When I grew up, my dad would make us kids porridge for breakfast now and then in winter. It came in one form only – made with traditional rolled oats and full cream milk (my family were late starters on the reduced fat milk bandwagon!) topped with a smattering of soft brown sugar on top (sprinkled on as soon as it hit the bowl to ensure maximum sugar melt) and more milk. Well I didn’t have extra milk – I was always a bit of a food fuss pot. What can I say? I have always been particular with my food and at that stage of the game, I didn’t like milk with my porridge. I ate it dry. And I loved it.
Well, times have changed. For starters, I no longer take my porridge dry. But also, these days, when you take a trip down the supermarket cereal aisle you are confronted with a scary and mind-boggling choice of flavour-bombed, sugar-spiked, ‘cooks-in-a-nano-second’ instant porridges, all wrapped up in large amounts of brightly coloured packaging. I am not a fan of these porridge imposters and eschew such rolled oat frivolities, remaining true to my cheap bag of traditional rolled oats (but this time made with 1/2 water and 1/2 low fat milk instead of Dad’s penchant for full cream milk). The reason why I don’t go for the sweetened convenience porridges? I like being able to control the sweetness of what I eat in the morning and enjoy adding my own sweet topping such as a drizzle of iron bark honey, thin slices of banana, quartered strawberries… and yeah, okay, if I am feeling a bit ‘plain Jane’ then I’ll simply add a bit of brown sugar every now and again.
However, at a recent food show in Sydney I found a product that has made me reconsider my stubborn refusal to venture into the world of value-added porridge mixes. Better still, this product is made right on my doorstep – here in Byron Bay by local food production success story, Brookfarm. Brookfarm started out at the Byron Bay Farmers’ Markets, became famous for their lovely mueslis that champion local macadamias and has since grown, grown and grown again, to become a leading player in the boutique muesli, and now, porridge (or porrij – as they call it!) market. The product in question is their Power Porrij.
Image source: Brookfarm Website
For a while I had been toying with the idea of making a multi-grain porridge – one with all my favorite seeds and nuts in it. I had just never gotten around to it! So when given the opportunity to try Brookfarm’s new Power Porrij at the food show, how could I refuse? I liked what I tasted and even walked away with a little sample sachet to try at home at my leisure.
The porridge has been made to be an ‘instant’ or quick cook breakfast option. Directions for use involve the use of a microwave and the pushing of buttons so that it is in there for 90 seconds on high. Although this is a viable option, my m,microwave is on the blink and so when I made my sample sachet up, I did it on the stove top over about 3 minutes. I used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup water and cooked it, stirring frequently until it was the consistency I love. The nuts and seeds (almonds, organic golden flaxseed, macadamias, organic quinoa) and mixture of grains/cereals (oats, barley, rye, organic amaranth, rice bran) create a textural sensation – there are lumps, but this is not unpleasant. In fact, just the opposite, I love the extra bite! There is a hint of sweetness from cinnamon and prune juice – but not enough to be overwhelming.
In keeping with the Byron Bay spirit of Brookfarm, I topped mine with locally grown and sourced banana and iron bark honey, purchased from the farmers’ markets. A splash of organic milk was all it took to finish it off. By the end of the bowl, I was full. Fuller than I am on the same amount of traditional porridge. I was so full, in fact, that I didn’t eat morning tea that day (anyone who knows me will tell you that that is unusual for me!)
All in all – a great way to start the day. It is nutritious, filling and a source of protein, Omega 3, dietary fibre, beta-glucans (for managing blood cholesterol) and is yum! It comes in a gluten free option as well for anyone with a gluten allergy or intolerance. I’ll guess I’ll will be manning up and braving the cereal aisle to search for this tasty product again.