“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Porridge „
** Why eat rice and buckwheat porridge? **
I love porridge - must be the Scottish background - but I haven't been able to eat it for a few years now because I have an aversion to oats. The last few times I've eaten them I've been quite ill and I don't fancy giving them a try again just in case.
On top of that, I'm allergic to certain grains, such as barley and rye, and so I found it really difficult until recently to get tasty and satisfying breakfast food - especially in the winter, when you really want a bowl of something hot, steaming and comforting before work.
I buy lot of rice flakes from health food shops but find that I just can't get the same consistency as porridge - my rice flakes tend to separate and can taste quite dry even when they've been boiled in hot milk.
Both Tesco's and Sainsbury's have expanded their 'free-from' ranges for allergy sufferers over the past couple of years, and I've also seen similar products in Somerfield, which is great for me! Sainsbury's 'Free From Golden Porridge', which is made from rice and buckwheat, has been the best product from the range that I've tried so far.
** Packaging **
The product comes in a fairly strong, transparent plastic packet, with two large labels. It is resealable and doesn't split easily, which is useful.
** Nutritional information **
The porrridge is made of rice flakes and buckwheat flakes. They're ground a little smaller than the rice flakes I normally buy, which means they absorb liquid a lot better.
A 50g portion made with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk contains 300 calories, 12.2g of protein, 53.1g of carbohydrates, 4.4g of fat, 0.7g of fibre and 0.64g of salt.
It's gluten, wheat and dairy-free, but it isn't suitable for people who are allergic to nuts, peanuts, sesame or soya, due to the way it's manufactured.
** Preparation **
This porridge can be made with either water or milk. It's really simple to prepare: you need to mix 50g of flakes and 250ml of water or milk. It can either be microwaved for 3 minutes, or brought to the boil on the hob then simmered for 3 to 4 minutes. You don't need to stir it continually, and it hardly ever catches on the bottom of the pan, but it does need stiring every minute or so. If left to stand after cooking the mixture will thicken up a little.
I'll admit I'm a bit lazy and often just chuck a handful into a pan, add what looks like the right amount of liquid, and cook it. So far it's turned out perfect every time.
You're not supposed to reheat the porridge once it's cooked - probably because it contains rice, which can apparently lead to an upset stomach if not cooled after cooking and reheated properly.
** What's it taste like? **
This is the closest I've come to oat-free porridge heaven! It's rich, thick and comforting, not too gluey or sticky (so the pan/bowl is easy to clean) and has a certain bite to it, which I think is from the little pieces of buckwheat. It's just as filling as real porridge and, best of all, easy on the stomach. I find I hardly notice the differnce when I make it with water instead of milk. I wouldn't eat it completely on its its own - like most cereals, it's pretty bland, but a dessert spoonful of honey or maple syrup swirled through it is all it needs. The honey/syrup melts and trickles through the mixture - mmmmm!
Raisins and flaked almonds are also a delicious compliment to this porridge. Sliced banana or apple works too, as does jam. Very mushy fruit e.g. ripe pear doesn't go to well with the strong texture of the poridge though - I discovered this this morning! Adding some fruit or nuts is a good idea though, because the porridge is lower in fibre than the oat-based equivalent.
Of course, if you want to be really Scottish about it, you can eat the porridge with salt on, but that's one taste I haven't inherited from my Glaswegian relatives, so I can't say what the savoury version tastes like!
** Price **
£2.99 for 500g (i.e. 10 average servings, which would last me for 2 weeks' worth of weekday breakfasts).
** Conclusion **
Well worth the extra price for a delicious, comforting, gluten and oat-free winter breakfast.