Posts Tagged ‘British traditions’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on March 10, 2010 at 6:05 am
Filed under: British traditions, featuredarticle, Food & Beverage

Great British Food: Porridge

When I was little, my mother made me Readybrek. I had it with golden syrup, or a knob of butter gently melting in it, or for a treat with dark chocolate grated off the lump we’d bought from the delicatessen. Then I discovered porridge.

Not British at all - these porridge girls hail from Sweden!

At first I wasn’t convinced. Porridge was lumpy. It didn’t have the fine, smooth texture of Readybrek. Porridge was gluey in the mouth, clinging to my teeth. No, this wasn’t nice.

And then someone showed me what porridge ought to be like.  Cooked really slow for a good long time. Stirred again and again till it’s smooth.

You might use rolled oats, you might use pinhead oats for a silkier texture. You can cook your porridge with milk or with water, or use soya milk for a healthy vegan alternative. It’s a flexible food, this porridge.

Except for the purists. For them, porridge has to be made with a spurtle (no spoons allowed!) and with just water, no cow juice, and a little salt. Nothing else.

Bah. What motivation do you have to get up in the morning if that’s all you have to look forward to?

So the good food fairies have been out and touched porridge with their magic wands. There are some exciting porridge places in London to suit all budgets and most tastes.

  • At Fortnum and Mason’s restaurant, you can get porridge with brown sugar and whisky syrup.  That should put a spring in your step!
  • Ottolenghi[map]  serves porridge with roasted nuts and fresh blackberries – you may enjoy the tartness of the berries, or you might want to add cream for a less healthy but more sumptuous breakfast.
  • At The Café Below (in the crypt beneath St Mary le Bow, in the City[map]) you can get toasted porridge with maple syrup, to eat in or take away.
  • Branches of Leon serve porridge for breakfast – it’s the first job of the day in the kitchen!
  • And if you’re desperate for your fix then any Waitrose branch will sell you Grasshopper porridge-in-a-box, with cinnamon and raisin, for £1.99. You have to add the boiling water yourself, though. And remember to stir!

Picture from hagerstenguy on flickr

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