Apparently, as the weather has turned colder, I have out of sheer coincidence joined an increasing number of young people aged between 16 – 24 who enjoy porridge. Most mornings I’ve been devouring 2 minute microwave porridge which consistently comforts, disgusts, and nourishes me with its bland, slimy warmth. If I have time, though, I like to do it semi-properly, stirring the gently bubbling mixture in a pot for about 10 minutes. There’s no spurtle involved for me, but there are often ridiculous additions that go far beyond the simplicity of water and salt. I’m sorry. (Not really.)

This is fancy porridge, the sort you make for lazy brunch. It might seem like a faff to toast the oats beforehand, but try it: it does make a notable difference with or without toppings, but especially in this recipe. Rather than just being a bland background, the warm, toasty oats really complement the luxuriously melting dark chocolate and fragrant pear.

This recipe makes 1 serving porridge and is the result of my bunging extra things into Felicity Cloakes’ perfect porridge recipe.

Here are some further suggestions for how to top your porridge, some of which manage to be nominally healthy. All are delicious.



Grilled figs with honey.

Stewed apples with mixed spice, 1 apple per serving.

Spiced blood orange confit

Rhubarb, lemon, and ginger jam or a spoonful or two of any fruit preserve you like.


Sweet and rich stuff:

As much maple syrup as you want, cinnamon, a few toasted pecans.

Rich, creamy strained yoghurt (e.g. Greek yoghurt) or single cream and your favourite honey.

Salted caramel sauce – again, as much as you want.

Leftover chunks of banana bread.


Tell us know your favourite porridge toppings!

Recipe: Pear & Chocolate Porridge


  • . 1 ripe pear, any kind you like
  • . 1 – 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • . Juice squeezed from ¼ lemon
  • . Dash of cinnamon, plus more to serve
  • . 50g (about 4 heaped tablespoons) porridge oats, preferably jumbo
  • . 150ml water
  • . 150ml milk
  • . Pinch of salt
  • . About 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • . More sugar, honey, and milk to taste.


  1. Peel, core, and roughly chop the pear. Place the fruit in a small saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer on a medium heat, turning the heat down so it gently bubbles away. Cook for a few minutes, stirring gently, until the mixture is particularly soft, juicy and fragrant. Turn off the heat but leave the pan in a warm spot while you do the porridge. You can of course co-ordinate the tasks as you please: the fruit can be made in advance and re-heated.
  3. Put the porridge oats in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Watch carefully. Once there’s a warm, welcoming scent coming from the pan, turn the heat a notch lower and continue to toast the oats until deeply roasty-smelling and perhaps light golden brown in places.
  4. Transfer the oats to a small saucepan and add the water and milk. Gradually bring to the boil on a medium-high heat. Keep an eye on this – porridge can boil over in a flash. Lower the heat slightly and stir the simmering mixture for 5 minutes. Add the pinch of salt and stir well. The mixture should be thickening up wonderfully. You can continue to cook for about another 5 minutes, or until it’s as thick as you like.
  5. Cover the pot tightly and leave to sit in a warm spot for 5 minutes. The flavour and texture will develop during this time. Also, the porridge will be the perfect temperature to eat, gently melting the chocolate chips.
  6. To serve: spoon porridge into medium bowls, add chocolate chips and stewed pears, plus more cinnamon if you like. At the table, sweeten to taste with sugar or honey, and add cold milk as desired.

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