Winter Warmer Apple, Date & Almond Porridge

It’s blooming freezing outside but joy of joys it’s been snowing. So before heading out into the winter wonderland a warming, hearty breakfast is a must.

This porridge is a triumph. Apple cubes partner perfectly with earthy, warming cinnamon. And all topped off with chopped nuts and deep amber maple syrup. Heaven.

This will have you warmed through and ready to face the chilliest of days.

Winter Warmer Porridge

Serves 2


  • A big cup of porridge oats
  • Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 6-8 dates, chopped
  • A big handful of almonds, chopped
  • Maple syrup


  • Pop your oats into a pan and pour over enough milk to cover them. Cook over a medium heat, stirring every now and then. Add more milk if it’s getting too thick.
  • Meanwhile chop your apple and pop them, along with the dates, into the pan so that they warm through with the porridge.
  • Once everything is nicely cooked, pour or dollop into bowls, sprinkle with the chopped nuts and drizzle with maple syrup.
  • Feel the warmth radiate.

Simple Summer Smoothie

Simple Summer Smoothie

I won’t take the credit for this, my youngest came up with this last Saturday afternoon. You know that time of day when you’re getting a bit peckish after breakfast but it’s not yet reasonable to eat lunch? That’s when we made this.

I love it when the kids take charge of a recipe, they can come up with some fantastic flavour combos. Although there have been times when I’ve had to step in – no I don’t think I want maple syrup on my spaghetti! Thanks for that one Elf.

There is no need for any fruit chopping here so this really is ideal for kids of any age to make all by themselves. Just make sure they’ve secured the lid on the blender properly before they switch it on.

This smoothie is light and refreshing, which makes it an ideal summer refreshment. If you don’t have / like coconut milk you could try apple juice instead.

Simple Summer Smoothie

Recipe, serves 4


  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled
  • 1 orange, peeled and broken into segments
  • A handful of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • About 4 strawberries
  • 250ml coconut milk


  • Just pop all of your ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth.
  • Slurp straight away through your favourite straw.

Simple Home Made Granola

Once you make your own granola you can never go back to shop bought, and if  you do you will smugly note that it is not a patch on the batch you made yourself.

This nutty, seedy, crunchy delight is so simple to throw together.  It’s just a case of mixing a load of gorgeous healthy things together and popping it in the oven for a bit.

The only downside, and this is just me being lazy, is that you should really stir the granola while it’s baking every 5 minutes or so.  This is worth doing as you get a nice even bake.  If you don’t, you might end up with some of the nuts and seeds at the edges being a bit over cooked and tasting a bit burnt.

If you’ve ever made granola before you might notice that my version has less oil, sugar or sweeteners than a lot of recipes out there.  You only need a couple of tablespoons of oil and no sugar just maple syrup.  So go ahead and enjoy this breakfast treat and feel saintly.

Simple Home MAde Granola


Makes 10 – 12 servings

  • 250g oats
  • 150g almonds (or nuts that you love)
  • 40g pumpkin seeds
  • 40g sunflower seeds
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • A couple of handfuls of dried fruits, such as cranberries, chopped dried apricots, anything you like


  • Heat your oven to 150 C / 130 C fan / gas 2.
  • Weigh out and mix together all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl before pouring in the syrup, oil, vanilla and lemon zest.
  • Give everything a great big stir then tip onto 1 or 2 baking trays (preferably lined with baking parchment).
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, remembering to give it a wee stir every 5 minutes.
  • Now stir in the coconut and bake for a final 10 minutes.
  • Remove your golden granola from the oven and if you fancy add some dried fruits. 
  • Leave to cool then store in an airtight jar or container.


My favourite way to eat this is with thick Greek yoghurt and some fresh fruit.  Try chopped mango, banana or fresh berries. 

At other times I like  it with a dollop of yoghurt and a generous helping of plum compote or apple sauce.

I’ve even had this just with grated apple and chopped dates.  Your choices are endless, but always delicious.