Apricot & Almond Porridge

This is mine & Ollie’s standard winter breakfast. I make it gluten & dairy free but you can use normal milk & oats.

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 80g (gluten free) oats
  • 300ml water/coconut milk/normal milk
  • 8 dried apricots chopped up
  • Half a tsp of cinnamon
  • 20g flaked almonds
  • Honey for drizzling on top
  • 2tbsp Milled linseeds (optional)


1. Place the oats and milk or water in a  saucepan over a medium heat. 

2. Add a tiny pinch of salt, plus the apricots & cinnamon and stir with a wooden spoon. 

3. Bring to a steady simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often if you want a smooth porridge. I prefer the oats to keep their shape so I don’t over stir. If you like your porridge runnier, add more milk.

4. Serve in a bowl with flaked almonds sprinkled on top & a drizzle of honey. 

5. For a bit of a health kick I add a spoonful of milled linseeds sprinkled on top. Great for a sluggish digestive system. Linseeds can be expensive but I found some in Aldi (not the first time I’ve mentioned this shop!) & they are mixed with sunflower seeds & goji berries. At £1.99 they are a complete bargain & as good as any I’ve bought at three times the price: 

There should be a picture of my bowl of porridge this morning, but as I ate it standing up while desperately urging (ie: shouting) at the kids to put their coats on, there really wasn’t time! 

It is very rare that I actually get breakfast eaten before I leave for the school run. How other parents do it amazes me. What usually happens is that Ollie & I walk slowly home together after the mad dash, & I make us a pot of Lady Grey tea (he doesn’t get much say in this), and a pan of porridge. Much more relaxing doing it this way than eating on the hoof before we’ve left the house, although after school Ollie is usually cracking the whip on what is to be our next Lego challenge. No rest for the wicked. 

Banana Cake

Today is Daisy’s half birthday. Seven and a half exactly. Somehow she’s worked it so that we celebrate it every year! The only person in the family to get this special treatment. Last year she even told her teacher who mis-heard & thought it was her actual birthday, so she spent the day wearing the class birthday hat & was sung to in assembly.  Really the half-birthday rule is that you get a nice cake for tea & that’s about it. Quite a nice thing for a cold January day. 

This year Ollie & I decided to make a banana cake on account of the bunch of bananas going over-ripe in the fruit bowl. We used this recipe of Jamie Oliver’s which uses no sugar, but a bit of honey. As we’d run out of honey I gave Agave a go. It’s a light syrup from the agave plant which apparently is healthier than sugar because it’s low GI. It tasted fine so I’ll use it again. 


  • olive oil

  • 250 g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 3 ripe bananas

  • 2 tablespoons fresh apple juice

  • 125 g unsalted butter

  • 2 large free-range eggs

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons runny honey

  • Optional:

  • 50 g pecans (I used walnuts)


    1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. 

    2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 1-litre loaf tin with olive oil. 

    3. Dust the sides of the tin lightly with flour, then tap to get rid of any excess. 

    4. Peel and add the bananas to a mixing bowl. 

    5. Using a fork, mash the bananas so you’ve got a mixture of smooth and chunky, then put aside. 

    6. Add the apple juice and stir to combine. 

    7. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until creamy. 

    8. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well before adding the next. 

    9. Fold in the flour, cinnamon, honey and banana mixture, taking care not to over mix. 

    10. Roughly chop the pecans on a chopping board, if using, then fold through the mixture. 

    11. Spoon into the loaf tin, then bake in the hot oven for around 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked. 

    My experience: the cake went brown on the outside some time before it was cooked on the inside even though I’d put it in at 10degrees lower, so it came out looking pretty dark. I’m reluctant to say burnt because it didn’t taste burnt & went down pretty well with everyone. 

    Shortly after eating it the children came down dressed like this. A funny end to a nice evening with friends (Kerry, Lucas & Isla), but definitely time for bed…..

  • Hot Chocolate & Charlie Hebdo

    We battled the wind & rain this evening to meet Tom at the Forum for a gathering to remember those who had died in the Charlie Hebdo killings. We were drenched by the time we arrived, but the kids were in good spirits about being out when they should be getting ready for bed!

    Hot chocolates warmed them up & soon lots of people had gathered outside. Even though it was raining, Daisy helped to try & light candles that were laid out to spell CHARLIE.

    Clementine, who organised the gathering, spoke & we had a minute’s silence. The children were well-behaved, although Ollie looks slightly mischievous in this pic!