You don't need to be a dietician to know this is good for you, but that's not all it has going for it. Food, for me, has to be delicious first and foremost and I love the more complex, nutty flavours you get here in contrast to plain oat porridge. Porridge, of course, can be made from any grain, and you could certainly substitute your favourites here, some brown rice, for example, would be lovely. I happen to love this combination and I hope you do too.
Approx. 150g, or 3/4 cup dry weight is sufficient for two adults, depending on appetite. On that calculation, this quantity will yield around 9 serves.
200g rolled oats
100g steel-cut oats
100g pearl barley
100g whole buckwheat
100g cracked (bulghur) wheat
100g amaranth (substitute quinoa)
Apple cider vinegar (optional, substitute lemon juice)
Sea salt flakes (optional)
Combine grains and store in an airtight jar. The night before you want to make porridge, measure out the required amount, and put in a glass jar or jug with half a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per person and enough water to cover by about 2cm. Cover with a lid or cloth and leave on the kitchen bench overnight.
The next morning, place porridge, the soaking liquid and more fresh water - for 150g porridge, around another 1/2 cup (125ml) - into a saucepan. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes if desired. Stir over moderate heat, adding more water if necessary, for 20min or until you have a porridge consistency to your liking. Serve with whatever you like.
If so inclined, I encourage you to add some live yoghurt and fresh or stewed fruit for sweetness to your bowl, which makes for a pretty awesome, power-packed, and gut-friendly breakfast. I am not so virtuous as to eat this every day, and I only eat it because I love the flavour and texture, as well as the slight smug feeling of having made something from scratch, as basic as it may be. I use the rolled oats to ensure the final product is lovely and creamy, so although I have six grains listed, it's only five different grains in total. I consider porridge a winter breakfast exclusively, and I think this is the perfect foil to all the delicious poached or baked fruits you can have at this time of year - quinces, pears and apples especially - but any fresh or cooked fruit would be delicious, I like this combination of soft, sweet-sour quince with the crisp apple matchsticks. Not something I would bother with every day, but when you feel like being a little bit fancy…But really, the classic brown sugar and cream, or milk and honey are also sublime. Add cinnamon for good measure.
I can't recall where I read the tip on adding vinegar to the soaking water (and it was such an excellent website!), but from my cursory reading since, I know that the acid helps to break down the phytic acid in the grains. It is this phytic acid which inhibits the bioavailability of key nutrients. I am certainly not trained in nutrition, and am not presuming any expertise, but it is widely accepted that soaking grains both improves the uptake of essential nutrients, and increases their digestibility. It also has the obvious benefit of making the cooking time shorter, and as long as you remember to soak them the night before, this porridge couldn't be simpler. I hope you try it, do let me know how you go if you do!
A child - and adult - friendly slice perfect for lunchboxes, or, as we have done twice now, packed in the car for long road trips. In my recipe notebook I've given this slice the riveting name of 'Date, Sultana and Coconut Slice,' but somewhere along the way it got dubbed 'Yummy Slice' (food propaganda machine in full swing here) and I think it's a much more fitting name. It is, honestly, really yummy!
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup / 75 g wholemeal or whole spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t bi-carb soda
1/3 cup / 65 g mixed seeds
1 cup / 90 g almond meal
1/2 cup / 90 g sultanas or raisins
1 cup / 75 g shredded coconut
200 g Medjool dates, pitted
80 g unsalted butter
1/4 cup / 80 g raw honey
1/4 cup / 65 ml water
vanilla extract (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F) and line a lamington tin (approximately 20 cm x 30 cm / 8" x 12") with non-stick baking paper.
In a small saucepan, bring dates, butter, honey, and water to a gentle simmer over moderate heat and allow it to bubble for a couple of minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients, sultanas or raisins, and coconut in a large mixing bowl.
Mash the date mixture with a fork or vegetable masher into a rough paste. Quickly stir in egg and vanilla, if using.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the date mixture. Stir thoroughly to combine. Dollop the mixture into the prepared tin, patting down the the surface (without compressing it), and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Once cool, store in an airtight container as is or pre-sliced into bars for up to a week. If storing for longer or if the weather is warm, store slice in the fridge.
It is a gift being able to share cooking with my daughter, the child I dreamt about for so long, and for a time, thought I may never have. To have her standing on a box at the kitchen bench, little hands eager to grasp, to help, to learn, I just feel so grateful that I (yes, me!) get to have these special moments. They are a blessing and, I hope (I trust), that these shared times will help to lay the foundations of a loving life-long relationship between us, as well as between Ingrid and food. I hope to instil in her an appreciation of the value of home-cooking, of self-sustenance, and of finding solace in simple comforts. In time, I hope she can, too, enjoy the process of feeding those she loves with nourishing, wholesome food.
