The cold weather is just setting in, the first fire of the season has been lit and the winter woolies are out.
Time to bunker down and get ready for winter with a cup of hot choc, a good book and some serious winter comfort food.
Winter is the perfect time to get out the simmer pot and those time-favoured soup recipes but what I have really been craving lately is a warming breakfast and for this, you really can’t go past a steaming bowl of porridge. As much as I love oats, I have also been playing around with using quinoa to shake things up a little. Not only is quinoa high in protein and fibre, it’s also gluten free, so everyone can enjoy this warming porridge. I always recommend using the whole quinoa rather than the flakes which can be a little strong tasting. The trick is to cook the quinoa for longer and with more liquid than you usually would, so that it goes soft and creamy. This combination really hits the spot with the vanilla, quinoa and coconut making it almost reminiscent of the childhood favourite, vanilla rice pudding.
Now is also the perfect time to get your hands on some beautiful local pears as they are in their peak season. If you have never poached pears before, here is a great place to begin. Many recipes call for a heavy sugar poaching syrup but the fruit is actually so sweet already, all you really need is a touch of honey and some warming spices to get things looking good. You can also simmer these spices with some water, milk and a few teaspoons of black or rooibos tea for a pot of homemade chai.
- 4 small pears, peeled, cored and halved
- 2 cups water
- 1 heaped tbsp. honey
- ½ vanilla bean
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 6 cardamom pods
- 8 cloves
- 1 slice fresh ginger
- ¾ cups quinoa, rinsed
- 2 ¼ cups ready to drink coconut milk (or any milk of choice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp shredded coconut
- 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
- Place water and spices in a medium saucepan, slowly bring to the boil. Add the honey and pears, ensuring pears are mostly covered by the poaching liquid.
- Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until pears are tender.
- Place the quinoa, milk and coconut in a saucepan over medium high heat, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is soft and starting to look creamy. You may add more milk at this point to get to a creamier consistency. Add a little honey to sweeten.