Healthy sweet porridge recipe and useful tips

I used to think of porridge as a gluey, tasteless and boring type of breakfast that you eat to be healthy, but don’t really enjoy the process of eating. How mistaken I was! You can make your porridge healthy, nutritious, tasty and beautiful-looking by adding some plant milk and other toppings. If you’re looking for some recipes to take your porridge to the next level – read the blog post below! I promise this article is very informative and educational and you won’t look at porridge in the same way ever again!

porridge recipe
Porridge for breakfast doesn’t have to be boring…

What milk is best for porridge?

In my opinion any type of milk is better than water in porridge as it simply gives it a creamier texture. Most of us know that plant milk is much better for your health than cow’s milk, however there are some drawbacks to it as well. I’ve tried many different types of plant milk in my porridge, but also read about its impact on the environment and here are my thoughts on it:

Coconut milk goes well with different kinds of berries, especially strawberries and raspberries; cashew and almond milk are nutty and creamy milks which go well with bananas and different kinds of nuts. However (!) please be aware that the above plant milks are unfortunately bad environmental choices. Producing coconut milk on a global scale leads to the exploitation of the poorer communities in which it grows; almond milk production exploits bees (which pollinate almond trees); cashew nuts have to be peeled from their skin which contains acids and many workers who peel them experience hand burns. You can read about the plant milk industries here and here.

What milk is best for porridge?
Cow’s milk or plant milk? Which one do you prefer?

Hazelnut milk is my ultimate hero. It’s creamy, nutty, naturally sweet and most of all good for the environment, because its trees are pollinated by the wind, not bees. You can use soy milk if you want to add protein to your porridge, just make sure you choose an organic one. Oat milk is not my favourite kind of plant milk as it’s kind of watery and not as creamy as hazelnut milk, but it’s the most sustainable option out of all plant milks.

I don’t think it’s wrong to drink almond or coconut milk from time to time, but if you care about the environment try to choose hazelnut or oat milk more often to create a bigger demand for it.

What to put in your porridge

If you’re planning to eat porridge more often, I definitely advise buying the following ingredients which you can store in the cupboard/freezer and experiment with while creating your porridge recipes. They may seem expensive if you buy them all at once, but I promise they will last a long time!

Fresh fruit: bananas add a lot of texture and good carbs to your porridge and are great for carmelising as well; strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, pears, peaches (if in season), anything really!

Frozen fruit: a great way to always have some fruit for porridge is to have some frozen ones. I always have some frozen raspberries or forest fruit in the freezer and add them directly to hot milk, which gives the milk a nice colour. Frozen fruit defrosts in hot milk quickly, so there is no need to make it ahead.

Spices: use cinnamon to add sweetness; tumeric or kurkuma – super healthy spices to boost your immune system – create a beautiful golden colour in your porridge; maca powder (a yellowish root spice) doesn’t taste great in itself, but when added to milk is tasteless, and it’s full of iron to give you energy.

What spice to put in porridge
Cocoa powder, tumeric, cinnamon – spice up your porridge with these amazing colours and flavours.

Nuts: pistachios, walnuts, almond flakes, coconut flakes, hazelnuts…whatever you like! You can caramelise nuts with some sugar/honey on the pan which will add lots of sweet crunch to your porridge.

Do I need to explain the health benefits of nuts?

Nut butter: this will add protein to your porridge. My favourite nut butter is cashew (which unfortunately goes against the environmental issue it causes).

Dark chocolate – if you add a slice of it to hot porridge it will melt delightfully.

Other sprinkles: flax seeds (a source of Vitamin D), hemp (a source of protein).

Porridge toppings
You can easily order flax seeds, hemp or maca powder online at Holland and Barret. Yes, I know they are expensive, but they will last a long time and health is a good investment.

Milk-oat ratio in porridge

The milk-oat ratio in your porridge will depend on the texture you like. I would say a bit less than 3/4 of a cup of oats to 1 full cup of milk is fine for me. Add a bit more milk if you find it too dry. I heat up the milk first in a pot and then based on what I have in the fridge add spices and ingredients to it. I am sure that if you add a pinch of cinnamon, some honey and your favourite fruit to your porridge, you’ll never go wrong, so let yourself be free and experiment. Here is one of my favourite recipes and some photos of other porridge bowls I’ve made for inspiration.

Nutty banana oat bowl recipe

Sweet porridge recipe
I just feel like diving into this bowl of ‘nuttiness’, don’t you?

Heat up 1 cup of hazelnut milk with a teaspoon of cocoa powder (optional), half a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of runny honey (manuka honey is the healthiest option, but unfortunately not the cheapest). Once it’s warm, add your 3/4 of a cup of oats and stir occasionally.

In the meantime, cut a banana either in small pieces (shown in the the picture above) or cut it in half if you want to carmelise it. To carmelise the banana, heat up a pan and spread a bit of butter on it. Fry the banana for 1 minute on each side. I normally cut some pistachios and almonds into small pieces and carmelise them with a sprinkle of brown sugar in the same pan in which I carmelised the banana.

Pour your oat mixture into the bowl and add the caramelised banana, one spoon of cashew butter and sprinkle with nuts. You can add one sliced strawberry for some colour and a ‘wow’ effect, plus a piece of dark chocolate 😉

Sweet porridge recipe
A version with a caramelised banana and a sliced strawberry for colour.

