Brunch, Cooking, Vegetarian
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Recipe: Rhubarb, Rose and Pistachio Porridge


Rhubarb, Rose and Pistachio Porridge

Rhubarb, Rose and Pistachio Porridge

I had the weirdest day yesterday. In the middle of Balham, in broad daylight, a random stranger kicked me up the arse.


I was shocked too.

He kicked me hard too. Very aggressive and actually quite scary, he thought I had hit my shopping trolley off his car, started roaring at me. I explained that I hadn’t, that I had merely hit the kerb. He roared “HANG ON! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!” and was suddenly further incensed.

At this point it was obvious that he was out of control and I said that I would call the police if he didn’t stop. So he went for me.

I am so thankful that someone intervened. It is all in the hands of the police now but WHAT A WEIRD DAY.

I am tired and sore and in need of nourishment. I am also startled. If it weren’t so in line with a Fr Ted episode (kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse), it might not be quite so bizarre. As awful as it was, the constant reminder of Fr Ted brings a chuckle. How can it not?

So I made this.

January is joyless in many regards. Grey, moody and lacking lustre. But Nature comes to our rescue via some clever Yorkshire Victorian farmers, who decided that they would force rhubarb. Force rhubarb to do what? Well grow in the dark under large terracotta forcing urns  to be harvested by candle light. The lack of light forces the terracotta to grow long, lean and bright pink. Sweeter than normal rhubarb and so very tender. It is divine.

Rhubarb loves rose, rose loves pistachio, pistachio loves rhubarb too. The three together, and in my porridge mean everything is right with the world again.

Notes on the recipe: if you are planning this, soak the porridge in the milk overnight, it makes a difference. I prefer rose extract to rose water as it is punchier, if using rose water, use a tablespoon and adjust to taste. I use a lot of milk as I find these steel cut oats just drink it and I like my porridge to be soft and a little runny. I subscribe to the school that more-is-more when things are delicious so there is a lot of rhubarb and pistachio here. For extra luxury, add a little cream.

Update: if using normal rhubarb, use more honey as it is a lot more sour. It will still be lovely though.

Recipe: Rhubarb, Rose & Pistachio Porridge

Feeds: one hungry person / two normal not so hungry people


50g steel cut oats (I used Flahavan’s)
300ml full fat milk
150g rhubarb, cut into inch pieces – forced rhubarb if you can get it
25g pistachios, shelled and chopped
3 drops or so of rose extract – to taste (or 1 tbsp rosewater)
2 tbsp honey – to taste


Poach half of the rhubarb with 1 tbsp of the honey in just enough water to cover it. It will take only a few minutes. Take off the heat when soft, and before it surrenders and collapses.

Put the oats, milk, rosewater, the rest of the rhubarb and the other tbsp of honey in a pot over a low heat and allow to cook gently for about 10 minutes until the oats are tender and the rhubarb soft. Adjust the honey and rose to taste.

Serve immediately with poached rhubarb and pistachios on top. The poaching water is gorgeous – fragrant, delicious and bright pink, so I add some of this too.





  1. you wonderful wonderful woman for bringing this into my life! i adore rhubarb, rose and pistachio but have never thought to put them all together. You have set the cogs whirring in my head.

  2. That’s a terrible thing to happen. You must have been very shaken.:-( The porridge sounds lovely. I have never seen forced rhubarb for sale in Ireland, does anyone do it? Am in Cork, would you know where I can get rose essence from. Am a keen cook & have needed some previously. Hope you feeling better today

    • It was really shocking at the time but I am ok now. I use a rose extract that I got at Waitrose here. I would recommend you search for culinary rose oil online – I have used it before and it is fabulous :)

  3. Hilary Davis says

    Sounds lovely, a good antidote to your dreadful experience yesterday – I hope you are feeling better ! X

  4. Oh Niamh! You poor thing. What a horrible experience. You did right to turn it around with this comforting tasty recipe. I’d love to try it. I think you are so right about pistachio and roseflower. I made Sherry Trifle for the first time this Christmas – with real egg custard. That recipe called for pistachio and chrystallised rose petals. Of course these were nowhere to be found on Christmas Eve so I improvised with sugar infused with rose essence. Mmmmmh! Delicious. Thank you for the recipe. Hope you are feeling better soon….

