brown rice porridge | london bakes
I’m pretty sure that 2015 is going to be one crazy ass rollercoaster of a year.

It’s only six days into January and already most of our weekends in the summer are booked up with weddings and birthdays and other celebrations. For both of us, work looks set to continue at the frantic speed of 2014, there’s my boyfriend’s first marathon in April and there is, of course, the not inconsiderable matter of our wedding at the end of October.

brown rice porridge | london bakes

Despite this – or maybe because of it – my watchword for this year is ‘less’. Like a lot of people seemed to do, we spent the time between Christmas and the New Year engaged in a mass declutter, getting rid of 20+ bin bags of clothes, books, old paperwork, broken plates (why had I been keeping them?!) and all that general crap which seems to breed if you leave it unattended. Spending the second half of 2014 living out of a suitcase definitely gave me a new perspective on what I actually need on a daily basis vs what just happens to be there.

‘Less’ doesn’t just apply to physical stuff though; I want to make this a year of less stress (despite the aforementioned wedding) and less guilt, less time wasted on doing nothing, perhaps a little less sugar and meat and booze and all those things that we know we’re supposed to cut down on. Hopefully, by cutting out what I don’t need from my life, I can focus more on what I do need. Like more time with friends + family, more ridiculous adventures and, above all, more stupid life-affirming fun.

In keeping with the mantra of less, I’m really enjoying taking a slightly more simple and pared down approach to what we’re eating at the moment. I’ve never been one for lumping thousands of random components together but more and more, I find myself turning to recipes with just three or four ingredients and rediscovering the joy of familiar flavours, like this creamy vanilla-bean flecked brown rice porridge that I’m pretty obsessed with at the moment.

brown rice porridge | london bakes

I cut this recipe out of Bon Appetit last summer – it didn’t really appeal at the time but I filed it away for the colder months. I’m not generally a fan of oat/grain porridges but this is something completely different. It’s warming and rich and creamy and comforting, like a loose rice pudding or risotto, although without the need for constant stirring. It’s everything that I want on a grey January morning.

I use regular milk in place of the almond milk of the original recipe as it’s what I generally have on hand and play around with the toppings as I see fit. Here, I’ve swirled a spoonful of a quick redcurrant chia jam (based on this recipe from Alex + Sonja) through the porridge, topped it with a little tart yoghurt and a scattering of flaked almonds and cocoa nibs for crunch. It’s not exactly a quick weekday breakfast as it takes a good hour, if not more, to cook but the hands on time is pretty limited and I quite like a bit of time for my stomach to wake up in the morning anyway.

Here’s hoping that 2015 is the happiest of years, for all of us.

brown rice porridge | london bakes

brown rice porridge with redcurrant chia jam {gluten free}

Yield: Serves 1

This is one of the very few recipes which I make in cups - weighing out the rice seems more hassle than its worth. I tend to make individual portions as and when I want them but the comments on the BA website suggest you can make a bigger batch and keep some in the fridge - I'm always very wary of leftover rice so never do this myself. As mentioned above, the original recipe uses almond milk if you want to substitute that here. I imagine you could also make it with coconut milk but you might not want to use a 1:1 ratio of milk to water. Just as a note, it seems like a lot of liquid to use for the amount of rice but it's perfect. Really.


    For the porridge:
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I use whatever's open - anything dark will give a more pronounced flavour which I really like)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • A pinch of salt
  • To serve:
  • Jam, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs, whaterver


  1. Put all of the ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the porridge for about an hour or so, stirring every now and then, until the rice is tender and cooked through. It might take a little longer than an hour to get your rice completely done - sometimes I end up leaving it with a little bite because I'm too impatient.
  2. Swirl through a little jam and top with whatever else you fancy.


Barely adapted from Bon Appetit. I've topped this with a quick redcurrant chia jam, loosely based on this recipe. I put 6oz of redcurrants in a pan with a splash of honey and water, cooked it down for a little bit and then added a tablespoon of chia seeds and let it thicken.
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47 Responses to "brown rice porridge with redcurrant chia jam {gluten free}"
  1. Katie says:

    Lovely post, Kathryn! I’ve spent the last couple of days brainstorming ways to have better work-life-blog-business balance this year, and while I’ve not yet come up with anything miraculous, doing less is definitely at the top of my list. One of my goals is to take fewer photos for each blog post as I often end up with a ridiculous number which adds considerable time to the culling and editing process. These photos are lovely in their simplicity, as is the porridge. I had a great black rice porridge for breakfast one morning in Indonesia and it’s something I want to replicate for sure. This brown rice version in individual serves looks the perfect thing for these chilly and simple January mornings. Thanks!

