well with tea, coffee or hot cocoa.

Here are a few more tasty breakfast recipes already shared on the blog:-

What do you like having for breakfast?