Porridge is a traditional Scottish food. I took this nutritious dish and added a Mediterranean twist to it with some extra beneficial, fragrant and colourful ingredients.
Saffron is a precious spice with numerous health benefits, including anti-tumour activity and anti-depressive effects, which are currently being researched. You can find good quality saffron in a Persian or Middle Eastern shop where it is often cheaper than the high-street supermarkets.
The ingredients in this recipe go back to Antiquity, although perhaps Hippocrates would have used barley instead of oats. If you choose the Hippocratic version, then soak the barley overnight and follow the steps below:
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups milk (goat’s, soya or rice) or 1 cup milk and 1 water
3 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 tsp ground saffron (or a small pinch of saffron threads roughly cut with your fingers). Alternatively, make ‘saffron water’ the previous day by adding 1 cup boiling water to the saffron threads and leave overnight.
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp goji berries or other dried fruit
For the sprinkling on top:
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp freshly ground mix of poppy, flax and sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin and sesame seeds
fresh berries or pomegranate seeds, when in season
1-2 tbsp good quality, cold-pressed honey (avoid heated honey as the process of heating destroys its healing nutrients)
Bring the milk and water (or saffron water) to a boil in a non-stick pan.
Add the oats, raisins and goji berries and mix well.
Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and ground saffron.
Cook slowly on low heat.
Simmer until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.
Spoon the porridge into individual serving bowls.
Sprinkle the ground seeds, cinnamon powder and berries.
Serve hot with milk and honey.
Enjoy the smell and the colours.
Taste it and appreciate the textures.
It will give you energy to start your day.