I have serious issues with the Scottish weather. This isn’t a new development, far from it, but I was particularly reminded of this over the weekend. At the beginning of March, we had beautiful weather (and in fact at the end of February too, since I managed to end up with a sunburnt nose whilst fieldworking) – granted it wasn’t 25°C let’s-hit-the-beach-in-our-bikinis weather, but it was still warm enough during the day to swap my boots for ballet flats. This is a major thing for me, because I get cold really easily. The weather last week was a bit iffy – mostly sunny during the day, with a few unexpected rain showers in the evenings, but the main issue was the cold wind (and associated occasional horizontal rain). St Andrews is coastal, so it tends to be quite windy anyway, but there were several days where walking down the street felt like you were participating in some sort of wind tunnel experiment. Consequently, not only did I have to switch back to boots, but I spent most of last week sporting what can only be described as a bit of a macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) hairstyle. In case you don’t know, this is what a macaroni penguin looks like (from National Geographic Stock):
I know, I know, it’s a HOT look. Though I didn’t have the yellow-and-black thing going on (how impressive would it be if the wind could do that?!), just the crazy side tufts. And this is coming from somebody whose hair is usually always at least a little bit messy, and accepts it as such. So anyway, despite the macaroni penguin hair, at least it was still mostly sunny. Now I know it can’t be sunny forever, but it’s very nearly officially Spring, and I was quite a fan of this whole it’s-getting-warmer-let’s-pretend-it’s-nearly summer thing. However, the weather clearly had other plans, because the temperatures dropped and it rained the entire weekend. In true Scottish style, we were treated to every possible kind of rain – fat rain, misty drizzly rain, sideways rain, etc. I even got caught in some upwards rain at one point (apparently Scottish weather hasn’t got the hang of gravity yet). Oh and it briefly hailed, too.
This return to wet, wintry weather resulted in a sudden craving to have porridge for breakfast. This happens to tie in rather well with this month’s Breakfast Club, hosted by Taste Space, who has chosen the theme “Whole grains.” I hadn’t really decided what I wanted to do for the challenge yet, but porridge fits the bill perfectly, because guess what? Porridge oats are whole grains, hurrah! I get the impression that “Whole grains” were chosen because they are healthy, and we were probably supposed to come up with a healthy breakfast, which this might have been, if I hadn’t been slightly over-enthusiastic with the quantities of honey and whisky that I added the first time I made this (resulting in a great start to the day!). Oh well. It’s still whole grain-based. And whisky is made from barley, and that’s a whole grain, too… So ya, heather honey and whisky porridge – whole grains all round! Oh and it’s yummy, too – it’s still raining (torrential at the moment) so I made it again for breakfast today (with slightly more sensible quantities of everything, as in the recipe below).
Heather honey & whisky porridge
Adapted from BBC Food
You could use clear honey and spiced rum instead of the heather honey and whisky. Or any other combination of flavours. I suppose the whisky (or rum) is optional, but why wouldn’t you want to add it? I used Glenfarclas 10 year, because I think it tastes a bit like fruitcake, and I decided that was appropriate for breakfast.
40g porridge oats
2 tbsp double cream, plus extra to serve
200ml whole milk
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp whisky
1 tbsp Scottish heather honey
1. Add the oats, cream, milk, sugar and whisky to a small saucepan and simmer over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally (always clockwise if you’re a purist. Before you ask, I have no idea why.) until thickened to your liking.
2. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl, stir in the honey and drizzle a little bit of extra double cream over the top. If you like your porridge really sweet, sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar over the top.
PS – Dear Scottish weather, could you please stop raining now? Thanks ever so much. Yours, etc., M.