    • kathryn says:

      Love the sound of that black rice pudding. I hope you had an amazing time in Indonesia and are feeling rested and refreshed for all your new adventures this year!

  2. This is such a beautiful breakfast Kathryn! I’ve got a brown rice and coconut milk rice pudding in my cookbook which isn’t a million miles from this, and it tastes divine (if I say so myself!) so I’m sure this does too! I’ve not made chia jam before but have seen it everywhere recently – the reduced sugar content definitely appeals.

    • kathryn says:

      The chia jam is great – it really lets the natural flavour of the fruit shine through. I find it such a shame with the tartness/brightness are dampened by so much sugar in normal jam.

  3. This sounds just lovely. I grew up loving rice pudding, so I feel like this porridge would trigger that happy comfort food memory with me. I love your flavors in it, and its versatility with toppings! And 2015 does sound like it could be a bit busy + harried for you, so I love your approach of “less” + simplifying. Cheers!

  4. Lindsey says:

    yes, couldn’t agree more about the 4-5 ingredient list, sometimes i find it easier when i have less to think about. i love love love brown rice porridge, and your addition of the red currant chia jam is just genius! 2015 sounds like it’s off to a good start for you, miss! cheers to slowing down, and taking one day at time. xoxo!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks lovely Lindsey – the simplicity is one of the things I love most about your recipes. Your flavours are always so clean and fresh. Happy new year to you! xo

  5. Erika says:

    Happy 2015 my dear! sounds like an exciting year for you and less is sometimes good for the soul. :) So that’s a great mindset to have. This is a great breakfast to start the day, one of my resolutions was to eat a better breakfast during the hectic work week. This porridge would be lovely.

    • kathryn says:

      Happy new year Erika! I’m constantly making the resolution to eat better breakfasts, let’s hope 2015 is the year we can both make it happen : )

  6. Alex says:

    Happy New Year! Isn’t it amazing how the calendar is filled up so quickly? Will you be back in the states for work this year? Vanilla bean porridge sounds great with a jam — I think we might have to give it a try!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Alex, happy new year to you guys too! Will probably be back for a couple of flying visits but I only have a few days left on my visa so will need to use that wisely (and preferably in meeting up with blog friends rather than working…;)).

  7. I am such a wannabe minimalist and LOVE the idea of paring down. I recently read this book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ that I’d seen a few people post on Instagram and it was, well, life-changing. I immediately went through my closet and then last night we did Tim’s. Her whole philosophy is to ask yourself whether or not something brings you joy. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. I love that. Why have I never thought about things that way?

    Here’s to the joys of 2015 and learning how to embrace more of them!

    • kathryn says:

      Ha, guess what book I’m currently reading on my morning commute?! Like you, I saw it on instagram and knew that I’d have to get it if I really wanted to embrace the idea of ‘less’ this year. I’ve not finished yet but I can see it’s already having a big impact on how I think about my possessions. Happy new year to you guys; I know it’s going to be a pretty crazy year for you too but I’m sure it will be filled with wonder and joy.

  8. Oooh, less is a good word for 2015. I totally hear you about the decluttering — I went down to my basement the other day and was shocked at how much junk there was between my boyf and me. It’s just the two of us in a three-bedroom house, but we literally fill the entire space up… with junk. Clothes from college, broken plateware, abandoned sports goods… TERRIBLE. Inspired by you, my weekend plans now consist of several large bin bags and trips to the donation center.

    • kathryn says:

      Yes! We are exactly the same. We moved to our three bed place from a 1/2 bed and I can’t believe how we’ve managed to expand to fill it totally in such a relatively short space of time. It’s madness!

  9. Beauty in a bowl! I have never had brown rice porridge but I love how this sounds. We, too, are currently getting rid of all of the clutter in our home – such a liberating feeling!

    • kathryn says:

      Thank you Tessa! It was new to me as well but it’s such a perfect winter breakfast – so warm and comforting. Enjoy your decluttering; I love that feeling of lightness and freedom it brings!

  10. I literally just tried red currants for the first time 2 days ago and when I saw that you posted this recipe today I got so excited! It looks so delicious. Can’t wait!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Tori, I love redcurrants! They’re so bright and fresh and delicious, I use them a lot (not least because they’re so pretty!)

  11. Beautiful post! I’m totally with you on the “less” approach — it’s definitely nice to back away and see what is truly necessary to living your most fulfilling life. and this porridge! I’m screaming in excitement because it is so beautiful and delicious and beautiful and beautiful and beautiful! No really, I would do anything for rice pudding in the AM.

  12. Kieran says:

    Happy New Year! Thanks for such a lovely recipe. If I may suggest, adding the sugar towards the end to the mixture will reduce the cooking time by half.

