As we edge our way into spring with lighter mornings and warmer temperatures (the latter I’m still holding out for!) it’s a nice time to switch out porridge for something different.
I’ve taken inspiration from Swiss Bircher (a breakfast dish of soaked oats, apple and nuts) to make a springtime version with rhubarb. It’s full of fibre-rich ingredients which are great for steadying energy levels and feeding your gut microbes. One serving provides 10 grams of fibre - a third of the recommended daily intake.
The rhubarb available in early spring is ‘forced’, meaning it’s grown indoors in warm dark conditions, and harvested by candlelight! This results in bright pink stems which are softer and sweeter than the rhubarb grown outdoors and harvested later in the year. Roasting the rhubarb helps keep its shape and you can do this when you have the oven on cooking dinner to make the most of the heat.
Tip: If you’ve found this recipe after late March / early April and the forced rhubarb season is over, look for a rhubarb compote as a replacement. Grate in some orange zest and then skip to step two.
makes four servings
2 tbsp honey
Zest and juice of one orange - use a Microplane grater or the side of a standard grater with the smallest holes to get a fine zest
For the oats
160g old-fashioned rolled oats
5 tbsp mixed seeds such as pumpkin, poppyseed, sunflower, chia
Juice and zest of one orange, use the fine grater as before
200g kefir (or live yoghurt)
150ml ginger tea (or another fruit tea like rhubarb or strawberry)
1 tbsp honey
For the topping
30g skin on almonds
40g shelled pistachios
MethodTip: Steps 1 and 2 can be completed in advance when you have the oven on. Then prepare the bircher the night before you want to eat it.
Rinse the rhubarb stems, pat dry and trim the ends. Cut into diagonal pieces around a thumb length long. Pop onto a lined baking tray, pour over the honey, orange zest and toss together. Spread out and roast in a hot oven (~180 degrees fan oven) for 10 minutes until tender. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Whilst the rhubarb is cooking, toast the nuts for the topping (optional but tasty). Place the almonds and pistachios into a cake tin and put into the oven to toast. After 3 minutes, shake the pans to move them around and help them toast evenly. Bake for another 3 minutes - they should smell nutty but not scorched. Once they are toasted, tip them into a bowl to stop them cooking any further or you could end up with burnt nuts! Once they are cool, blitz in a food processor until you have a fine crumb. Store in a container in the fridge (you can also big batch this and use to top yoghurt and other cereals)
Now make the bircher. Place the oats, seeds, orange juice, orange zest, honey, tea and kefir in a mixing bowl. Tip in half of the roasted rhubarb and some of the juice and mix everything together. Place in the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, take the bircher and rhubarb out of the fridge about 15 minutes before eating to bring them up to room temperature. Give the bircher a stir and add a little milk or water to loosen if needed, then divide between bowls. Top with the remaining roasted rhubarb and juice and scatter over some of the nut dust before serving.