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I’ve taken a while to write this because posting a ‘recipe’ for porridge seemed more than a bit ridiculous, but I decided to go ahead for two reasons.  One is that I think this is just a little bit different from the good old porridge many of us grew up with, and the other is that I wanted to write about the wonderful things you can do with the leftovers!

porridge with brown sugar and milk

We ate porridge a lot when I was a child, particularly in cooler weather.  My mother made it with just rolled oats, water and salt, and we served it with brown sugar and milk, or sometimes honey.  Some of my earliest porridge memories are of serving it with the milk delivered in glass bottles with foil lids (and I know I’m showing my age here!) and wanting the top of the milk so I got the cream in my porridge.  Occasionally, failing cream, we would add a little knob of butter and stir it in, amazingly delicious if you’ve never tried it!

mix porridge with milk and eggs for pancakes

I also remember the porridge bubbling away for ages, and often getting stuck and a bit brown on the bottom.  I always liked to scrape the browned bits, but I don’t remember us doing anything with any porridge leftovers.

cook pancakes until the bubbles hold

As a sidenote, there’s a memorable scene in Jane Eyre where Jane is begging for food, and a woman gives her a crust of porridge on the grounds that ’T’pig doesn’t want it’, which has always struck me as a dreadful dismissal of all the uses for left over porridge!

porridge pancakes

So, my porridge…  It’s actually not hugely different from the way I had it as a child, the two improvements, I think, are making it with half rolled and half steel cut oats, and soaking the oats and water together overnight.

stir together dry ingredients for porridge muffins

You will notice this is still classic water based porridge.  There are many recipes for making porridge with varying quantities of various milks; I tend not to mostly because milk porridge is both more likely to burn, and more likely to boil over – if you have the time to stand there with an eagle eye however, by all means increase the milk quantity.  You can use any you like, but if not using cows milk, then coconut is lovely, especially when serving with banana…

spoon porridge muffin mixture into tin

This makes enough to serve four generously, or me and a couple of children, with leftovers for the recipes to follow.  The pancakes recipe in particular is quite flexible, just adjust the amount of flour depending on how much porridge you have to use up.

porridge muffins

Our favourite porridge

  • 80g steel cut oats
  • 80g rolled oats
  • 3 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c milk (optional)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Combine both oats with the water in a medium saucepan, cover, and leave overnight.  The next morning, uncover, and cook over a medium heat until it comes to the boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes, until thickened and the rolled oats are breaking down.  Add the salt and milk (or an extra 1/2 cup of water), and cook gently, stirring often, until very thick and creamy and the steel cut oats are tender with just a bit of a bite.

Serve with brown sugar and milk, golden syrup and cream, honey, sultanas, coconut, dates, banana or anything else you fancy.

Porridge pancakes

  • 90-180g (1/2 to 1c) left over porridge
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 250ml (1c) milk
  • Approx 120g (3/4c) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbs butter

Tip the porridge in a bowl.  Crack in the eggs and use a whisk to break up and roughly combine.  Add the sugar and milk and whisk again.  Finally, add flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth.  The texture should be similar to a pikelet or American style pancake batter, though a bit lumpier.  If you use a smaller amount of porridge then add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of flour until you have a thick but pourable batter.

Melt the butter in an electric frying pan or heavy based pan over medium heat.  Tip most of it into the batter and whisk until combined, leaving enough in the pan to coat.

Fry the pancakes in quarter cup portions until bubbles appear and stay open on the top.  Flip, and cook until just browned on the other side.

Makes 12 smallish (10-12cm) pancakes

[Edit 12/6/18 – this batter also make great waffles! Just pour a generous 1/2 cup into a Belgian waffle iron and cook according to the instructions.]

Porridge muffins

Adapted from an Orangette recipe 

  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g choc chips and 30g shredded coconut or 1/2-3/4 cup other inclusions
  • 180g porridge
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk

Preheat oven to 200c (180C fan forced).  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper or silicon liners.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar, and stir in the choc chips and coconut or other inclusions – dried fruit, chopped nuts, or berries would all work.

Break up the porridge with a fork, and whisk together with the butter, egg and milk.  Quickly stir together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined.  Spoon into the muffin tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins