I’ve quite enjoyed the last blast of summer that we were spoilt with at the end of last week, but looking outside now, it definitely feels like Autumn has well and truly arrived.
This is when I start reaching for the porridge for breakfast, soups for lunch and more hearty meals for dinner… although I do have a bit of an addiction to the ‘My Darling Lemon Thyme’ cookbook at the moment which lends itself to lighter dinners that have that summer freshness.
I’ve become much more confident in adapting recipes to suit our tastes and appetites and use them more as a starting point rather than a fixed method that needs to be followed to the letter.
We’re about to start on a whole new food adventure with Seb in the coming weeks. It’s fascinating to see him watching us as we eat and seeing his little mouth start to move in a chewing motion as he copies our own actions. He’s grabbing my bowl of yoghurt and fruit each morning and looks upset when I keep moving it further away. I think that might just be the sign I’ve been waiting for that he’d like his own bowl!
I’ve done a lot of reading around starting babies on their food journey and to me it just totally made sense to lean towards the ‘baby led weaning’ route. Being someone that loves to cook from fresh with seasonal ingredients, to just make extra for Seb and let him try it all out just seems to work to me.
He’s had the chance to do everything in his own time so far whether that’s learning to roll, sitting up or picking up a spoon, so giving him the chance to experiment with food at his own pace seems like the right way to go. I won’t be introducing baby rice or purees (unless they come in the form of something we would eat normally in a smooth texture such as hummus or a dip), but instead starting with avocado slices, carrot batons or sweet potato sticks. No doubt 90% of it will end up on the floor, in his lap or round his face! But food is meant to be fun and getting messy is just part of the fun.
Whilst babies might not eat the traditional meals like we do from the start, I was thinking about breakfasts that might satisfy a hungry tummy. Steering away from the classic porridge with oats, I keep seeing the use of alternative grains being experimented with like quinoa or millet. They are finer grains in texture and I thought millet might be interesting to try (and then hopefully on Seb before too long) and see what all the hype was about.
Millet can be quite creamy like a mashed potato or you can fluff it up like a quinoa. It has lots of nutritional benefits much like oats and is easily digestible. All plus points!
I came across a number of recipes and nearly opted for one that added some pureed pumpkin seeing as it’s obviously in season, but the lure of roasted cinnamon apples won me over. Plus the recipe came from a blog called from ‘Portland to Paris: 1000 Miles which is written by two girls who committed to running 1000 miles over one year. I just liked the sound of them and thought they must know their chickens when it comes to fuelling the body right to get up and go each day.
The millet gives off a sweet nutty aroma as they are toasted before you add any of the milk. And I chose to use almond milk, which is my everyday choice of milk with porridge anyway. The texture is definitely a little different to oats and much more similar to quinoa so it takes a little getting used to. It’s also much looser in its consistency, which I actually really enjoy as I prefer a ‘sloppier’ porridge as I tend to douse it in extra milk anyway.
The almond milk provides a slightly creamy base but without any of the naughtiness of cream and compliments the lovely roasted sweet cinnamon apples. In my opinion you definitely need a decent drizzle of agave nectar, but I think that’s ok when you’re being so good eating such a wholesome breakfast to start your day.
If you fancy trying some new grains, I think this one is definitely worth a go. It’s versatile enough that you could use it in pancakes or as a replacement to quinoa and have it in a savory form with roasted vegetables if you don’t take to it in porridge form.
I’ll definitely be keeping it in my breakfast repertoire going forward.
Millet porridge with roasted cinnamon apples drizzled in agave nectar.
Recipe by Anna Brones and Megan Ponder of From Portland to Paris: 1,000 Miles
Makes two hearty servings
For the porridge:
½ cup millet
2 cups of almond milk (you can substitute this for milk but I think the almond milk adds to the flavor and creaminess)
¼ tsp of sea salt
For the roasted apples:
2 apples peeled
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
For the topping:
Honey / Agave / Maple Syrup – drizzle as desired
To make the roasted apples:
(You can make this ahead of time so that it doesn’t take so long on the morning. I know most people don’t have much time to faff around making breakfast for ages! You can store them the roasted apples in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days)
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Thinly slice your apples or into chunks (you decide) and place them in a bowl and mix them with all the spices. Make sure your apples are evenly coated in the spices.
Spread your apples out on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until they are tender but not mush!
Remove them from the oven and leave to cool. They can now be stored in an airtight container or added straight to the porridge as topping.
To make the millet porridge:
In a saucepan toast the millet over a medium heat for about 3 – 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the millet becomes a golden brown and a nutty smell is released. Add in the milk and salt and let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the millet has absorbed most of the liquid. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to prevent it catching on the bottom of the saucepan. If the millet hasn’t softened enough, add in some extra millet so that it reaches a consistency you are happy with.
Spoon the millet into a bowl and top with your toasted almonds, roast apples and a drizzle of honey.