On Leaving Home, and a Beautiful Breakfast

IMG_9099Last week my family moved house. The new house is beautiful – a little cottage in the countryside like something out of a fairy tale (see the photos below.)  Nevertheless, moving was quite difficult, quite emotional, and one of those experiences that have forced me into learning a lesson I did not know that I needed until I got it.

I had never had to do that before – that is, I had never had to move Entirely and Completely from one house to another – with a deadline because the lease was up on the old house. And in fact, it was not even really me moving, but the rest of my family. I have been gradually moving myself to Dublin ever since I started in University, yet until now I never really realised that I was, truly, gone from the place. My home is somewhere else now.

I was shocked into realising this when I came “home” for the weekend especially to help my family move what I still thought of as “my home” as well as theirs.

And I quickly found that nothing that we were packing into boxes belonged to me. Everything I owned was already gone, moved with me, or lost along the way. And I found myself helping to pack away and clean up what was not any more my own, but now other people’s belongings. For that weekend, I tried to put aside this sudden feeling of loss and displacement – it would take some time to absorb and accept – and just help with the move of the house, help to move my family’s paraphernalia, what my grandfather would call their Accoutrements.IMG_8842

Have you ever tried to do something like this? It is almost unbelievably stressful. Everything you touch has a potential significance, everything you put away might be unknowingly important. In the case of my family of Compulsive Collectors of Everything, you are especially terrified of unwittingly throwing away, say, the tiny bowl of interestingly-coloured stones on the kitchen dresser between the cups and saucers, that might turn out to be of tremendous importance to someone in the house.


I set myself to clean out the kitchen – a horrible task, but it was the only room where I could be of any use whatsoever – and I vowed every moment never to do anything like this again. It brought up too many old sensitivities, old growing pains and aching reminders of the way I used to be – how I used to get so caught up in other people’s messes, their problems, how I would try to fix everything for everyone and usually only making things worse, and feeling worse in the process!

It took a long time and a lot of wrenching and hurting before I began to learn how to look after myself, take care of myself as a priority and keep myself grounded and aware of my own needs. I’m a long way from being fully able in this skill, but I am much improved from what I used to be. Largely thanks, in fact, to being moved out and having for the first time in my life my own space, a space in which to think, to work, to write, to be alone, to be myself.

And so, on the day I came back through my own front door (newly painted by my lovely landlord in Post-Office Red, he cheerfully informed me) I breathed a sigh of relief and decided to celebrate rather than grieve over the sense of loss of a childhood home. There will be grieving, maybe, but that can wait. Instead I made this Raspberry-Feta Raw Buckwheat Porridge, and it was so delightful that I wanted to share it. Finally to the recipe! IMG_9097

Buckwheat porridge is one of my favourite things to eat in summer – some of my favourite versions are those by the wonderful Agnes from Cashew Kitchen, – here and also here; also this gorgeous one from Green Kitchen Stories.

My version is sweet but not too sweetness and has an amazing tangy, salty thing going on with the feta cheese in the mix. I swear it does not taste cheesy, just complements the tart raspberries and sweet banana wonderfully. If you are vegan, you could replace it with two tbsp of plant based yoghurt. If you do this you might want to reduce the milk to 1 tbsp.


Raspberry-Feta Raw Buckwheat Porridge 

1/3 cup buckwheat.
1/3-1/2 cup raspberries (I used frozen)
1/2 small banana
3 tbsps unsweetened plant milk (I used oat)
1 tbsp feta cheese, or for a vegan option, use 2 tbsp plant yoghurt.
4 brazil nuts

1-2 tsp honey to taste (optional)

Toasty Topping

A few pumpkin seeds
1/2 tbsp amaranth 
1 tbsp oat flakes for
bee pollen (optional)
cacao nibs (optional – you could also used shaved dark chocolate.)

  1. Soak the buckwheat and brazil nuts in water overnight, preferably with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar (this helps to release phytic acid, making them easier to digest.)
  2. Place a skillet with a heavy bottom on a high heat and dry toast the oat, amaranth and pumpkin seeds until it smells beautiful and looks golden. Some of the amaranth might pop – if you’re lucky. Watch carefully to see it doesn’t burn – take if off the heat immediately!
  3. In a food processor, or using a good hand blender, blend the ingredients for the porridge until they are smooth – a few chunky bits are fine though! You might have to scrape down the sides of the food processor once or twice.
  4. Top with the toasted grain mix, bee pollen and cacao nibs.

I’ll just end with some pictures of the new cottage, because it really is gorgeous! IMG_8994IMG_8996IMG_9167



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