zero waste week day 4 – breakfast and meal planning

Filed in Blog by on January 29, 2009 4 Comments
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porrage and fruit - zero waste breakfastToday is a real ‘rushing around’ day. Lunch will be a ‘grab and go’ affair, probably with Mr Green and I very hungry and grouchy (Little miss Green is out again), so I’ll be delving around in the ‘fridge looking for quick things to put together.

Breakfast today was porrage with fruit, yogurt and honey. If you’re wondering why the yogurt looks brown, Little Miss Green asked for ‘flavoured yogurt’; in this house it means with a little fruit concentrate or spread mixed into it 😉

I have found the ultimate, convenient and delicious way to make porrage. Many people don’t like porrage; they don’t like the texture and I’m aware that it can just be like a pile of hardish oats floating around in a basin of milk. But I reckon I could convert anyone to the wonders of porrage with my method.

The other reason people don’t bother with porrage is that it takes too long to make in the morning. When you’ve got the school run to contend with, the dogs to walk, or a boss who will be tapping his foot if you’re a minute late, who has time to stir porrage around until it comes to the boil?

Fear not; my method requires a tiny amount of preparation before you go to bed the previous night. With a bit of forward planning, you can come downstairs to the perfect temperature porrage for breakfast. It’s like having a full time housekeeper, only cheaper.

What you need is a slow cooker. Now don’t switch off if you don’t have one, because I’m going to show you a way around this if you don’t have one. The night before, put in 1 part oats to 1 1/2 – 2 parts water or milk (or a mix – I do part soya milk, part water) into the slow cooker. Attach a timer switch and you want it to ‘cook’ for around 1 1/2 hours in total on the low heat setting. Each machine is different, so it will be trial and error to start with.

Work out what time you want to eat breakfast and set the slow cooker to come on about 3 hours before you want to eat. That gives you 1 1/2 hours cooking time and another 1 1/2 hours ‘resting time’ to thicken up and cool to the perfect temperature.

The porrage gets rich, creamy and delicious by doing the ‘slow cook’ method and all you need to do in the morning is put it in a dish, add your favourite toppings and you’re eating a delicious, nutritious and fast (not to mention zero waste – many brands produce oats in cardboard boxes with no plastic inner) breakfast.

If you don’t have a slow cooker then put the oats and liquid in a saucepan (put the lid on) before you go to bed. That takes the stress out of having to think in the morning! When you get up, the first thing to do – before you have a pee, before you brush your teeth is run downstairs and put the porrage on a very low heat on your hob. Again, each hob / saucepan combination is different, so you might like to experiment on a weekend or day off when you’re not in a rush. But basically, once you get used to how long it takes, you can use your hob just like a slow cooker.

When using your hob, you have more control over the heat, so you can adjust the setting to take 20 minutes to cook the porrage, then you can take the lid off and let it cool and thicken for another 15 minutes. Do whatever works for you within the time constraints you have.

Meals today then – I think Mr Green will eat quiche and salad for lunch and I’ve got some cooked rice and veg in the ‘fridge. I’ll heat that up with some black eye beans. I bought a large sack of potatoes yesterday, so dinner will be jacket potatoes with various toppings from the ‘fridge – there is half a tin of salmon in there, some baked beans and some cheese. Between us we should be able to use most of it up.

What’s on the menu today in your house?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (4)

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  1. Kris says:

    Pork chops, baked potatoes and a big pile of veg 🙂

    The thing I don’t like about porridge is the glutinous texture, so I did a bit of playing the other day and heated some butter and honey with my oats and a splash of water before drying it back out in a baking tray on a low oven heat. I don’t think I’d be so presumptuous as to call the result a flapjack as it wasn’t chewy or very inclined to stay stuck together but it was enjoyable and the sort of thing I could prep for breakfast while the oven is cooling from dinner. I ate it with fresh grapes.

  2. maisie says:

    We have a school meeting tonight so need dinner to be quick but still filling, so we are having jacket potatoes, cheese and baked beans.

    There is still some Apple sponge pudding left from last night so that can be dessert when we get home if needed.

  3. Katy says:

    Hurrah for porridge! I always have it for breakfast, just muesli and extra oats with soya milk, microwaved. No stirring, no fuss. I chuck a few extra nuts and sultanas in, and top with a spoonful of maple syrup. Whole thing = 4 minutes. What takes the time is eating it in tiny bits while it’s hot! Yum 🙂

    I have always fancied the slow cook method, but as my slow cooker is an old one where the pot bit doesn’t come out for easy washing, using it daily is more faff than it’s worth 🙁

    For lunch I have a big salad with loads of different raw veggies and some chick peas, and a home made oat bar, and for dinner tonight it’s a made up stroganoffy thing to use up some turkey breast, mushrooms, butternut squash and yogurt that are all lurking in the fridge.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Mmmm, some yummy meals being prepared. It’s amazing what you can do that produces little waste AND is quick and simple. I loved hearing all your ideas – thank you!

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