  13. This is one gorgeous bowl! So yummy :)

  14. I like your “less” objective for this year – that is the perfect summation of my year as well, especially the physically crap that there is no sense hanging on to! This porridge looks lovely!

    • kathryn says:

      I think a lot of us are in the same boat – gathering stuff that we don’t really need and ending up being totally overwhelmed by it all. Here’s to a year of less!

  15. Sues says:

    What a lovely breakfast! The colors are so pretty :)

  16. Teffy says:

    Looks super yummy! I’ve never had brown rice porridge for breakfast before, but since I’m such a rice lover I’m sure it would be right up my street.
    Would definitely have some problems waiting for it to cook completely as well!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  17. Love the idea of simplifying in all the ways, including our food. Simple as this porridge may be, it looks and sounds delicious!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    These are such great thoughts for a new year. We had a similar purge here. Yours sounds like an excellent way to prepare for such a packed year. All the best for 2015, Kathryn!

  19. Happy 2015, Kathryn! I too hope this year will be less stressful and more balanced and kind. Well, this porridge is definitely a fabulous way to start this new year. Love the sound and look of it!

  20. This looks so good! i’ve always wondered if brown rice would make a good porridge. Beautiful photos x

  21. Laura says:

    I’m a porridge fan for sure, but this rice number sounds just about perfect–like a more wholesome rice pudding, which I can’t help but love. I like your note on less guilt too. As long as that one’s squared away, I think we’d all have an easier time living the life we want. Happy 2015 Kathryn! xo

  22. Sophia says:

    Love the idea of ‘less is more’. While regular international moves have forced me to lead a relatively clutter-free life, I still have more clutter than I would like and one of my wishes for 2015 is definitely to focus on what is important and sort out what I no longer need. I loved the sound of this porridge so much, I made a coconut milk version with mango and sesame seeds for breakfast and it was delicious and perfect for a cold winter morning – so thank you for the inspiration!

  23. Joanne says:

    LOVE your mantra for the new year! I think it is so easy to take on more and more and more until you’re totally spent! This brown rice porridge sounds lovely. I would probably whip up a big batch on the weekend so I’d have it for breakfasts all week!

  24. Alison says:

    Loving the photos! I used to cook myself up some creamed rice for breakfast too, but it never looked as good as this!

  25. I love the notion of focusing on “less.” It’s so easy for life to get crowded, overfull, stressful, cluttered. Less feels so good and freeing – way more room for the silly fun stuff, eh?
    I’m crazy for porridge this time of year and yours looks awesome – how can you go wrong with a nutty sweet risotto pudding.
    Gorgoeus photos as always!

  26. cynthia says:

    I love this post soso much, Kathryn! I love your less philosophy and your words on simplicity — as usual, they bring me such peace. This brown rice porridge has me droooooling (oh gosh, I’m pretty sure I’m in love with anything sweet and rice) and the thought of the redcurrant jam with it is impeccable. SO excited for all that’s in store for you this year!!

  27. Abby says:

    this porridge looks just lovely, Kathryn! wishing you a very happy & healthy 2015!! xx

  28. Ashlae says:

    Love love love you approach to 2015, lady. I, too, am all about less this year which, similarly, was inspired by living out of a 46L backpack for nearly two months. Isn’t it funny how much we think we need when we’re nestled into the confines of our home? Also, isn’t it funny that I’ve never heard of brown rice porridge until now? Hope you’re well and that wedding planning is going swimmingly. <3 xx

  29. “I find myself turning to recipes with just three or four ingredients and rediscovering the joy of familiar flavours”

    yes! i love this. it’s one of the things i love most about following so many food blogs. seeing brilliant pairings of simple, whole food ingredients in ways i might not have imagined but that totally totally make sense and inspire my palate and my own approach to cooking.


    and i love your idea about less. i’m feeling the need lately to re-evaluate my spaces, break up the monotony and the staleness. rearrange; reassess; and as with familiar edible ingredients, rediscover the joys of our own familiar space and belongings — the ones that really matter to us.

    happy new year, kathryn, and i hope it proves to be one with less busy and more wonder.

  30. I am loving this porridge. I like to ease in into my breakfast, too, so this looks like a prefect way to do that. Happy New Year to you!

  31. Skye says:

    Hurrah for less stress and less guilt! Happy new year, Kathryn! This is beautiful, as ever! Xx

  32. On chilly mornings, I really really love porridge recipes. My usual is amaranth but yours looks like such a lovely change. I’m starting to wish I tucked some red currants away in the freezer! they look like a perfect pairing to a creamy porridge. I’m with you on focusing on less in 2015 – especially less stress despite the way the year is already filling up! Cheers to the new year :)

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