I love it when Autumn rolls in around my home town. We have bright sunny days, followed by cool snuggly nights. It is my favourite time of year, the weather, the changing of the leaves, the crispness in the air and of course the produce. Autumn produce is incredible and abundant, with so much colour and variety to choose from, including, pumpkins, eggplants, tomatoes, melons, mushrooms, apples, pears, grapes and pomegranate, as well as nuts, quince, the sweet wonder that is fig and zingy bite that comes from freshly dug ginger root.
Recently I brought together my love of warm spices, fresh figs and good old fashioned porridge to make this gorgeous and satisfying bowl of goodness. If you are looking for a sensational tasting, tummy warming, gut healing way to start (or finish) your day, then you can’t go wrong with this little beauty of a dish.
I have always loved ginger, but only recently began to understand just how incredible it is for healing, particularly when reducing the inflammation that comes with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation such as I can suffer. It really is a little wonder for the gut. I am now very fond of putting it in almost everything I consume, from soup to stir fry and teas and toddy’s.
One of my favourite drinks is an almond milk chai latte, rich with freshly ground spices, including ginger. I find this combination of spices and nut milk both satiating and soothing on my body and just love the smell and flavour as it steeps in the saucepan.
It’s no secret I am also a lover of porridge, whether it be made with oats, buckwheat or in this recipe, quinoa. Quinoa is a fantastic little seed, rich with protein, vitamins and minerals. Best of all it is gluten free and comes in all sorts of variations, including steamed and rolled out into flakes, very similar in texture and size to oats. Like oats and buckwheat, quinoa flakes have a fairly neutral flavour, making them a perfect inclusion for many recipes. With this in mind, I decided to bring together my love for chai spices and a good hearty porridge to make this Chai Spiced Quinoa Porridge, now a regular visitor to my breakfast table.
Here’s how it goes;
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup quinoa flakes
- Chai Spice Mix
- 1 star anise
- 3 cardamon pods
- 3 cloves
- ½ teaspoon finely grated or thinly sliced fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- To finish
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 fresh figs, quartered
- 4 teaspoons flaked almonds
- maple syrup to taste
- Using a coffee grinder or similar, grind the star anise, cardamon pods & cloves to powder.
- Using a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, add the spice mix, grated ginger, almond milk, water & vanilla extract & mix until well combined.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, then remove from heat & strain milk mix through a fine sieve into a mug or heat proof jug to remove spice residue.
- Return the strained milk mix to the saucepan & over medium heat, add the quinoa flakes.
- Allow to simmer, stirring constantly until the flakes soak up the liquid & resemble a thick porridge (about 2 to 3 minutes).
- Transfer the porridge to serving bowls.
- Top each serve with ½ cup coconut milk. 1 fresh fig, 2 teaspoons almond flakes & a good swig of maple syrup.
- Serve immediately.
This delicious combination is topped with the fresh richness of coconut milk, which tempers the bite from the spices, along with the seasonal figs that add vibrant colour and intense sweetness particularly when dappled with maple syrup. Add a final crunch from some flaked almonds and what you have is taste, texture and pure, healthy bliss in a bowl.
So there you have it, my version of a gluten, dairy, lactose and refined sugar free Chai Spiced Quinoa Porridge. Free of all those things, yes, but absolutely jam packed and full of flavour for all to enjoy. I hope you like it as much as we do.
Tell me, what is your favourite time of year? What does it mean to you?
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!