For practical reasons, my go-to breakfast this past year has been cold porridge. Or as the Mustards call it, cool oats.
(At least I think they settled on cool oats? There was a discussion I might be confused.)
Usually, I’ll cook oatmeal with soy milk, stick some flax seeds in it, sometimes cacao, cloves, and/or cardamom, put it in a container, top with cinnamon and some seeds and/or nuts put it in the fridge over night and serve with a banana the next morning.
Always a banana. But sometimes other types of porridge. Always cold.
As you may know, I’m concerned about my banana consumption, for environmental reasons. Bananas have no business being a staple in any Scandinavian’s diet.
SO. I was looking for a way to turn my regular breakfast into something that didn’t depend on anything being shipped from halfway around the world.
With the exception of apples, I could only think of carrots.
There has to be recipes for carrot cake porridge!?
And there are! Lots of them. But they fail to mention a few key points. Because my first batch, it was not entirely successful. Kinda odd for someone who has been making porridge for breakfast (and sometimes dinner) for over 20 years.
It’s not that it’s difficult, but a few hacks are in order.
ONE. I recommend making three servings at a time; the oats will be just fine in the fridge for three days, and it minimizes time spent slaving away at the stove. If, like me, you need to transport your oats, use jars. That way we avoid some pesky plastic, and have a new use for them jars you probably drag home from the grocery store anyway.
TWO. I would say, use your regular porridge recipe and add three medium peeled and finely grated carrots, maybe less, but definitely not more!
For the first batch, I used two large carrots and one slightly smaller. And I used the grating size I always use in cooking (which is not fine by any means), also did not peel the carrots because I usually don’t. This works well if you roast them with spices, otherwise, not so much. Point is: the main problem with the first batch was it was like having carrots, with a twist of oats. Not necessarily bad, but not exactly what I like for breakfast.
THREE. I’m sure you know how to make porridge, but just to give you an idea of the proportions:
3 dl oats. Or a mix of grains. Which is what I use most of the time. My current mix is oats, spelt (flakes obvs), oat bran and flax seeds. Spelt is particularly nice if you like a bit of texture.
3 medium carrots. As mentioned, peeled and grated.
4.5 dl plant milk. I like soy, but any milk will do. Almond is really nice if you don’t like or if you’re not used to soy. The soy milk tends to require practice.*
0.5 dl water. You want your carrots and oats to be covered in liquid, not necessarily swimming in it, but covered. You could add more water if you want a more watery consistency; I like mine on the drier side of the spectra.
Salt! At least 0.5 tsp. Recently forgot the salt. It was not good. But then I like salt..
Sugar. Yes sugar. Organic raw sugar to be specific, because the flavor is so nice. If you have an aversion to sugar, I guess you could skip it, but I wouldn’t advice you to. About 3 tsp does the trick.
Raisins. About a handful. If it’s going to be cake flavored, we need some sugars. If you don’t like raisins, cut up some dried apricots or dates. In fact, if you use dates, that is where you might want to skip the sugar, they’re that sweet.
FOUR. Spices! They get their very own section because they’re that important. It is what makes this carrot cake flavor.
I’ve seen lots of recipes calling for nutmeg. Why. Would you do that? I tried, and just no. Instead! I’m recommending cloves. Cloves! Admittedly, is a tricky spice and it can be overpowering. So unless you’re already a believer, I would say just a wee sprinkle, but don’t skip it. It’s such a nice contrast to the cinnamon.
Basically, these are the spices:
Cloves (ground!), a pinch
Cardamom ½ tsp
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Tip! You could use more or less of the spices, just keep this in mind: you want to use twice as much cardamom as cloves, and twice as much cinnamon as cardamom.
And if you’ve been making Swedish gingerbread cookies for decades, I need not tell you.
FIVE. You will want to stir the porridge while it’s cooking, because the milk will get stuck in the bottom if you don’t. And no, you do not want to microwave it. While this works well for porridge in general, you want the carrots to be nice and soft, which is difficult if you use the microwave.
SIX. When the porridge has reached preferred consistency, transfer to bowls or jars. Leave over night in the fridge to turn into a breakfast pudding. This also lets the flavors develop nicely, so you know, win/win.
SEVEN. Serve with an extra dusting of cinnamon, bit of nuts and seeds, OR, if you can find a nice/colorful granola or muesli that is brilliant. Just to dress it up a bit. Because it makes the eye happy.
You could serve with banana and/or other berries, obviously, but it sort of defeats the purpose of this particular version. It’s supposed to be better from an environmental point of view. (Ssh! Not a word about the raisins! Just get organic ones, and pretend everything is fine, OK?)
*Let me know if you want a guide on how to learn to love soy milk. Because I know. Never thought I’d say that.
This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.