Cracked Rye Porridge
I so adore writing. I love its emotion and candidness. I love how a few beautifully composed sentences can be so relatable or insightful and that it can transport you beyond yourself. It’s a craft unto its own and while I like to think I’m mostly well versed, even if sometimes a little whimsical; let me tell you it is not without tedious consideration. I love to write lyrically and descriptively; it’s my romantic nature front and centre. I can be prone to excess though and am slowly coming to the realisation that profound insight is not always necessary – or indeed relevant. Sometimes life and thought can simply be mundane and goodness there is such beauty in that. Beauty in our daily rituals and quiet moments. The collection of these is our honest existence and not always poetic or glamorous, so in the spirit of simplicity and my extremely poor measure of time lately these musings are coming to you with almost no afterthought. It’s vexing to my perfectionist ways not to pour over the words but wholly liberating at the same time.
In accompaniment to this celebration of simple ritual, is a savoury porridge that has been a common feature of our week most recently. Brunch is almost sacred in our house and sitting down to dine on a late weekend morning is amongst my most treasured time. With winter giving way to spring this dish may not see out too many more mornings but while the cool day break lasts it’s a toothsome and earthy bowl to linger over. It can be prepared and stored in advance of any weekday affair, though assembling the plate warm and fresh is it’s true intention.
Rye is not a common grain eaten in my corner of the world, though its popularity is on the rise. Historically thought of as a poverty grain given its hardiness in poor soil, this grass yields rye berries in its harvest which are a rich and versatile source of dietary fibre. It has a longer cooking time than conventional grains and is best soaked overnight, though can be readily substituted for rice or barley. Although rye is not gluten free it can be tolerated by some people with sensitivities. By cracking the rye berries in this dish they cook with more creaminess and have a slight sour earthy flavour that marries beautifully with fresh herbs and roasted vegetables. Perfect for time out of a leisurely morning.
Cracked Rye Porridge / Serves 2
1 cup whole rye berries
2 cups of filtered water
1 cup milk of your choice (I use rice milk)
1 portobello mushroom, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
Handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
To prepare the porridge, place the rye grains in a high speed blender and process until they resemble a course oatmeal (you're looking for most whole grains to be cracked though not reduced to a flour). Combine the cracked rye, water, chopped mushroom, bay leaves and garlic in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once brought to a boil reduce the heat to low and cover stirring occasionally for 20 mins. It's best to keep an eye on the porridge during this process and if it's looking too dry add additional water 1/2 a cup at a time. Fold through your milk and continue to simmer on low for an additional 10 mins uncovered. Once cooked the grains will retain a slight bite and have a moist creamy texture. Remove your pan from the heat, discarding the bay leaves, chopped mushroom and garlic if you desire before folding through the parsley, salt and pepper. To serve top with a fried egg, the slow roasted tomatoes, zucchini and buttery kale with hazelnuts and for the ultimate indulgence drizzle with any remnant browned butter.
Buttery Kale, Hazelnuts and Brown Butter
3 handfuls of torn kale
1/4 cup of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
80g butter (for vegans skip browning and use coconut oil)
2 tbsp maple syrup
Melt the butter over low heat in a large pan and gently simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until it turns a dark caramel colour. Remove and discard any foam from the top and pour half of the butter into a side dish. Return your pan to low heat and add the maple syrup, kale, hazelnuts and salt, turning to coat. Sauté for 10 to 15 minutes or until the kale becomes dry and crisp. Serve immediately or cool and store for up to a week in an air tight container.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Zucchini
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 zucchini, sliced
Preheat your oven to 150ºC before spreading the tomatoes and zucchini over parchment on an oven tray. Slow roast for 60 to 90 minutes or until crisp and charred. Serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to a week.
Seasonal guide / temperate climate
Tomatoes, early spring through to autumn; zucchini, spring through to late summer; kale. late autumn through to mid spring.
Select grains that look and smell faintly sweet or have no aroma. A musty or oily scent indicates that they have passed their peak. Whole grains also require more careful storage than their refined counterparts since the mostly intact heathy oils can be negatively affected by heat, light and moisture. Store intact rye grain in an air tight container for up to 6 months in the pantry or 1 year in the freezer.
Natural yoghurt, caramelised onions, fresh chives, basil or mint, toasted almonds or walnuts, parmesan