Tolstoy porridge

porridgeLizzy Nichol provides the third of 26 Recipes for our newsletter to help power your writerly life. Today, Tolstoy porridge for toiling peasants that can keep your scythe going all day long.


No. 3: Tolstoy porridge

Come friend, let us breakfast together. Sit, sit.

Great I’m starved.

Tell me of life in the country. How is the society?

Pretty good. We’ve met some people through the kids’ school and Judy’s joined a choir. What’s for breakfast? Pancakes?

And how is it working the fields?

I’m still an accountant, Bob. Croissants?

Nice long walks I imagine. Lots of fresh air.

Yes, lots. Waffles?

No no. Something more rustic today. More your sort of thing I imagine.


Russian porridge my man. The food of Tolstoy’s toiling peasants. Simple, cheap, nourishing, and can keep your scythe going all day. Swish swish. Nope, none of your goji berries here my friend…plus, Sandra says it’s good for my blood sugar.


What you need

1 cup of raw buckwheat groats

2 cups of milk (from a cow or a nut or a soya bean)

A pinch of salt


A splash of vanilla essence, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a grating of nutmeg, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkling of raisins, some chopped fruit or all of the above. It’s also fantastic with a spoonful of peanut butter. Shhhh.


How to make it

First, buy your buckwheat. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. I buy all my grains from Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett or Amazon.

In possession of buckwheat groats? Super. Put a cupful into a small saucepan with your milk and salt. Bring to a low simmer for about 20 minutes while you have a natter with your breakfast buddy. When the groats have softened and absorbed the liquid, add your vanilla and spices if using, and give it a stir. Spoon out into a bowl, add a little more milk and top with your extras. Fairly savoury on its own, a bit of honey or jam will do splendidly.

Priyatnogo appetita

N.B. Sandra’s right. Buckwheat really is wonderful. It’s actually not a grain at all, but a seed, and is so packed with protein and fibre it really could keep a peasant full all day.

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