I am trying to ensure that my Small Boy – now nine years old and unsure how much longer I can get away with the affectionate diminutive moniker – gets at least all five of his five a day during the Spring Term holidays, as even for a seasoned food writer, these things can fall by the wayside in the excitement of a change of routine. As a self employed mum, my childcare arrangements in the holidays are slapdash at best, and I usually find myself squeezing in hours before breakfast and after bedtime, so as not to neglect my childs emotional health and wellbeing for the sake of a deadline. Luckily for me, I’ve signed off on the edits of Tin Can Cook, delivered the first draft of the manuscript of the vegan cookbook due to be published in December, and am gently piecing together the next project, which can be done piecemeal around walks in the woods, rollercoasters, playdates, and the endless housework generated by us being at home more than usual. It also means we – Small Boy and I – get to spend more time together in the kitchen, where I can learn a little more about this weeks changing tastebuds, and he can hopefully pick up a few lifelong culinary skills, and we can make some memories together.
Wednesdays are Fruit And Veg Days, the day the shopping is done to carry us through this week and into next, and so in the morning, I round up the sad and straggly fruits and vegetables from the previous week, and sometimes, the week before that too – I’m looking at you, kohlrabi, still lingering on the top shelf in all your purple glory. And I attempt to use them up before starting on the fresh stuff. This morning there was a pair of pears, two bananas, some carrots still in fairly good nick and a large sweet potato, and that kohlrabi I still don’t know what to do with. I turned the bananas into granola (I’ll pop the recipe up soon) and the pears into this warm, sweet, porridge that has kept both of us so full this morning, neither of us fancied lunch until five hours later. You can substitute the pears for any fruit you like or happen to have in.
Served two, generously, for 18p each.
160g pears, fresh, or tinned and drained, 18p (59p/500g)
60g dried sultanas, 11p (95p/500g)
100g porridge oats, 8p (75p/1kg) – to make gluten-free, use gluten-free oats – check the packaging to be sure
½ tsp ground cinnamon or ginger, <1p (65p/100g)
First dice your pears, discarding the small tough centre piece where the pips are contained, and the stalk and very bottom, but keeping waste to a minimum. Pop them in a medium saucepan and cover with 250ml water. If you have children who, like mine, are fussy about ‘bits’ of fruit in their food, you can blend the pear and water together to make a smoothie texture, and use this instead. Bring the water to the boil, and reduce to a simmer, for 10 minutes, until the pears have completely softened. Mash gently with a fork and mix well.
Add the oats, sultanas and cinnamon, and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring every now and then to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. You may need to add a splash more water, depending on how thick you like your porridge, or how absorbent your oats – it is not an exact science!
Serve with a splash of milk in each bowl, and enjoy warm.
All text copyright Jack Monroe.
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