Monday, 23 December 2013

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas porridge in an ancient rice-cooker

As my sister mentioned in her last post - I do own a rice-cooker. It was given to me five or six years ago when I was living in South Korea and it was ancient already when I got it. It has two functions: cook and keep warm. I think. I've actually written COOK with a black marker where I think the Korean text says "cook". Keep warm is what it seems to be doing when it's not on "cook".

Anyways, I threw in the same ingredients as Linn-Sofie used, except of course in Finland you can go to the store and get a bag of rice specifically designated for porridge. I opted for Californian short grain rice which is round, absorbs loads of liquid and fluffs up similarly to the finnish porridge rice (which for all i know might be californian too..). I let the water boil in first (ca 10min) and then poured in the milk and let the cooker do it's thing for another 40min.

What I learned was this:

  • making rice porridge in a rice-cooker really works
  • it takes about the same time as making it on the stove but needs less attention
  • you don't need quite as much liquid, so next time I'm going to make do with 8dl of milk instead of 1L
Be aware of these:
  • d o n' t    c l o s e    t h e    l i d   . Milk boils over really easily.
  • stir it a bit at the end when there's less liquid left
  • if your rice-cooker is ancient it will burn to the bottom of the pan (but if you don't touch the burnt bits underneath the rest of the porridge will taste fine!)

If anyone tries this with a slightly more modern rice-cooker, please post tips below! I will be getting a new cooker at some point so I'll test it out with different types of porridge and let you know how it goes!

written by Charlotte

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas porridge

The traditional Christmas porridge, or rice porridge, is an important part of the christmas time menu in Scandinavia. It is served all through December really, but in our childhood home it was something that our mom made for breakfast on Christmas Eve. It is made from milk, water, round porridge rice and salt and it is served with cinnamon and sugar and an "eye" of butter on top.

Rice porridge or Christmas porridge

2 dl water
2 dl round porridge rice
1 L milk
a pinch of salt
(1 tbsp butter)

To serve:
cinnamon, sugar, butter

1 blanched almond

Bring the water to the boil in a pot, non-stick pots are handy since milk easily sticks to the pan when you cook it for a long time. Add the rice and cook till the water has been absorbed. Add the milk and let simmer under a lid for about 40 minutes. Remember to stir often so it doesn't burn. Also be careful so the porridge doesn't boil over. I recommend staying close to the pot at all times so you notice it immediately if it does.

Season with some salt and finish off with the butter if you want. I used skimmed milk so i added butter at the end to give it a softer, creamier taste.

Now, what do you do with the almond? Before you serve the porridge, you add the almond and mix it in so you don't see it. The person who gets the almond is lucky. There are different traditions as to what the almond means but the generally accepted idea is that the one who gets the almond will be married in the year to follow. Other traditions are that you get to make a wish or that you get an "almond gift" which could be a box of chocolates for example.

Yum! Rice porridge served with cinnamon and sugar and an "eye" of butter on top.

I have heard rumours that you can make rice porridge using a rice cooker but since i don't have the aforementioned equipment i haven't tried it. But Charlotte owns one, even if it is ancient, and she will give it a try and let you know how it works out.

written by Linn-Sofie

Friday, 13 December 2013

Porridge in the dark

A big storm has swept over Finland and left Linn-Sofie without power and a few less trees in her yard (none of them fell on the house!). She's still cooking porridge, though - here's her comment on the matter (her phone still has power):

"After 16 hours without power you feel lucky to have a gas stove - the best thing about it is to still be able to make morning coffee and evening porridge"

Trivia: Did you know that if you don't give regular doses of coffee to Finnish people they wither away in just days.. maybe even hours! I think they can survive slightly longer without porridge...
Porridge in the dark

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Basic Rolled-Oats Porridge

Hi everyone and welcome to the first post on what will be the worlds most amazing porridge blog! We're going to start right off with a super-simple basic porridge recipe. Please comment and help us make this blog as useful and inspiring as possible. Let's go!

(p.s. Mom - rolled oats are just ordinary havregryn, but the one's used in this recipe are bigger than the basic Finnish ones and cook a bit slower)

What you'll need for 2 portions:

2,5 cups of rolled oats
1,5 cups of water
1,5 cups of milk
pinch of salt 

a non-stick pan
something to stir with (like a wooden spoon)

Optional add-ons for taste and decoration

sunflower seeds
pecan nuts
maple syrup
sliced banana
chopped bits of apple 
some more milk

Basic cup measures and a wooden spoon

Put the oats in the pan and add enough water to cover the oats, or a little more. It's not super-exact because you'll be stirring and adding all along - as long as there's enough water so the porridge doesn't burn to the bottom of the pan you'll be fine. You can use a high temperature to bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to bring it down to a simmer. When most of the water has been absorbed, put in some more. I usually use water first and milk towards the end because milk burns or boils over more easily. Add a pinch of salt. I probably wouldn't go for anything less than 1/2 a teaspoon for this amount - porridge without salt must be one of the reasons so many people don't like porridge!

The picture above shows the porridge at an early stage - the oats and the liquid are still quite distinct from each other. When you've used most or all of the water you can start adding milk. How much of each you use is a question of taste - I usually use 2%milk and go half-and half with water and milk. That makes the porridge yummy, not too thin, not too rich. The amount of liquid is also a matter of choice. A bit less makes for more compact porridge, a bit more gives a smoother texture. Keep adding milk and stirring until the texture gets as thick and smooth as you want.

This is the porridge at a late stage - almost done if you like it a bit al dente, so you can still feel the texture of the oats. For this post I only cooked it for about another minute. When the porridge has the texture you want, take it off the stove and let it stand for just a minute or two with the lid on - this makes it just a little bit fuller and thicker.

Add some fruits, seeds and nuts to make the meal more nutritious and interesting.

And some maple syrup and milk to make it luxurious!


written by Charlotte

This is us

The "we" of these posts are Charlotte and Linn-Sofie, two sisters who live thousands of miles apart from each other and used to do everything together. This blog, apart from all the inspiration it can give to millions of current and potential porridge lovers around the world, is a way for us to stay connected to each other.

Our situations are quite different: Charlotte lives in a townhouse in Vancouver trying frantically to finish her master's thesis while being distracted by various other things, and Linn-Sofie lives in a red little cottage with a garden just outside Helsinki, raising a wild, blond little kid and expecting another one.

Our porridge needs differ. Linn-Sofie probably wouldn't put whisky in her porridge, which would make the Scotsman (you'll get that recipe in a bit - just needs a bit of tweaking!), and Charlotte usually doesn't have shelves full of all kinds of fruit mash that result in superhealthy and sometimes surprising combinations that work both for little ones and growner-ups. We'll put our signatures under the recipes we submit so you can follow who's posting.

We are not professional chefs and don't aspire to be. We make lots of mistakes and sometimes burn our food (especially Charlotte). But we can make a good porridge and so can you! We publish our recipes in cups, deciliters, pinches, grams and whatever seems to work, but if you get confused don't hesitate to post comments and ask questions and we'll try our best to answer as quickly as possible!