    • Thanks Mary! It was a weird experience. The trifle sounds delicious. You can buy culinary rose oil online – it is fabulous. Recommend you try it :)

  5. Catherine Twomey says

    That’s awful Niamh – what a horrible thing to happen.
    I saw some forced Rhubarb in M & S at lunchtime – I’m going back down to get some!!

  6. Tricia Hogan says

    This sounds delicious. So sorry you got attacked by a mad lunatic and glad u are ok. Yes ‘a kick up the backside’ is definitely a reminder of days gone by – loved Fr. Ted too.

    • Thanks Tricia. Fr Ted is still awesome although have seen every episode many times so can’t watch it so much anymore. Also adore Modern Family which you should check out if you don’t know it :)

  7. This town freaking gets weirder and scarier by the day – the quotient of crazies is definitely on the increase :( Glad to hear you are merely shaken and sore, not badly hurt – but what a terrible experience to have. I do like the look of the porridge though…

    • SO WEIRD! But all ok now even if I do feel freaked out now wandering around my own neighbourhood. It will pass. The porridge was yum :)

  8. Pudding and Chops says

    What an inspired combination, can’t wait to try it.
    Sorry you had such an unnerving experience but happy to hear someone actually helped you. Hope you’re feeling better and thanks for continuing to post. Trooper!

  9. What an inspired combination – can’t wait to try it.
    Sorry to hear about your assault but glad someone helped you. Thanks for still posting – trooper!

  10. Hope you have recovered from your bizarre incident. There are some real headcases out there! As far as the porridge goes, I am Scottish, so of course I love it, but even more so with three of my favourite ingredients, yet I never even gave them a thought in combination for porridge. Thanks for the original idea to brighten up my breakfast. Tracey.

  11. Thank goodness for good old fashioned chivalry that somebody came to your rescue! Nice to hear that good does conquer bad! Thank you for the post, I love rose and rhubarb together too … one of my favourite combinations.

  12. I’ve just come across your blog and this sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it for weekend breakfast. The weather is turning cold again so this will be the perfect winter’s morning snuggly breakfast. I’m also shocked by what happened to you – terrible!

  13. I once intervened with a man and a woman having a massive argument, he put his hands around her throat so I lept to the rescue only for her to turn around and tell me ‘it’s none of my business’. weird, if I saw it again though I would still jump in, probably because I’m a normal human being and not some crazy nutter who relishes kicking young Irish ex pats up the arse for kicks, anyway I hope the soreness has gone. I once saw some farmers growing rhubarb on T.V by candle light, they gave off an eary creaking sound as they grew. It’s been such a long time since I had porridge, My Nanna used to make it for us and I remember how she used to give me extra jam because I couldn’t eat it without jam. I bet this worked a dream though, slight savoury saltiness from the pistachios with hot sweet tangy rhubarb and creamy milky porridge, lovely in the depths of winter, speaking of which snow is expected next week so might give this one a go when I’m all boarded up at home!

    • It is tricky but I would always intervene and have done myself in the past. I am so grateful that someone did.

      Thanks for the comment and enjoy the porridge :)

  14. I’m Off looking for porridge, Alas the nearest Waitrose is 15 miles away, I ache too much for a 30 plus cycle ride (as a result of weeding). Tesco’s, hmm may get lucky, unlikely is my favourite oat product, Waitrose no longer stock it.
    There are some strange people around; I used to see a lot more of that when I lived elsewhere. Luckily for my sanity, our small town has little trouble. Glad you’re OK.

  15. Oh dear, that sounds like a terrible experience. I hope you are ok. This porridge recipe sounds delicious and perfect for winter. I’m off to try and find some forced rhubarb here in the States…

      • Thanks Niamh. Alas, I couldn’t find any rhubarb, but raspberries and rose were an excellent match. I’m keen to try gooseberries and elderflower porridge next.

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  17. Aniek says

    This looks absolutely delicious! Definitely inspired to revamp my breakfasts!

  18. Pingback: Oat Porridge with Coconut Milk, Raspberries and Pistachios | Food and Tools

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