It's suddenly got pretty cold and nippy in the mornings in my part of the world, so a nice, warming bowl of porridge has been a very welcome addition to the breakfast menu – and a good incentive to get out of bed in the morning!
It's not the traditional way, of course, but I've always used my microwave to cook porridge. I used to buy individual sachets of microwave oats but then I discovered that you could get large bags of superfast oats that were essentially the same raw ingredient, only a lot cheaper. The only downside to cooking porridge in the microwave is that it has a tendency to boil over so you can't just bung it in and go off to do something else while it cooks – you need to watch it. It only takes 3 minutes though! I think the choice of bowl helps too - if you use a deep bowl, rather than a shallow one, it is less likely to boil over.
I've eaten porridge with various toppings over the years but it only occurred to me very recently to try pear and chocolate and now it's one of my favourites. The hazelnuts add a bit of crunch, which is a nice contrast to the creamy porridge.
Super-quick pear and chocolate porridgeServes 1
40g superfast/quick-cook oats
285ml semi-skimmed milk (or other milk of your choice)
1 tbsp dark chocolate chunks
1 small pear, peeled and chopped
10 hazelnuts, chopped (optional)
Put the oats into a deep bowl and pour in the milk. Microwave on High for 2 minutes, stirring halfway (my microwave is 900W – if your microwave is a different wattage, adjust the timings accordingly).
Stir in the pear and cook for a further minute. It's important to watch the porridge closely as it cooks as it can easily boil over – if it looks like it's going to, remove from the microwave and give it a stir, then continue to cook in 15 second bursts. Leave to stand for 1 minute to allow the porridge to thicken.
Stir in the chocolate chunks and hazelnuts, if using. Tuck in!