On these chilly mornings, porridge is one of the best ways to start your day. It warms you up, is high in fibre and low in sodium, and as a slow-burning carbohydrate will keep you going till lunch time.
Everyone has their own version of porridge – I do mine with half a small cup of porridge oats and a whole cup of milk per person. You really don't need a lot of oats to make a portion of porridge. Some people prefer to make it with half milk, half water, so just experiment until you get the combination you like.
Place in a saucepan under a very low heat and cook for up to five minutes - you'll know it's done when the mixture has thickened and the porridge pulls away from the side of the pan when you tip it. Serve with a little honey or golden syrup. You can also add bananas, blueberries or nuts to make it more nutritious. If you're adding blueberries, stir them in for the last 30 seconds of cooking – not too long or they will burst and your porridge will go an unappetising grey colour.
On the face of it, porridge, should be a brilliantly nutritious breakfast for kids. But I have been struggling to get my lot to have any – they claim the lumps put them off. So we were recently excited to try out Paw Ridge, a new smooth porridge for kids from Quaker Oats. Would it pass the taste test of my discerning family?
The first thing that's different about this product is the packaging. Normally, porridge oats are sold in terminally dull plastic sacks. No wonder children are more attracted to the likes of the Snap Crackle Pop characters.
As you can see, the Paw Ridge pack is designed to appeal to children, with cartoon characters and bright design. This links in to an interactive, animated online world which children can access at the Paw Ridge website. My daughter seized the box and noticed another crucial factor: "Brilliant! No lumps!".
The other thing that was different was that it comes in ready made sachets, which you add milk to and cook in just 90 seconds in the microwave. Much quicker than the old fashioned method and no saucepan to wash up.
Children can be very tough critics, but this was one successful taste test, as proved by the empty bowls when they'd finished. The liked it, they ate it and they asked for more. They've never done that with my porridge.
This breakfast promises no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. My only quibble is that the honey variety seems very sweet – it's only 87.7 oats, and add my usual teaspoon of honey to that.
Paw Ridge from Quaker Oats is widely available in supermarkets now, retailing around £1.99 per box of eight sachets.