four hundred and twelve

The Perfect Winter Porridge

Recipe, words & images by Harriet Davidson

There’s something about a porridge morning, about starting your day over a steaming pot of oats. It forces slow, warmth and intention as you add just the right amount of spice as you stir. It really awakens the senses.  I love it because it’s the most simple, warming breakfast that you can play with endlessly as the seasons come and go.

I’ve had a few conversations with people lately on how underused cardamom is in Australia. It adds such a depth and warmth to dishes, from curries to cinnamon buns (hi Sweden). I have a stash of cardamom from my time living in Sweden that I’ve used but buying the pods and crushing them to get the seeds is a great option here.

The oats I’m using, and totally obsessed with, at the moment are from a small family farm in Tasmania called The Grain Family that I bought when I was in Launceston. I either use these or a half mix of rolled oats and steel cut oats - it’s all about the texture combination. I’ve served them here with beautiful pears from Kurrawong Organics that have been poached simply in a few spices along with brown butter almonds spiked with a touch of thyme, sea salt and honey.

Danish chef, Frederik Bille Brahe, of the Apollo Bar changed my life when he opened my eyes to the addition of olive oil and sea salt in porridge, and both are a perfect compliment to the pears and almonds in this recipe. I hope this warms your winter mornings for the months ahead.

The oats I’m using, and totally obsessed with, at the moment are from a small family farm in Tasmania called The Grain Family.


Ingredients

CARDAMOM PORRIDGE (for two)
2/3 cup oats (use a mix of steel cut and rolled if you can), soaked overnight
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cardamom seeds
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
4 prunes, chopped
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup oat milk (or your current milk choice)

BROWN BUTTER ALMONDS
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp butter
3 sprigs thyme
Sea salt
1 tsp honey

PEARS
4 Williams pears, peeled
1 cup water (or enough for the pears to be almost submerged)
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise (optional)
2 bay leaves (optional)


Method

For the poached pears, cut the pears through the core down the middle. Use a spoon to discard the seeds. Place the water and spices into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and covered with the lid. Bring to a gentle boil before adding in the pears and turning the heat down. Cover the pears with a piece of baking paper and cook covered for 15 minutes on a low heat, or until pears are soft. Watch to not over-cook the pears as they’ll get mushy.

For the almonds, place the chilled butter and almonds into a cast iron pan. Let the butter bubble and stir as both the almonds and butter start to go brown. Sprinkle in the thyme and sea salt, followed by a drizzle of honey. Stir until everything is golden brown and coated. Remove from heat.

While the fruit is poaching, drain your oats and discard the soaking water. Place all porridge ingredients, except for the milk, into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir while it comes to a simmer then turn down to a low heat. As you stir, slowly pour in your milk. Let cook, stirring to add to the creaminess of the oats, until the spices are fragrant and the oats are broken down, about 10-15 minutes ideally. You might need to add a dash more water or milk as you stir - you’re after a loose but not runny consistency.

While your oats are bubbling, boil the kettle and use the water to heat your chosen porridge bowl. Discard the water and add in oats.

Drizzle the oats with honey. Spoon on yoghurt, place one of the pear halves on and sprinkle with the brown butter almonds. To finish, drizzle with honey, olive oil and sea salt, and a few thyme sprigs.

Harriet uses our IN BED 100% linen napkins in toffee, placemats in navy & white stripe, organic cotton waffle tea towel in toffee. Harriet’s bed is dressed in an IN BED 100% linen duvet cover and pillowslips in tobacco and a linen sheet set in white.