Spiced winter goji and coconut buckwheat porridge

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As the wintry cold threatens to return and grey mornings creep back in, there is nothing like a warm breakfast bowl to make early starts (and street food has a lot of them) that little bit more bearable. From the first chilly winds of October through to the appearance of the sun round about April, I find it almost impossible to get out of bed without the holy trinity of hot tea, sheepskin boots to brave the cold kitchen floor and a steaming bowl of creamy goodness.

Buckwheat is great to use in porridge because it is quick, filling and has an interesting texture and fruity taste. And oats, although we love them, can get a bit boring. While many people think it is a grain, it is in fact a fruit seed – closely related to rhubarb – and is fully gluten free. It also contains magnesium, copper and zinc as well as all the eight essential amino acids we need from our diet  – and has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn, and a lower GI as well.

A big bowl at breakfast sees me through till lunch and that is not something that happens often. Truly it is our cold-winter-morning friend.

Buckwheat Goji Coconut porridge

This recipe has evolved from a basic one I first discovered last year, and I have played around with lots of different toppings depending on what is in the kitchen cupboard. You can generally whack anything on top and it will taste pretty good, but the combination of goji and coconut – and even a little maca if you have it to hand – is my favourite.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup buckwheat

1 cup water

1.5 cups nut milk

2 cinnamon sticks

5 cardamom pods

A pinch of sea salt

Toppings (as much as you like!):

Goji berries

Chopped soaked almonds

Dried coconut

Honey or maple syrup

Chopped banana

In a saucepan, simmer the buckwheat, water and 1 cup of milk on a medium to low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed and the buckwheat has a creamy texture with a little bite.

Remove the cinnamon sticks, stir in honey or maple syrup if desired, and add the remaining milk and your toppings. In my opinion, the more the merrier.

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