We had a blast making this together, and now I get her up to the kitchen bench as much as possible when I'm cooking. She really enjoys it ("want to stand on box," she'll say), and it helps me too. I can cook and entertain her at the same time. Anyone with a toddler knows that trying to do anything while they're about can be a pretty fraught business, as their energetic little brains and bodies need a lot of tending to at times. So far, we've made date scones, pastry, this slice and pizza together, and if we ever have herbs as part of our meal, her special job is to wash them. Of course, she's too little to do much that's actually 'helpful,' but even just standing there with a scrap of dough that she can roll and pat herself is enough for her, while I can get on with the task and talk to her at the same time. I do think that finding ways to share daily experiences is not only a great learning opportunity for your child, they provide great bonding opportunities as well. While they're so little and want to be around you so much, it makes sense to just embrace it - as much as is possible! It's never an ideal world, and challenges always arise, especially when you're under time pressure or extra tired, but I try to find ways to accommodate both our needs as much as possible, and most of the time it works.
Just some musings on cooking with toddlers, I'd love to know your experiences too if such a thing is part of your world and you feel like sharing! And if you make the slice, please let me know here on on Instagram, it means so much to know my recipes may have a little life of their own out in the world. Wishing you health and good eating, M x
Breakfast. Sorted. This is the perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy (or extra lazy) mornings, when even thinking of what to eat, let alone the effort of making something, is beyond you. Having a jar of this on standby makes life so much easier, and tastier!
Makes: a lot!
3 cups rolled oats (see note)
1/2 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 1/4 cup mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds)
2 t ground cinnamon
2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 tahini (hulled or unhulled)
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup olive oil
I apple, grated (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) and line two baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Combine the tahini, honey and olive oil in a microwave safe jug or small saucepan and gently heat either in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, until the tahini and honey have softened and the mixture has combined.
Add the tahini mixture and the grated apple to the dry ingredients and stir well, or use your hands to combine thoroughly. Spread the mixture over the two baking trays, trying to achieve an even layer with few gaps.
Bake for 20-30 min until toasted and golden. If desired, halfway through the cooking time, push the outer edges of the granola into the middle of the trays, and the inner parts to the edges. This will ensure a more even toasting, but is not absolutely necessary.
Allow to cool completely on the trays (this helps the granola to clump together), before breaking up and storing in airtight glass jars. The granola will keep well for several weeks, but it probably won't last that long!
Serving suggestion: This granola is delicious simply served with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit, but it is also a fabulous ingredient in cookies and muffins, or just as a snack on its own.
Note: I haven't provided gram weights as this recipe really depends on ratios. It doesn't matter what measuring vessel you use, as long as you follow the ratios above.
I've been making granola (or toasted muesli for the people at the back) for ages now. I've made it so often that I just wing it when it comes to how much of this or that I put in. However, I finally got around to paying attention to what I was doing and have hit upon out the ideal ratio of wet to dry ingredients. Hurrah! This recipe yields a super crunchy yet chewy, not-too-sweet, biscuity granola that is SO satisfying to eat, and obviously, is very good for you. As long as you have half the quantity of wet ingredients to oats, and then chuck in various nuts and seeds as desired, you can't go wrong. I'm forever varying the nuts and seeds depending on what I have to hand. I love linseeds and poppy seeds in this too, but if I stick to the ratios above, it always works out.
There are a couple of things that make a difference to the final product, however. I do recommend chopping your almonds a bit, so that some are left whole, but you also have some smaller shards and dust. This helps the granola clump together later. The apple also helps with this, as well as adding a bit of sweetness, but the granola is also very successful without it. The most important thing to achieving those toasty clusters is allowing the granola to completely cool before handling it. The only problem is, it's pretty hard to resist having a sample or three as you break it up for storage. It's not only good for breakfast, either. I've been known to take a small bowl of this to my desk to snack on as I would nuts. The recipe can of course be upsized or downsized as necessary, but as it keep so well, I find it more useful to make a big batch less often. Let me know if you try it, I'd love to hear your feedback!
About The Daughter's Table
The Daughter's Table is a living archive of recipes and stories. It is inspired by my daughter, and the desire to create a food legacy that connects us to what we eat and why.