My favourite time of the day at Harvey’s Point is chatting to guests in the morning as they enjoy our hearty Irish Breakfast. Quoted by many as ‘the most important meal of the day’, I believe you can judge a hotel by the quality of the breakfast offering. At Harvey’s Point, we pride ourselves on presenting a serious breakfast feast that is also full of fun and variety.
The subject of porridge often comes up in conversation. What is our secret to making the perfect porridge? Cream, no cream? Salt, no salt? Baileys, Irish Mist or Bushmills?
Traditionally, porridge has been viewed throughout history as the dish of the poor and had a reputation for being plain and unexciting. Recently, it has enjoyed a more trendy image for those in search of a healthy and nutritious diet.
To understand why porridge has become so popular, you only need look at the health benefits a regular dose of oats offers. High in fibre and protein, oats have been proven to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Porridge is digested slowly and helps to keep you full for longer, leading to just about every health expert proclaiming it to be the perfect way to start your day.
So what is our secret? I did some research with our kitchen team and these are the top 7 tips that they have revealed:
- Slow. Good porridge needs time, some people soak oats overnight, others cook theirs for hours, regardless of which method you use there is no doubt that really great porridge takes time. We soak ours overnight.
- Use milk. Real traditionalists will tell you the only way to eat porridge is with water and a pinch of salt. Although this is indeed a great version of porridge, most people prefer it made with a 50/50 ratio of water to milk.
- Good oats. Good quality oats are key, the more they have been rolled or worked the faster they will cook and the creamier the porridge will taste.
- Salt / Sugar / Spices. Most recipes are better for a wee pinch of salt & sugar. Personally, I like to sprinkle cinnamon into the porridge mix while cooking. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant with super health benefits.
- Cream. There is no doubt that adding cream to porridge makes for a special treat and it tastes amazing . We limit it to a dash of cream while cooking and then have pouring cream available on the side so as to allow our guests to choose for themselves.
- Be creative. The list of things you can add to porridge is endless, from raisins, fruit and nuts to brown sugar, honey. How about Heston Blumenthal’s snail porridge?
- Stir. I’m not sure if this is for real but Robbie (our kitchen comedian) is adamant that you must stir clockwise as “anti-clockwise will encourage the devil into your breakfast”. Thanks Robbie 🙂
Whatever way we cook or serve it, there is no doubt that having a fulfilling porridge breakfast improves the likelihood of making better eating choices throughout the day. Porridge is the perfect antidote to our pressurized, overly processed lives.
Finally, the most important thing about porridge is that you eat it. Even if it’s instant style porridge cooked in a rush in the microwave, any porridge is better than no porridge at all.
How do you like yours???