Having a cup of tea is not only about the flavour that it imparts, but about the time taken to follow an ancient ritual. I feel it is a treat, a relaxing start to any day, to have the time to sit and enjoy a hot cup before that day begins. If I manage to get out of bed early enough in the morning I relish the pleasure of a cup siting down at the table rather than a mad dash out the door, it seems like civilized start to the day .
Lavender, camomile and mint tea
Mix equal parts of the following
dried lavender flowers
dried chamomile flowers
mint tea (I find spearmint the best)
This tea keeps very well for a few months in an airtight container.
The Scottish tend to claim a monopoly on porridge with their “World Porridge Making Championships” and their salty tales of superstition and evil spirits. Some Scots would have you believe that porridge should be stirred only using the right-hand and in a clockwise direction to ward off bad spirits. I think it is about time we Irish proudly claim its place in our history. Porridge is an ancient food and was the staple food in Ireland until usurped by the potato in the the late sixteenth century. It was used in ancient times as oats grow well in the short wet growing season of northern Europe and were even widely used in early whiskey making.
There are many plus sides to porridge, it is local, healthy and very very cheap. I would nearly go so far as to say it is one of our national treasures. There are so many delicious ways to make it and so many great uses for the oats. My perfect bowl of porridge is made with milk rather than water and left a little runny. It does not have to be eaten plain, a dollop of lemon curd works a treat or some stewed fruit. If you drop a small handful of raisins into the porridge as it cooks they plump up all nice and juicy, sprinkle a little brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon and you have a breakfast fit for a king. When I eat oats for breakfast I notice my energy levels are better and I am not hungry until lunch time.
Soya milk or water can be used instead of milk in the porridge. Water does make a lighter porridge.
You will need: a cup,saucepan, wooden-spoon, hob
1 cup of porridge oats
2 cups of milk
Place both in a saucepan. Stir continuously until the porridge begins to make a plopping noise. Keep stirring slowly for another few minutes, they you are done.
If you are in a hurry in the mornings you can soak the porridge oats in the milk over night. Put them both in a bowl and pop them in the fridge. Your porridge will cook that bit quicker.
1 small spoon of dark brown sugar
1 dash of cream
a small splash of whiskey
a small handful hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
small drizzle of honey
zest of half an orange
Sprinkle the nuts, drizzle with honey and finally add the zest of half an orange
1 large spoonful of fruit compote
a dash of cream