In the mornings we start our day with bowls of steaming porridge. Coconut for Mummy, banana for the baby and honey for my eldest. Then we close the gate behind us and walk up the hill to school. After a kiss goodbye, I turn and make my way home and the Northumberland countryside opens out beneath me as I head down the hill.
Come rain or shine, this view is intoxicating. Wide open spaces, emerald greens, glistening and smouldering for miles, open skies and puffs of white sheep dotted lazily across the fields. Old walls line the winding road. As I run my fingers along the weathered cracks, the stones hum with history, with stories of lives lived long before our own.
As I approach the front door, our wrought iron gate creaks on its hinges and I glance up to the old stones, inscribed 1796. Good morning to you old stones, I think to myself. Another morning, in the long list of mornings that you have borne witness to over the centuries. And one that I won’t take for granted, I promise.
Our Labrador, Lola, bounds over to greet me and we cross the road together. The baby coos and giggles on my back as we head towards the country footpath that will lead us to the stream and into the woods.
The palomino pony in the field lifts his head lazily to greet us. The air is still. There is silence, save for the birds and the baby. We pause at the heavy wooden gate and he trundles over – slowly and swaying steadily. I rub his nose and feel the comforting warmth of his breath against my hand.
What a beautiful boy you are, I say.
COCONUT OATMEAL PORRIDGE
How To Hygge by Signe Johansen (London Porridge Champion)
100g pinhead oatmeal
150ml coconut water
150ml coconut milk
75ml coconut cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla salt (if you have it)
Start by soaking the oatmeal in the coconut water the night before you want to make the porridge. This helps the grains soften and swell making a much creamier porridge the next day.
In the morning, place the coconut milk and coconut cream in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and add the soaked oatmeal. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. If the porridge gets too thick, just add a little more of the coconut water or coconut milk. Add the vanilla salt and keep stirring. Allow the salt melt completely, so don’t rush.
Once the porridge is cooked to the consistency of your liking, remove the pan from the heat and let the porridge settle for a minute. Pour into two bowls and top with fresh berries.
How to Hygge: The Secrets of Nordic Living by Signe Johansen (2016)
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