Anyone else living in Melbourne (or worse, Ballarat), knows what I’m talking about when I say hurry up Spring! It would seem that Winter has taken Spring hostage just to torture us. We can see some signs of it; the blossom on the trees, the bulbs flowering and the hayfever coming on. But where is the sun?! I’m starting to feel rather vitamin D deficient. See that hand holding the jug in the photo below? That’s me, white as a ghost! I asked Soph to photoshop me a tan but she wasn’t obliging.
There’s a certain feeling that I get in Spring. There’s been one or two days so far that I’ve had a flash of it when the sun has done it’s best to come out. It’s like an amuse-bouche to tantalise the senses before the main course that is Summer. It gets me excited for barbeques, the beach and afternoon beers in the sun.
Winter isn’t all bad, it just shouldn’t overstay its welcome. I’ve certainly enjoyed the season of the slow-cooker, mulled wine and sitting in front of the fireplace. I love the hearty nature of winter foods, all with the purpose of warming your belly. I’ve found myself resorting to using food to warm me on the outside at times as well. There’s nothing better than a cup of coffee in your hands or two Four n’ Twenty pies in the coat pockets at the footy to keep you warm.
I think a warm breakfast is the best way to start the day in Winter and one of my faves is porridge. Thinking about having my Quinoa and Oat Porridge with Poached Fruits on a Winter Sunday morning, sitting in front of the fire with a coffee, makes me forgive Winter for sticking around for longer this year. But still, come on Spring!
Quinoa and Oat Porridge with Poached Fruits
- 4 pears, peeled
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- 1 vanilla pod, halved and beans scraped out
- 2 cups dried fruit, cut into large chunks (I used peaches, figs and prunes)
- 2 pieces lemon peel
- About 1 litre water (to almost cover the pears, about 1cm from the top)
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 3/4 cup oats
- 3 cups milk (I used coconut milk for extra flavour)
Place the pears, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla pod and beans, dried fruit, lemon peel and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until the pears are tender. Take out the pears and then boil the syrup until it reduces down into a maple syrup-like consistency. Take out the cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla pod and lemon peels before serving.
To make the porridge, place the quinoa, oats and milk in a small/medium saucepan and combine. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked/soft. If it starts getting a bit dry, just add in some extra milk.
Serve the porridge topped with a poached pear, poached fruits and syrup. Enjoy!