How many grains make a good porridge?

IMG_2139I’m a major fan of porridge as my winter breakfast – but I now realise how limited my porridge horizon has been. Like any well brought up girl from Edinburgh, I’d only really considered oats as the proper content of my breakfast bowl. Needless to say, Magnus Nilsson (whose Fäviken cookbook I am currently obsessed with) has different ideas. No such thing as a single-grain porridge for him! Oats play a part in his mix, but he also gives a starring role to barley, and includes several different seeds. This makes for a really interesting mouthfeel. There’s all the silkiness of your usual oatmeal made even gooier with crushed rye, and then some texture is re-introduced with the subtle crunch of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

I find it really hard to change my morning habits. It’s hard enough to get up, make the coffee and get anything at all into a bowl or onto a plate. But this mix is definitely worth the effort, and the great thing is that all the hard work is done well in advance, at a time of day more conducive to such things. The end result is quite delicious – and with all those seeds it just has to be really, really good for you too.

Johnny’s porridge
from Magnus Nilsson’s recipe in Fäviken, p183

IMG_21011 part unprocessed oats (I used oat groats)
1 part unprocessed barley (I doubled up the pot barley)
1 part whole barley (pot barley)
1 part crushed rye (I ground it coarsely in a handmill)
1 part rolled oats (oat flakes or oatmeal)
1 part whole linseeds
1 part sunflower seeds
1 part pumpkin seeds

IMG_2120Decide how much you want to make and choose the size of your part-measure accordingly. You don’t need to make enough to last a lifetime all in one go. I used a half-cup measure and made enough for  about 8 servings. Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

IMG_2132When you want porridge, soak 1 part of the mixture with 2 parts water for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. The soaking is important as it considerably reduces the cooking time as well as improving the texture. I generally use half or a third of a cup of dry porridge per serving, depending on how hungry I think I’ll be.

IMG_2151When you are ready to eat, bring to a boil and bubble gently with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until cooked. Eat immediately. It’s really good on its own or, if you like it sweet, served with a spoonful of honey or stewed fruit.

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