My Brinner at the Porridge Cafe Opening

Last night, I went on an impromptu journo outing to Hackney’s latest hipster creation.

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The Porridge Cafe, brainchild of former IT management consultant Nik Williamson, is the healthy side of London’s booming brinner trend (read: breakfast for dinner).

In true brinner fashion, we were greeted with complimentary asti before sampling five of the cafe’s grain-based dished.

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To start, a parsley, aubergine and caper risotto – not exactly porridge, but warming and light all the same.

I couldn’t really taste the capers and the parsley seemed to add nothing apart from colour, but the dish itself was well balanced and refreshing without being over-seasoned – something surprisingly hard to get right with risotto.

I would’ve happily paid for a full bowl at up to £6.50 a throw.

Next a tomato and chorizo quinoa bowl – possibly the most Hackney dish on the menu.

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Both savouries are available at the swedish-style eatery on Tuesdays 7am to 6pm. This one was definitely not oatmeal – the grain was cooked through but the overall texture shared more common ground with paella than porridge. Highly recommended for anyone who feels compelled to throttle someone when they say the word “brinner”.

The Porridge Cafe, astonishingly, also does actual porridge. Pity, then, that the two dishes presented to us containing oats, that gave their name to the establishment, tasted disappointingly just like porridge.

For all the metjool dates and agave syrup in these pots, they were just that bit too fibrous, too bitter, too healthy-tasting. I’ll pay for good food, but not if the only thing good about it is the moral high-ground.

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The saving grace of the sweet selection was the cherry and white chocolate pot made with rye.

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Chocolate hides all manner of virtues.

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The venue itself was very well executed. Vintage posters from a local retailer added a tiny splash of colour to the otherwise minimalist design inspired by Williamson’s travels to Copenhagen, where he first fell in love with grain courses. “We’re not going for the novelty side of things”, he said. Certainly, the cafe is a lot mellower than many of Shoreditch’s US-inspired eateries.

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This isn’t about novelty, it’s a labour of love for the team at Porridge Cafe. Their only regret of the whole evening was not offering recipes alongside the free bags of rolled-oats.

Incidentally, I have an oaty recipe of my own coming up soon. Watch this space.

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My Brinner at the Porridge Cafe Opening

8 food blogs to follow for Fairtrade month

October marks the start of Fair Trade Month, and the food blogs are going crazy with anything made from something out of the rainforest. Here’s a selection of some of the best established food blogs and sites on the net and what they’re doing to celebrate!

 

1. A Couple Cooks

This writer + photographer couple have made a home for themselves on the net by posting great ideas and stunning images of whole food meals.

Why follow them? Not only is the photography irresistible, they’re having a prize giveaway this month with a load of ethical goodies. If you’re looking for recipes that look like junk-food but aren’t then this is for you. Their chocolate surprise truffles are vegan, raw, gluten and guilt-free.

2. Sprinklebakes

Unapologetic food porn. This site has cookie milkshakes, chocolates, cake, cookie pies and anything else that isn’t savoury.

Why follow them? Heather is one of many food bloggers invited by Befair.com to contribute recipes using ethically-sourced ingredients and tell a fair trade farmer’s story. Her first post tracks the life of coffee grower Basinga Maria and offers up some sinful-looking chocolate cakes.

3. Edible Perspective

Much like A Couple Cooks, Edible Perspective is all about food photography. The food is anything from gluten-free to vegetarian to pig-out snacks.

Why follow them? Ashley’s hot drinks recipes kick off a fair trade October that looks imminently edible.

4. This Week For Dinner

This self help food diary turned blog is perfect for tracking a weekly budget and making sure food is never wasted. It’s ideal for anyone on a budget and with little time on their hands.

Why follow them? Cage-free, fair trade, GMO free. These granola bars have more morals than you.

5. Organic Matters

Not so much a food blog as a lifestyle site, this page tells you everything you need to know about the organic and ethical food trades. The site posts anything from recipe ideas to the latest news on organic farming.

Why follow them? If you’re really into the food industry and have a passion for ethical trading, this site is for you. Their first post this month hits the nail on the head talking about why fair trade month is so important for farmers around the world.

6. Equal Exchange

Much like Organic Matters, Equal Exchange has all you need to prepare for October. Everything from fair trade recipes to info about the industry, the website delivers everything in a style that makes it accessible to foodies who might not know so much about ethical farming.

Why follow them? This post tells you everything you need to know to get involved this month.

7. Jelly Toast

No-nonsense home cooking and comfort food offered up in stunning images. That’s all you need to know about Jelly Toast. Every recipe in this blog is easy to recreate at home and, judging by the photos, are what you’ve been missing your whole life.

Why Follow them? This pumpkin spice mocha. No further explanation needed.

8. Fairtrade.org.uk

No post about the Fair Trade cause would be complete without a tip of the hat to the organisation that started it all. Their #Befair campaign has galvanised some of the biggest names in food blogging to raise awareness of what switching to fair trade produce can do for communities all over the world.

Why Follow them? It’s the flagship of the Fair Trade mission. This blog shows you how you can help, where to buy and opens up a dialogue between donators and the communities they’re helping.

8 food blogs to follow for Fairtrade month