Back in London to the grey and rain after a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam. Have you ever been? I highly recommend you go.
When you do, don’t go for the legalised substances and the liberal attitude to sex, though these are both fascinating culturally to observe. Go for the art, the scenery, the architecture and the fabulous bike rides on roads made for cyclists with a side of cars. I can’t tell you how free it makes you feel to ride a bike everywhere. Bliss! And of course the magical canals with beautiful bridges.
Oh and if you are wondering, yes I did go to the red light district but only at 11am and yes I did see those little windows and no I did not linger. Though I will tell you it made me a little cheerful to see so many shapes and sizes available, demonstrating that most people are not turned on by sticks. I also went into a coffee shop, and though I don’t smoke anything as I have asthma, I liked how civilised it was – like a specialist tea shop, nothing more exciting than that.
Speaking of civilised, the art really was fantastic and one of the paintings, a bucket list viewing for me (just look at the use of light and colour!), actually made me crave a wholesome food I imagined I would find inside that kitchen…
Oatmeal is one of those breakfasts that people either see as slop or comfort – usually dependent on whether it was served at school or by a caring parent on a cold day. Lucky for me, it has always been comfort. Here is my recipe for porridge success:
50g jumbo oats
1 tsp chia seeds
Knob of butter
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
Pinch of cinnamon
The perfect oatmeal takes time, but not much effort! Start by putting 50g of jumbo oats per person in a small saucepan, cover with 100ml water and soak either overnight or while you start your coffee – about 10 minutes for best results
Turn on a medium heat and add 100ml milk, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp chia seeds. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer and stir a lot for a minutes then occasionally, cooking for 10 minutes or as directed on your oats packet.
Turn off the heat and cover, leaving it for a few minutes (I do 5 but I know every minute counts in the morning). This does three marvellous things – the porridge continues to soak up liquid while cooling slightly to stop you burning the top of your mouth off and, most importantly, it magically unsticks from the bottom of the pan (what I am sure is the only real reason any haters hate).
Serve in a bowl with a knob of butter, maple syrup or honey and a pinch of cinnamon. Some people like to add more milk but I think it’s creamy enough.
Voila! Perfect porridge! Not to hot, not a bit cold, not crunchy or too chewy, not to dry or too wet, not too sweet or salty, and with a bit of added chia protein to get your through the (we hope) most productive part of the day!