Saturday, 22 October 2011

Autumn Power Porridge in Spring

It's not autumn, well not in Australia at least, but there I was no way that I could wait 6 months til it was autumn here again to try this porridge. After all it has multiple ingredients that speak to me. Pumpkin. Porridge. Pumpkin pie spice. Delicious flavours at any time of year.

Australians love pumpkin. We have it available fresh year round. And we cook it and eat it year round. It's not available here canned, and the idea seems rather odd to us. Pumpkin soup. Roast pumpkin. On pizza. In salads. I make a particularly delicious pumpkin pasta sauce.  But I'd never heard of or thought about Pumpkin Porridge- til now.

It's difficult finding the GI rating for pumpkin. Butternut pumpkin is listed as 51 in my Low GI Diet Shoppers Guide, and pumpkin generally as 66 on GI news, which is a wonderful go to source for GI information.

Porridge made from Uncle Toby's traditional oats seems to have a GI of 58. The range for porridge is quite vast, but essentially for the lowest GI options you should use traditional rolled oats or steel cut oats (these are difficult to find in Australia). The quick cook/microwave sachets are best avoided as they don't taste nearly as good, and they are high GI.

Quinoa is a low GI (51), gluten free superfood. It's become very available in the past few years, and is a common supermarket item now. You don't need to go searching in dusty healthy food shops to find it anymore. It's available in a range of colours, I used the white one today.

Autumn Power Porridge

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tblsp agave syrup
Dried cranberries
Walnut pieces
Milk of your choosing, I've been using oat milk recently, but have just learnt that it is (high) medium GI of 69

Combine oats, quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Cook on stovetop over low to medium heat until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Stir through pumpkin and spices.

Serve in bowls, add cranberries, walnuts, drizzle with agave syrup. Add milk.

Serves 2


I simplified the recipe, just cooking the pumpkin before hand, and then cooking the oats and quinoa together. I adjusted the quantities too, as there was noone else at home this day to help me eat it- well, Mr Adventures refused my generous offer to share.

I was anxious about the quinoa in the porridge. I've only made quinoa into a porridge once before, and it was an Abject Failure. Awful. And there was a tonne of it. I ended up feeding it to the dogs! It was much better here, but I'd probably increase the oats to quinoa ratio for my tastes next time.

You could easily put in more pumpkin, and spices- but then I am rather heavy handed with the spices, I'd already increased the quantity from the original recipe. I used some of the pumpkin pie spice I'd made recently.

To me this recipe is crying out for maple syrup instead of the agave, but somehow I had none in the fridge! This situation can not be allowed to continue.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Something very exciting happened to me a little while ago. I won a book- simply by posting a comment on a blog! Australians never expect this sort of thing to happen to them. And if we were to win, we then wouldn't expect the book to be sent all the way down to the anitpodes. But Heather from Books and Quilts is a very generous person and very soon my prize was in my hot little hands. Heather is so generous that she included a number of other gifts in my parcel too. 

Over 200 smoothie recipes, and me with a new Thermomix!

The book is divided up into the usual sorts of sections
Tropical and Citrus

Of course I want to try things like Strawberry De-Lish Smoothie- basically a mango, a banana, some strawberries and ice. Who wouldn't? Or the Apple and Cinnamon Smoothie. Even the Apricot, Honey and Orange Smoothie. But for my first smoothie from the book I thought I'd push the envelope and delve into the Vegetable chapter. 

There are some recipes in there that are challenging to my mind- such as the Broccoli and Grape Smoothie. I don't know that I'll ever get to trying that one. And the Celery and Kiwi Smoothie will never get made in my house (I am yet to be convinced that celery is a food). I don't have a long history of drinking vegetable juice. I don't like tomato juice, and it was just last month that I was brave enough to try a green juice and a green smoothie for the first time. The green smoothie was delicious (lots of apple juice I suspect).

Delicious sweet potato chips, delicious green smoothie, meh green juice (timid attempt by me, too much celery) at
Field of Greens, Houston, Texas

So emboldened by such green smoothie success, I decided to make the Pumpkin Smoothie. Australians love pumpkin, I even had a wedge in the fridge, so I thought this would be a good place to start. 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

165mL/ 3/4 cup chilled pumpkin puree
165mL/ 3/4 cup chilled milk
110mL/ 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
1 tblsp agave syrup
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients and blend til smooth. 

Made in a rush for dessert, so nighttime and not great lighting

So how was it? It tasted a bit like a slightly pumpkiny egg nog. I quite liked it. Mr Adventures was less keen, but still drank his share. I wonder what I'll try next?

I modified the original recipe a fair bit. I gave it the much better name of Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for a start. That sounds heaps better than Pumpkin Smoothie to me. 

I made my own pumpkin puree (mash). Simply steamed the chopped pumpkin in the microwave, and then mashed it, and chilled it. 

The original recipe used vanilla frozen yoghurt instead of icecream. Rural Australia didn't have any vanilla frozen yoghurt on the day I wanted it, (I'm not sure that we ever do actually) and since there was some icecream in the freezer I used that instead.

The original recipe also included 1 tblsp frozen orange juice concentrate. I'm not sure that frozen juice concentrate is available in Australia, if it was I wouldn't buy it, so I just left it out. 

The original recipe also used 2 tblsp of sugar. As a slight nod at trying to make this low GI I used agave syrup instead of the sugar. I've only recently started using agave syrup- its a very low GI (19) sweetener, made from the agave plant, a type of cactus, in Mexico. As it's sweeter than sugar I decreased the amount in the recipe. 

Pumpkin pie spice isn't all that available here. I just found a recipe on the internet, and made my own. I have quite a bit left over which I'm using up on my morning cereal. If it ever warms up, I might make a batch up pumpkin pie muesli. Oooh, yes, that sounds fab. Pumpkin pie muesli. Homer dribble......

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.