Chai Spiced Porridge w. Roasted Chestnut, Persimmon & Rose
At times I wonder why the breakfast table is my greatest culinary joy. Perhaps it’s because of the night time fast or perhaps it’s because options are both sweet and savoury. I think it might be because it’s ritualistic; each culture, each neighbourhood, each individual has their own little pattern of habits for morning sustenance. It can be a meal of absolute simplicity or it can be a carefully crafted masterpiece.
Personally I adore porridge; especially as the days rapidly shrink and the mornings come frosted over. It’s one of those plates entirely unassuming; a basic, even austere provision but one that can be luxuriously accompanied. Across countries it has different incarnations; maize, millet, wheat, sorghum, rye; though most familiar to my table is oat porridge. Oats for porridge may be whole groats, cut into two or three pieces; pinhead, steel cut or coarse oatmeal, ground into medium or fine oatmeal, or steamed and rolled into flakes of varying sizes and thicknesses. The larger the pieces, the more textural the resulting porridge.
Most mornings I have a basic toothsome bowl with very little fanfare but come a slow morning and I love to experiment. This is one such bowl - it’s porridge infused with chai spiced oat & almond milk; served with persimmon, roasted chestnuts, rose and poppy seed - an incarnation that certainly compels one to linger.
CHAI SPICED PORRIDGE W. ROASTED CHESTNUT, PERSIMMON & ROSE
1/4 cup / 25g of pinhead/ steel cut oats (gluten free if necessary)
1/4 cup / 25g of large rolled oat flakes (gluten free if necessary)
1 1/2 cups / 375ml of spiced chai milk (see recipe below)
1 sliced persimmon
15 roasted chestnuts, skin removed & roughly chopped
A pinch of rose petals
A pinch of poppy seeds
Begin by warming the chai spiced milk in a small saucepan and as it begins to let off steam stir through the oats. Turn the heat down as low as possible and then simmer, stirring regularly for approximately 10 minutes, or until you achieve a desirable consistency. Allow the porridge to stand covered for 5 minutes before serving.
To roast the chestnuts; preheat an oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Take a small sharp knife and cut a cross into the skin of each nut. Place the nuts on a baking tray and roast for approximately 30 minutes or until the skins open and the chestnut is tender.
To serve the porridge; divide it amongst two breakfast bowls and top with the sliced persimmons, roasted chestnuts, rose petals and poppy seeds. You might also like to include a moat of any remnant chai spiced milk and honey to drizzle over.
SPICED CHAI INFUSION
Adapted from instruction by Cindy Hamrey of Nest & Nettle.
2 litres of you choice of milk (cow / soy / nut / oat, personally I like half almond milk, half oat milk)
5g of black tea leaves
3 whole cardamon pods, slightly crushed
3 whole cloves, lightly crushed
1/2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
A cinnamon stick
In a large saucepan combine 1 litre of milk with the black tea leaves, cardamon pods, whole cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick. Bring it to boil before turning down the heat and simmering covered for an hour. After this time stir through the remaining milk and leave the brew to cool completely. Strain the mixture through a fine cloth and then reserve in a sterilised glass bottle. The infusion will keep refrigerated for up to a week. To serve gently warm over heat and fold through honey for added sweetness.
SEASONAL GUIDE / temperate CLIMATE
Figs; late summer through mid autumn.
ALSO COMPLEMENTARY TO SERVE WITH
Fresh figs, mixed berries, milk of your choosing, natural yoghurt.
Rolled rye and spelt / dried apricot / cashews / honey
Rolled barley flakes / dried apple / almonds / cinnamon