breakfast + brunch/ traditions and rituals/ vegan

Easy oat porridge with caramelised banana and blueberries

Comfort comes in many forms. A big hug, a great song listened to with your eyes closed, a favourite show or movie watched over and over again. A bowl of something warm and sweet. We can be the masters of our own comfort.

Comfort food means something different to everyone. Maybe it’s a meal made for you when you were a child, or a food connected to a moment in your life that whenever you eat it takes you right back there. Food can make us feel grounded, at home, cosy. 


Sweden is home to many delicious comfort foods, but I don’t get the impression that they see comfort food in the same way we do. Sometimes we can think of comfort food as being a naughty indulgence, something that should only be enjoyed every once in a while. Surely this kind of restriction takes something away from the feeling of comfort that we are seeking. 

But in Sweden they do comfort food well. Their tradition of Fika, the ritual of a coffee break often accompanied by cake, is enjoyed for what it is, without the baggage. It’s an invitation to slow down, have a chat and create some space in the day; a simple celebration of food as part of life, and an opportunity to reconnect with each other. Here, they make comfort food a part of every day life, not something to feel guilty about. In a country so cold and dark for much of the year, it makes sense to allow food to add a little light to the day. Cake, coffee, comfort. Simple pleasures. 


There are many other great Swedish food traditions, delicious cake and coffee is just one of them. For lunch you will find amazing Smorgasbords in almost every cafe. Real, healthful food in generous quantities for you to help yourself to as you like. An array of smoked or pickled fish on dark rye bread; an abundance of berries, served with dollops of something soured and creamy. Swedish strawberries are surely the most delicious I have ever eaten, I only wish we had such strawberries at home; I considered trying to smuggle some seeds in my suitcase, they were honestly that good.

In Sweden, they know how to celebrate ingredients, treat them with respect and make them into something simple yet delicious. 

Porridge for breakfast

Porridge is a popular breakfast in Scandinavia, and you will often find it served in cafes. Far from being bland or stodgy or boring, it is usually delicious. They also make by far the best oat milk I have ever tried, which is offered in almost every cafe and supermarket. They celebrate the oat for what it is and allow it to take centre stage.

Oat milk, I discovered, is the secret to a creamy yet light porridge, and even though you’re making something using only one main ingredient, by adding a few simple toppings and you have a bowl of something cosy and delicious.

Having enjoyed porridge that I could not stop eating at a little cafe in Malmo, I set out to recreate it for breakfast the following morning. Wandering the aisles of the supermarket, I came back with something I thought to be quick oats. They turned out to be chopped oat groats, my translation of chopped oats turned out to be a little more literal than I thought. So, I soaked those babies overnight, to allow them to swell and soften before cooking them up the following morning. I added some oat milk part way through the cooking and discovered that this made the oats creamy yet light, without the heaviness that cow’s milk can give. 

Porridge is a food of nostalgia, something your grandparents might have made for you on a cold winter’s morning. Enjoyed by the fire and drizzled with a little honey or brown sugar, mornings like these are the dream of childhood. There is a reason porridge has been enjoyed the world over and sustained people for so many years. It is real comfort food, something to nourish and fill you, and a guaranteed cosy way to start your day.

Porridge-breakfast-bowl-swedish-blueberry-banana-sweetpea-darlingheart

Easy Oat Porridge with Caramelised Banana and Blueberries

The caramelised banana makes this porridge feel extra special and, for me at least, removes the need for any other kind of sweetening. Of course a little drizzle of maple syrup (just a teaspoon or two) is definitely a delicious addition, or a couple of drops of liquid stevia stirred through in the last minute of cooking adds a sweeter touch. A sprinkling of frozen blueberries gives you vibrant pops of flavour and contrast, which is something that every delicious bowl needs. I also highly recommend some chopped, roasted nuts – almonds or hazelnuts are my first choice – for added crunch; include these or not, according to your preference. 

The cooking time for the porridge itself will depend on the kind of oats you use – I have tried chopped oat groats, whole rolled oats and quick or ’creamy’ oats – all will give you slightly different results, all of them delicious. Oat groats are nuttier and give you a porridge with a little chew – if texture is your thing, then go for the groats. If using oat groats, soak them overnight in the water with a little dash of apple cider vinegar, to make them easier to digest and quicker to cook, then cook on the stovetop for 10 – 15 minutes. Whole rolled oats give my favourite porridge, there is still a bit of chew but they’re also luscious and creamy; rolled oats can be soaked overnight and will then just need 3 – 5 minutes, stirring, on the stove top, or can be cooked from raw in the morning, needing just a couple of extra minutes. Quick or ‘creamy’ oats are rolled oats that have been chopped up a little, and are the fastest of all, and make the smoothest porridge. Cooking these only takes 3 – 5 minutes from raw on the stove top in the morning.


Easy Oat Porridge with Caramelised Banana and Blueberries

Adapt your cooking times according to the type of oats you use – if it’s a weekday morning, then definitely consider using pre-soaked rolled oats or the ‘creamy’ variety. But if it’s the weekend, and you feel like taking your time, turn the heat down low and take your time stirring the oats, allowing the making of your porridge to ease you into the pace of the day.

Serves 1

1/2 cup oats of your choice, pre-soaked if desired
3/4 cup water +  little more if required
1/2 cup oat milk
tiny pinch of fine salt
3 drops liquid stevia (optional)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
1 banana, halved lengthwise from tip to tip and skin removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
handful of frozen blueberries
maple syrup or additional milk to serve (optional)


In a small saucepan add the oats and water. Heat over medium low heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon for 3 – 5 minutes for ‘creamy’ or ‘quick’ oats, 5 – 8 minutes for rolled oats, and 10 – 12 minutes for oat groats, or until your oats are tender, adding more water if necessary.

While the porridge is cooking, heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Once hot drizzle in the olive oil and place the halved banana cut side down. Allow to fry for 2 – 3 minutes, or until golden brown, before flipping carefully and frying on the other side.

Add the oat milk and tiny pinch of salt into the oats, and hemp seeds if using, and stir for another minute or two until creamy. Stir through the liquid stevia if desired.

Pour your porridge into a bowl and arrange the caramelised banana on top. Add a handful of frozen blueberries and any other toppings you desire. Enjoy somewhere in a ray of sunshine, wrapped in a blanket, or by an open fire xx

.

Easy Oat Porridge with Caramelised Banana and Blueberries

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 5 - 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats of your choice, pre-soaked if desired
  • 3/4 cup water +  little more if required
  • 1/2 cup oat milk
  • tiny pinch of fine salt
  • 3 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 banana, halved lengthwise from tip to tip and skin removed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • handful of frozen blueberries
  • maple syrup or additional milk to serve (optional)

Instructions

1

In a small saucepan add the oats and water. Heat over medium low heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon for 3 - 5 minutes for 'creamy' or 'quick' oats, 5 - 8 minutes for rolled oats, and 10 - 12 minutes for oat groats, or until your oats are tender, adding more water if necessary.

2

While the porridge is cooking, heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Once hot drizzle in the olive oil and place the halved banana cut side down. Allow to fry for 2 - 3 minutes, or until golden brown, before flipping carefully and frying on the other side.

3

Add the oat milk and tiny pinch of salt into the oats, and hemp seeds if using, and stir for another minute or two until creamy. Stir through the liquid stevia if desired.

4

Pour your porridge into a bowl and arrange the caramelised banana on top. Add a handful of frozen blueberries and any other toppings you desire. Enjoy somewhere in a ray of sunshine, wrapped in a blanket, or by an open fire xx

Notes

• vegan • comfort food •

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