Overnight Porridge

Fiona Kirk Overnight Porridge Recipe.jpeg

The fabulous thing about porridge is that there is no definitive recipe or cooking method - it’s more of a personal thing. I am a Scot and over the last 60 years or so have sampled many a bowl of porridge - some which take your breath away, some which glue your gums together and some which are way too thin and watery! Here’s one of my fat-busting favourites where you soak the oats overnight so it takes less time to cook, is quickly ready to scoff or can be transported in a wide-necked vacuum flask.

Ingredients

1 teacup medium-cut oats
3 teacups hot but not boiling water
Decent pinch of sea salt crystals
Double cream
Runny honey
Cinnamon or nutmeg

Method

  • Place the water in a heat-proof bowl and gradually but meaningfully whisk in the oats - you don’t want any lumps.
  • Leave to cool a little then cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning (or whenever), transfer the porridge to a non-stick pan and cook over a medium heat until bubbling, stirring all the time.
  • Add the salt and continue to stir for another few minutes - if it is a little thick for your liking, just add some boiling water.
  • Serve with whatever fruit is in the bowl, a drizzle of runny honey (and/or double cream), a handful of fresh nuts and seeds and a good sprinkling of cinnamon powder or grated nutmeg.

makes 1 generous serving

Courgette, Apple and Carrot Bread

courgette bread.jpg

(makes 1 standard loaf)

If your mornings are always a rush, a couple of slices of this fruit and vegetable bread alongside a cup of deep, dark and rich coffee with a good dollop of cream should answer your prayers - filling, packed with nutritional goodness and downright delicious - particularly when the coffee is piping hot and the bread is toasted!

Ingredients

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and roughly grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly grated
1 medium courgette/zucchini, wiped and roughly grated
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
40g fresh pecan nuts, roughly chopped
550g wholemeal flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon all-spice powder
pinch ground nutmeg
2 eggs, whisked
80g brown sugar
The seeds/paste from 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper (or use a non-stick silicon mould if you have one). Prepare the apple, carrot and courgette/zucchini, put in a bowl, add the lemon juice, mix well and cover the bowl with cling film so the apple doesn’t brown.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, all-spice and nutmeg.
  • In another bowl, whisk three quarters of the beaten egg, the sugar and the vanilla extract together before thoroughly combining the mixture with the dry ingredients.
  • Fold in the grated fruit/vegetable mix and lastly the pecan nuts.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and place in the middle of the oven for around 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out cleanly. Check after 35 minutes then every 10 minutes until perfect.
  • Leave to cool a little before turning it out onto a wire tray to cool thoroughly.

Super Green Granola

super green granola web.jpeg

Ingredients

  • 250g steel cut oats
  • 50g puffed millet
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 25g hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Manuka honey
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flakes/shavings
  • Natural Greek yoghurt

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Mix the oats, millet, nuts and seeds together in a bowl.
  • Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over a low heat, add the honey, lime zest and lime juice, pour over the dry ingredients, mix well, spread the granola evenly over a baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes (or until everything is nicely golden brown), turning occasionally then remove and let it cool (it will get crunchier as it cools).
  • Stir in the coconut flakes/shavings and store in an airtight container until required.
  • Serve with passionfruit, green grapes, kiwi fruit and sliced green apples and yoghurt.
  • This is a great ‘green’ combination but you can play around with the grains, nuts and seeds and the fruit dependent on what you have in stock - make the granola in bulk as it keeps for ages.

Fresh Fruit Salad with Crunchy Yoghurt

Fresh Fruit with Crunchy Yoghurt.jpeg

You can make your own ‘crunchy mix’ in bulk using grains, nuts and seeds of choice and store in a glass jar or other airtight container in the fridge or buy a ready-prepared muesli-type mix for convenience. If you go down that route, make sure it has no added sugars - label-reading is vital here and I recommend you head to a health store as a great many of those on the supermarket shelves are bulked out with dried fruits and involve difficult to spot sugary syrups!

Ingredients
Grains and flaked grains of choice (oats, millet, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, rye etc)
Nuts and seeds of choice
Manuka honey
Natural dairy or non-dairy yoghurt
Fruits of choice
Powdered cinnamon or grated nutmeg

Method

  • If you are making your own ‘crunchy mix’, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2-3.
  • Mix your chosen grains, nuts and seeds in a bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of runny honey and stir well until everything is coated.
  • Transfer the mix to a shallow baking tray and roast in the over for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the whole lot a good stir with a fork and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let the mix cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
  • To serve, stir a couple of tablespoons of your homemade or ready-prepared ‘crunchy mix’ into 3 or 4 tablespoons of yoghurt, layer into a bowl or glass or transportable container with whole, sliced or diced fruit and top with powdered cinnamon or grated nutmeg.

The best thing about yoghurt, fruit and a bit of ‘extra crunch’ is that when you choose this as your first meal of the day, it is going to deliver an excellent balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate, make your tastebuds sing and keep you firing on all cylinders until lunchtime!

