Wednesday 26 September 2018

Autumn Spiced Porridge, Honey-Soaked Pears And Chestnuts

   Oof! I've been AWOL for over a week, but for good reason. Seeg and I just had a week together at home while my dad took my mother away on holiday again, so it was our second week of the year as non-carers. Yay. It's always great; our living situation is so difficult and unusual it's a wonder we've managed to function for eight years, but we have! But it means that these rare weeks alone together are precious - and, as always, leads to us cooking foods we never usually get to have because we can't be troubled to cook different meals for us and different meals for mum, which means we can finally have rice, noodles, soups, stews, ribs,'s amazing. I also reached an epiphany: rather than feeling guilty for the treats that come with such a week and obsessing over cardio to getitoffgetitoffgetitoffgetitoff, I realised that there wasn't all that much wrong with what I was eating - it was all home made stuff so I knew what was in it (except, perhaps, that ridiculously delicious Meateor Domino's Pizza) - and that I should view the rise in calories and nutrients as fuel. Therefore, I upped the ante, increased my weights and my sets and tried to get as much out of the increased fuel as possible. It made a huge difference to my mood and my outlook towards the food itself.

   That said, it does mean that I also work on healthier recipes, too, and buy more unusual ingredients in general - a big, unrestricted shop opens my eyes to other things on the shelves I either never noticed before, or never bothered to look for. And so I bought lots of different fruit and had all kinds of porridges for breakfast! And that's not taboo anymore, either, because autumn is now upon us! The leaves are turning, there are speckles of yellow and orange among the green, soon to become red and brown and beautiful. I can now openly eat porridge to my heart's content.

   Among others, I was drawn to red pears this season - Bartlett or Williams. They're much softer than typical pears, juicier, and striking, and if you add some spice it is irrefutably autumnal. Because spice is reserved for cooler weather. It's a rule of life. In my house, anyway. Warm honey and chestnuts top the whole thing off beautifully, and the added protein on top of all that fibre keeps you going all morning.

30g oats
20g whey protein (or preferred)
10g chestnut flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
Sweetener of choice
100ml milk
100ml water
5g honey & 10ml hot water
1 pear
30g chestnuts
Optional seeds

Overnight Oats
1. Thoroughly combine the oats, whey, chestnut flour, spice and sweetener in a bowl (or shaker bottle) and, stirring all the while, add the milk until mixed (or shake it all together and transfer into a bowl).

2. Set it in the fridge overnight, then move on to step 4 the following morning.
If you'd like to heat it the following morning, add 50ml water and set it in the microwave for 1 minute on full power, stir, add the pears from step 7 and mix, then heat for 20-30 second bursts until desired consistency is reached. Add more water if needed.

Oats on the Hob
1. Boil 100ml water

2. Thoroughly combine the oats, whey, chestnut flour, spice and sweetener in a pan and, stirring all the while, add the milk, then 100ml boiled water until mixed.
3. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until desired consistency is reached. Add more water if needed.

4. Meanwhile, slice the pear in half then cut segments/slices out of the middle of one half; remove the core and dice the remainder of the pear.

5. Set the diced pear in a pan with 1-2 tbsp of water and bring to a boil, then simmer until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Add more water if needed.

6. While the porridge is thickening and pear softening, lay the segments/slices of pear out flat on a plate or dish. Mix 5g honey with 10ml hot water in a small bowl or cup (add more honey, if you'd like - more water means thinner consistency, so adjust however you'd like) and drizzle half the warm honey carefully over the flesh of each flat slice. Reserve the rest of the honey for later.

7. Chop your chestnuts.

8. Empty the softened pear and any water left into the pan of porridge, mix and heat for a further few minutes.

9. Transfer the porridge into a bowl, top with soaked pear slices, chopped chestnuts, seeds if using, and drizzle over the remaining honey. Serve immediately.

• I used Pulsin premium whey
• I used Amisa chestnut flour
• I used a red Bartlett/Williams pear
• I used 5g wildflower Rowse honey
• I used Merchant Gourmet roasted chestnuts

Without seeds
432 cals, 4g fat (0.5g sat), 64g carbs (33g natural sugars), 9.5g fibre, 27.5g protein, 1 of 5 a day


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