When I was a young lad, I spent a lot of time on Bequia with my grandmother, my grand-maman or just "Mama". I loved her food, and her breakfast was my favourite meal. Breakfast in Bequia was much different than breakfast in New Jersey. I don't remember eating oatmeal or pancakes. It was customary to have fish for breakfast, a sprat fried whole and served with fried cou-cou, fish broth, or salted cod with bakes or fried breadfruit. But one of my favourite things grand-maman made for breakfast was corn meal porridge.
Cornmeal porridge is an island dish made by boiling coarse cornmeal in water or milk until it thickens into a smooth, creamy texture. My grand-maman flavoured it with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla, often sweetened with condensed milk poured over the top. Sometimes her cornmeal porridge included ingredients like coconut milk, raisins, or grated nutmeg. It was a filling and nourishing breakfast that I enjoyed heartedly.
My grandmother passed away decades ago. I miss the warmth of her smile and her delicious homemade breakfast. After some Google-fu, I decided to make a corn meal porridge. Milk is for children, not adults, and condensed milk has too much sugar for people with type 1 diabetes. My recipe uses almond milk, heavy cream and butter. My original recipe used a different set of ingredients. This new one is simpler and turned out more delicious than that one.
As I mentioned before, when I was a child, my grandmother would make a delicious corn-meal porridge which always warmed my body and soul. She would put a small circle of sweetened condensed milk in the middle and serve it hot on the stove. I felt nostalgic, so I searched for recipes to create my childhood delight.
I am a fan of warm cereals for breakfast, including oatmeal, cream of wheat and corn-meal porridge. When I was a child, my grandmother would make a delicious corn-meal porridge which always warmed my body and soul. She would put a small circle of sweetened condensed milk in the middle. I discovered frumenty, an ancient porridge made from almond milk and bulger wheat while perusing the web pages of History Dollop.
Frumenty is a hot cereal porridge, which was made of wheat or barley cooked in milk (sweet) or broth (savory). Early recipes were plain, but over time spices, sugar and fruits were added. Some of the more decadent variations thickened it with eggs.
The particular frumenty recipe on the web site originated in 1390. My recipe differs from the one on the website in one way. I used an Instant Pot to shorten the cooking time.
Recipe by British Food, An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History, Colin Spencer. Columbia University Press: New York. 2002 (p. 36-41)
1⁄4 cup bulgur or cracked wheat
1⁄2 cup almond milk
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of saffron (optional)
Combine water and half of the almond milk with salt and bulgur in the instant pot.
Set to manual with a cook time of 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add saffron to the remaining 1⁄4 almond milk and steep.
When the bulgur is cooked, release the valve and empty the contents of the instant pot into a bowl.
Add the saffron-infused milk and stir.
Serve as is or garnish with something sweet (e.g. New Jersey cranberries)