I know it looks like a lot of work, but you once you get experienced in preparing your more advanced version of porridge, it’ll be a matter of 10 minutes maximum. You obviously can just throw the ingredients in the porridge without placing them evenly – the taste will remain the same, it just won’t be Instagrammable! I hope I managed to convince you that porridge does not have to be a boring breakfast, but an easy and quick way to an exciting start of the day!

Sweet porridge recipes
As you can see, there is no right or wrong when experimenting with porridge toppings. Enjoy!

Bournemouth CafĂ©s: The Real Eating Company

Independent, cosy and selling deliciously aromatic coffee – what more could you want from a local cafĂ©? Well, probably some good snacks, sandwiches…or a healthy meal just in case you happen to be on a diet! The Real Eating Company, located in the town centre, has it all. As a bonus, it has recently started a collaboration with Lunch’d – a local company which delivers healthy lunch boxes to Bournemouth office desks.

Last Saturday, I was invited, along with some other Bournemouth bloggers, to the Real Eating Company to hear about the partnership with Lunch’d and to taste one of the healthy boxes that are going to be available in the cafĂ© on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Oli, the owner of Lunch’d, and Helena, the owner of The Real Eating Company – both charismatic and friendly people.

We were sat around a table decorated with beautiful daffodils and bags of coffee beans, which are actually roasted at a family-run business in the South of England. We were offered some tea, coffee and freshly squeezed apple juice.

We were also given a lesson about organic herbs grown at a local farm – @greenponics – which provides herbs for Lunch’d boxes. We sampled different kinds of herbs such as beetroot, red cabbage and broccoli microgreens. The intense flavour and sharpness of these herbs was remarkable.

Then, we opened the Lunch’d boxes – almost as if it was a Christmas present! The contents of the box, humorously called the Big Phat Greek box, are inspired by the famous Greek classic Moussaka. It had a mix of potatoes, aubergine and minced meat in it (a vegan option is available as well) and some quinoa salad with beetroot hummus. It was fulfilling, healthy and tasty.

The Big Phat Greek box, this time on a plate, exposed for Bournemouth bloggers to take photos.

After sampling the healthy lunch box, we spoke with Helena and Oli about their project and collaboration. What’s worth mentioning is that both Helena and Oli are business owners devoted to working with local producers from the South Coast of England and choosing only good quality ingredients to give their customers the best culinary experience.

The Real Eating Company’s decoration is an expression of their philosophy – good quality food and coffee sourced from local producers. “We want to make the right decisions for the right reasons, not just for profit or to make shareholders happy,” they say on their website.

I strongly recommend visiting The Real Eating Company not only because it is a genuine and honest place selling good food, but also because it has a business philosophy that I value a lot. Don’t forget to try healthy Lunch’d boxes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! The cafĂ©’s decor will give you a homely and welcoming feeling and I am sure you’ll enjoy visiting and eating at this place.

*The content of this article is my own, honest opinion. This is not a sponsored post

South Coast Roast CafĂ©

This post is the first in a series devoted to exploring cafĂ©s in Bournemouth where you can eat tasty breakfasts and brunches and drink good quality coffee. You can trust my taste buds as I am a demanding foodie and I don’t tolerate mediocrity when it comes to food! This article is a review of the South Coast Roast CafĂ© on Richmond Hill in the town centre (address here).

We visited South Coast Roast on a Sunday morning at around 10 o’clock. When we entered the place, which has a raw industrial design and stark wooden tables, the choice of background music was more than surprising. Hearing the Prodigy’s Firestarter that early in the morning, when you rather expect smooth jazz, seemed weird at first, but it awoke our spirits and we found ourselves extremely energetic without even drinking any coffee. Seeing the enthusiastic staff preparing freshly ground coffee and cooking from local ingredients only added to the general feeling that South Coast Roast is a lively and vibrant place.

Salad, grilled tomatoes, chorizo sausage, potato hash and a fried egg
salmon, grilled tomatoes, poached eggs, an avocado toast, and home made chilli jam

The menu offers healthy and original breakfasts and brunches from local produce. The delicious dishes are for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, and you can also find some gluten-free options. Whatever preference or philosophy for food you have, you’ll find something to enjoy at South Coast Roast. Our choice was a ‘Bondi Breakfast with Salmon’ and a ‘Chorizo & Potato Hash’.

Our breakfast was super tasty, fresh and fulfilling (for both me and a 2-metre tall man so yes, truly fulfilling!). We ordered coffee classics – latte and cappuccino – and were really pleased with their richness and aroma. An interesting fact is that South Coast Roast works with a local coffee roasting company called Bad Hand Coffee (link to their website here) – I’ll be sure to write more about them in the future.

Summing up, the South Coast Roast CafĂ© is a remarkable place to eat breakfast or brunch. This was definitely not my final visit! The cost of a dish is on average ÂŁ7 per person and the cost of a cup of coffee is around ÂŁ3. One final thing that I love is that they don’t serve take away cups and will give you 25p off every drink if you have a reusable one. Ten bonus points for being environmentally friendly!