Pimp up your porridge I – the youth serum

I thought of making a short series of fast and tasty breakfasts that are packed with nutrients. You see, Finland is THE country when it comes to porridge love. No, I can’t tell any statistics here, but I bet that puuro, as it is called here, is actually the most commonly eaten breakfast in this part of the world. And yes, it’s very healthy and yes, it is hated by many as they were forced to eat it as kids.  But believe me, you just need to spice it up with some seasonal additions to actually like or WHOA, even love it (and add even more nutritional value to your meal). In many countries porridge is simply called oatmeal, and as the name says it’s made of oats. Here though, an addition of rye is very common, that’s why I’ll be talking always about porridge on my blog. No matter if you just eat oats, or just rye or combination of those two or any other grains, porridge is one of the superfoods to bring you health and wellbeing.

To pimp up your porridge you really don’t need much, a handful of seasonal fruits plus a complementing spice is already plentiful. Here I combined cherries with cinnamon – those two fit so well together! Do you know that cherries are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and can even assist in regulating the blood pressure, not to say how darn tasty they actually are. Cherries have hit the list of so called superfoods and they are so valuable that a glass of cherry juice is said to be equivalent of 23 fruit portions! So, eat cherries and make your momma proud 😉

You thought I would stop there? Ah, life with me isn’t that easy 😉 To boost the antioxidant levels even more, I added several spoons of Goji berries. Have you heard of those yet? They are the new craze among the superfoods fans. I’m quite sceptical to call them wonder berries, yet  no one can deny they are tasty and full of “youth chemistry” we are so much for in this porridge. Oh, and did I already mention that even cinnamon is  plentiful in antioxidants and antimicrobial agents? Yes, search no more for the youth serum, just pimp up your regular porridge 😉

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INGREDIENTS

rye and oat porridge

milk

2 handfuls of cherries, halved and pitted

4 tbsp goji berries

1 tbsp cinnamon

1-2 tbsp demerara sugar

pinch of salt

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Prepare your porridge on milk (a portion for 2), add cinnamon, salt and sugar and slowly simmer till ready. Just before taking it off the heat, throw Goji berries and cherries in.

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Kolyadki

I really like to read stories about food, various habits and different cultures’ cuisines. That’s why I’m really glad that on the food forum I often visit, we have a custom of so called theme weeks. The theme can be whatever – it can be a cuisine of a given country, some particular ingredient or even a … color. Doesn’t really matter, the point is to have fun and cook something together. Last week we were having a Russian cuisine festival. Since I was pretty busy, I decided to go for something easy yet with a history. That’s how I came up to this recipe. The pastries are called kolyadki and they are baked for the ceremony called likewise. The festivity includes wishing of wealth and happiness for everybody.

The practice comes from pagan times, but as many others it has adapted well into Christian celebrations. On Christmas Eve groups of young people travel across the villages and sing songs called kolyadki. Some of those are about general well being while others are sung for baby Jesus. Before Christianity has arrived, those songs were homages to ancient solar goddess Kolyada, who according to tales, was responsible for bringing the lengthening days of sunlight. People usually wear costumes that impersonate them to manger animals. As a reward, they get money and food from inhabitants.  Those pastries here, are traditionally baked for them.

So do you still wonder why I just HAD TO bake them? I find the story pretty enchanting and for me making the food is not only about tastes but also about experiencing customs – I just love when the food I’m eating has actually some story to tell. I have found the recipe here. It seems like they can have many various fillings – I have chosen the easiest one – just berries (plus a bit of potato flour to absorb the liquid) sprinkled with sugar.

The pastries are really simple. They may not be fit for everyone’s taste, particularly when one is not keen on rye. Definitely though, I believe that those are one of the very few pastries that you can  eat without any guilt while you’re dieting 😉 . Packed with fiber and antioxidants, they also are basically without fat. Myself, I prefer when they are warm, served with a dollop of yogurt.  I also think that the dough should be actually rolled thin – I’ve just patted it with my hands.