Soft Boiled Eggs with Sweet Potato and Avocado

Soft Boiled Eggs with Sweet Potato and Avocado.jpg

(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients

  • ½ large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 4 lengthwise slices
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large omega 3-rich or organic, free range eggs
  • ½ large or 1 small ripe avocado, stoned and flesh scooped from skin
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
  • Paint both sides of the sweet potato slices with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake (turning regularly) until nice and crispy on both sides but still soft in the middle (around 15 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, boil your eggs.
  • My method: Prick the eggs on the rounded bottom, place in a small pan, cover with cold water, bring slowly to the boil and the minute the water starts to boil, turn the heat down so that it is just bubbling gently and set the timer for 3 minutes. As soon as the timer goes off, remove from the heat, drain and run lots of cold water over the eggs, before draining and setting aside. Works every time!
  • If you want them a little less runny, go for 4 minutes, hard-boiled, go for 5.
  • Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork, add the lime juice and coriander and mash some more until it has a chunky but silky texture.
  • Shell and half the eggs, place 2 slices of the sweet potato on each plate, top with a good scoop of the avocado mix then place 2 egg halves on top and another pinch of salt and a few twists of black pepper.
  • A fresh tomato and basil salad simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, a splash of lemon juice and some salt and pepper goes really well with this.
  • NB: this may seem like quite an unusual mix but trust me, it tastes really good!

Vegetable Fritters (v)

Courgette Fritters

(makes 10-12 burger-sized fritters)

Fritters are so quick and easy and these ones are baked in the oven making them super-convenient and pretty darned healthy. You can play around with different vegetables, cheeses and herb mixes and as long as you stick to the recommended proportions, you get perfect fritters every time to have as a quick snack or with a lightly-dressed mixed salad for lunch or dinner - and - a dip really does add that extra something special!

Ingredients

2 medium-sized courgettes, cleaned and coarsely grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated or minced
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and very finely diced
2 large eggs
80g feta cheese, crumbled
140g Panko breadcrumbs or finely-cut oats

Method

  • In a bowl, mix the grated courgette with a good pinch of salt, cover with cling film and leave for around 20 minutes to allow the courgettes to release their water content.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 then mix the olive oil, garlic, baking powder, dill, chilli, eggs, feta and breadcrumbs or oats in a bowl.
  • Using a clean tea towel, squeeze as much of the water out of the courgettes as possible then add to the bowl with a few good grindings of black pepper and a pinch of salt and thoroughly combine the lot.
  • Form 10-12 fritters with your hands (make a ball first then slightly flatten with the heel of your hand) place them (leaving space between each) on a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a non-stick sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway. It all depends on the size of your fritters, so check after 20 minutes (best way to test them is to eat one!) and give them another 10 minutes if required.
  • Serve them piping hot with a dip (yoghurt and mint works well as does sour cream and chives) and a lightly-dressed mixed green salad.

Fruity Oaty Bake

Fruity Oaty Breakfast Bake

(makes 4 generous servings)

Chewy, tasty and filling, this is a breakfast that you can make ahead and dive into when time is not on your side or take with you when you are out and about for a quick and filling snack -  experiment with whatever fruits are in season. 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil
180g rough cut oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt
60g fresh nuts of choice, roughly chopped
60g unsweetened, shredded/flaked coconut
300g fresh or frozen mixed berries
1 egg (Omega 3-rich preferably), lightly whisked
1 tablespoon maple syrup or runny honey
350mls cows, almond or oat milk
Natural live/bio or Greek-style yoghurt to serve

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
  • Put the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nuts, coconut, berries and coconut oil (melt it quickly in a small pan first) in a large bowl and and stir gently until everything is thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the whisked egg, maple syrup or honey and milk and keep stirring until everything is well-combined.
  • Transfer to a baking dish, lightly smooth the surface and place in the middle of the oven and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. If it is still slightly runny, give it another 5-10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool a little before serving with the yoghurt.
  • NB: It will keep in the fridge (covered) for a week so all you need do in the morning (or whenever!) is just  take a good slice from the dish and heat it through in the oven or microwave before digging in. It is also delicious cold as a flapjack-style snack.

Overnight Bircher Muesli

Overnight Muesli

(makes 1 generous or 2 smaller servings)

I learned how to make real authentic Bircher muesli whilst working as a waitress in the mountains of Switzerland in my early 20s. Since then, I have been playing around with the revered Dr Maximilian Bircher-Bennerʼs classic, restorative recipe and this is one that doesnʼt include much fruit but still has a wonderfully sweet edge. The big bonus is that you can make it the night before and simply dive into the fridge in the morning for a helping or take it to work!

Ingredients

6 tablespoons oats
140ml coconut water
2 tablespoons flaked almonds (toasted or un-toasted)
½ tablespoon Manuka honey
1 tablespoon 0% fat Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
½ apple, peeled, cored and grated
4 fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix really well, cover and place in the fridge overnight. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder or grated nutmeg on top.

Perfect Porridge

Perfect Porridge

(makes 1 serving)

The fabulous thing about porridge is that there is no definitive recipe or cooking method - it’s more of a personal thing. I am a Scot and over the last 60 years or so have sampled many a bowl of porridge - some which take your breath away, some which glue your gums together and some which are way too thin and watery! Here’s one of my fat-busting favourites where you soak the oats overnight so it takes less time to cook, is quickly ready to scoff or can be transported in a wide-necked vacuum flask.

Ingredients

1 teacup medium-cut oats
3 teacups hot but not boiling water
Decent pinch of sea salt crystals
Double cream
Runny honey
Cinnamon or nutmeg

Method

  • Place the water in a heat-proof bowl and gradually but meaningfully whisk in the oats - you don’t want any lumps.
  • Leave to cool a little then cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning (or whenever), transfer the porridge to a non-stick pan and cook over a medium heat until bubbling, stirring all the time.
  • Add the salt and continue to stir for another few minutes - if it is a little thick for your liking, just add some boiling water.
  • Serve with a spoonful or two of double cream, a drizzle of runny honey and a good sprinkling of cinnamon powder or grated nutmeg.