A view from yesterday’s train journey.
At close glance, those of you familiar with my train journey down to the south west might think I was somewhere a little past Exeter, looking out over the sea.
But no… that is a field. See the tree? That’s a real bit of flooding going on there!
Thanks to the flooding, it meant having to get a coach for the second half of my journey. Normally, this kind of thing – extending my three hour journey home to a seven hour one – would put me in a bit of a mood. Fortunately though, I bumped into a friend from secondary school on the train, who I haven’t seen for about three years. So at least we had each other for company through the chaos, as well as plenty of time to catch up!
I have decided that from now until the 27th, I’m just going to try and switch my brain off a little – the part whirring away, stressing out about jobs, whether to take a masters or not, what exactly I want to be doing as a career, that great big scary place called the future.
So over Christmas, I’m just going to think about now, without worrying about what’s going to come next. I’m arguing with myself that the time out will help me to think more clearly on the other side….which also seems like a brilliant excuse to do little else but Christmas baking!
Which is exactly what I’ve done today…a gluten-free loaf (a surprisingly good gluten-free loaf – I didn’t think such things were possible! – that I will definitely tell you about soon) marzipan cookies and ricciarelli (a lot of sugar and ground almonds going on…possibly too much…I did feel a little close to sugar coma by the end of the afternoon) and two pieces of chocolate bark…photos to come soon but it got dark before I had a chance to take any today.
What I really want to tell you about though, is this morning’s breakfast – a super festive porridge filled with orange zest, mixed spice, crystallised ginger, vanilla, cranberries, dates and pecans. I think the little chunks of crystallised ginger were the stars of this porridge…providing little punchy hits of sweet warming heat, just perfect to start a winter morning.
This is porridge at its most comforting and christmassey! Although I think it is far too good to reserve solely for Christmas…this little gem of a porridge recipe is definitely going to come out on many more mornings next year.
Per portion (scale up as needed):
- 50g oats
- 75ml milk
- 175ml water
- zest of 1/4-1/2 orange
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch ginger
- 2-3 chunks of crystallised ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 tbsp chopped dried dates
- 1 tbsp chopped pecans
- 1 tsp demerara sugar, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- Place the oats in a saucepan with the milk and water. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer.
- Stir in the orange zest, spices, crystallised ginger, dates, demerara sugar and most of the cranberries and pecans, reserving some for the topping. Allow the porridge to simmer for several minutes, stirring, until creamy. (Add extra milk/water if you feel it needs it). Stir through the vanilla.
- Serve sprinkled with the reserved nuts and cranberries, extra demerara sugar and get ready to feel festive.