Sunday, 6 December 2009

Dorset Cereals Porridge

Not so long ago, I was convinced I didn't like porridge. Then, I was sent some Rude Health Top Banana and Fruity Date Porridge to review (you can see that review if you click on the link) and I discovered that it was possibly the best winter breakfast I'd ever tried. So Dorset Cereals had a lot to live up to when they asked me to test their new handy porridge sachets.

There are three varieties available - Apple & Raisin (in the green box), Cranberry & Raspberry (unsurprisingly in the red box) and plain Simply Porridge (in the light brown box). Dorset Cereals slogan is "Simple, but then the best things in life usually are". This is certainly true of their recipes. The Simply Porridge variety is made of 100% oats - "It's a blend of the very best British porridge oats, and that's it", there really are no hidden nasties or added sugar or anything else. The fruity varieties are equally natural with a reassuringly short list of ingredients - for the Apple & Raisin variety : British porridge oats (68%), raisins (21%), dried apple (4%) (apple, citric acid), apple flavoured porridge oats (porridge oats, natural flavouring). The Cranberry & Raspberry variety does have one rogue ingredient that you wouldn't expect, but as it's a natural healthy one, we can let them off this once ! : British porridge oats (72%), sultanas (17%), raspberry flavoured porridge oats (porridge oats, natural flavouring), sweetened dried cranberries (3%) (cane sugar, cranberries, sunflower oil), freeze dried raspberries (1%). Hmm with 17% sultanas and only 1% raspberries and 3% cranberries, maybe this should be called Sultana Porridge instead.

Tastewise, I'm not keen on the plain porridge, but it's easy enough to adapt to suit your tastebuds with added ingredients from your storecupboard like raisins, crunchy demerera sugar, honey or chopped apple. It's handy for any oat-based recipes you might want to try out, like flapjacks or as a crunchy coating for fish. The two fruity varieties however are gorgeous - sweet but not overly sweet, with some sharpness from the fruit, and packed full of natural flavours. It gives you that lovely warming reddy-brek glow inside, which is just what you need on cold winter days.

Cooking couldn't be easier. You just empty a sachet into a microwaveable bowl, add 125ml milk and zap for 2 minutes. This can be adapted to suit your personal tastes - I personally prefer it with a bit less milk and zap it for 5 minutes, so that all the liquid is soaked up and it has the consistency of rice pudding ! Yum !

My one little gripe is that the serving size seemed a bit on the small size. One serving from a sachet is 30g of porridge with 125ml of milk. That left me wanting more, but two sachets was too much. But again, this is down to personal taste and if it really annoys you, you could go for the box-option and take as much as you like. The box option is the more environmentally-sound choice anyway, using much less packaging - and it works out a lot cheaper.

So, the question you're all dying to ask - which one's better ? Rude Health or Dorset Cereals ? Well, this will sound like a cop-out but the honest answer is, they're both as good as each other, both for the taste and their ethics. In fact, if it was served in bowls with no labels, I think most people would assume they were made by the same company. But as they both do different flavours, this gives you a great chance to alternate different tastes.

Whichever brand or flavour you decide to go for, just remember that porridge is a really healthy way to start the day. As they say on the Dorset Cereals website, "The inclusion of oats as part of a diet low in saturated fat and a healthy lifestyle can help reduce blood cholesterol (which is good for your heart)". Plus it tastes really nice and warms you up in a trice !

star rating : 4.5/5 (5/5 for flavour, just half a point docked because I found the serving size per sachet too small !)

RRP : £2.39 for 8 sachets of fruity porridge or 10 sachets of simply porridge, £2.29 for a 610g box

for more information and to buy online :


  1. We love Dorset in out house, and the weather is perfect for porridge at the moment. I usually go for the sachets as they're so convenient, but if I have time I love having a pot of oats bubbling on the stove!

  2. I always make mine in the microwave. I really should try it "the old fashioned way" in a saucepan one of these days !

  3. Good review... :) Does it have to be made with milk or could it be done with water?

  4. Well, I guess you could, if you need a dairy-free diet, but I wouldn't think you'd get the same creaminess.


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