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Simple Croissant French Toast with Strawberries n’ Cream

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.  That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. ~Ernest Hemingway
UntitledAs published in The Westender

photography by Gregor Reid

Earlier this summer your favorite chef packed her bags and boarded a (disgustingly early) train to meet my family and some friends in the Speyside region for the weekend. A million miles north of Glasgow, this romantic little area is known for many things, most notably its WHISKEY. Now, I’m not exactly a whiskey connoisseur, but that does not mean that I don’t appreciate the difference between a classy vintage and the jack and coke variety.

We spent most of Friday whiskey tasting (highly reminiscent of the wine tasting in France with my chef friend Serena not too long ago). There was so much to try, and I thought it was only fair to give as many proprietors as possible a shot at our business. I declined the use of the spit bucket during the tastings because I am a lady (Serena). More importantly, I do not believe in wasting good booze. This may not have been my best idea ever, but it certainly wasn’t my worst! With the exception of some minor curling iron burns sustained before dinner, I survived the day and night without incident.

My commitment to “whiskey education and discovery” made getting out of bed on Saturday morning slightly more difficult than anticipated, especially when I remembered my friend’s and my promise to make brunch for everyone. No rest for the weary, etc. etc. Thankfully, there is nothing four cups of coffee, a pair of dark glasses, and a commitment to food can’t fix. By noon, all eight of us were sitting down to a delicious feast of Raspberry Croissant French toast. So, this weekend, get your behind out of bed and whip up a decadent brunch for your friends and family.

*I do not mean any disrespect jack and coke. I do enjoy it on occasion (fine, regularly.)

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Strawberries n’ Cream: (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 300g Strawberries (1 carton)
  • 70ml double cream (1/4 cup heavy cream)
  • 4 tbs icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Fresh Mint leaves
  • Pinch of salt

Preparing the strawberries:

  1. Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. Slice them vertically into bite-size pieces.
  2. Add the cream, icing sugar, vanilla bean, and pinch of salt. Mix well
  3. Fresh mint leaves are an easy and bright way to spice up your strawberries.

Croissant French Toast (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 240ml single cream (1 cup half n half)
  • 5 Eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnaom
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 croissants

Preparing your French toast:

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients well in a deep dish.
  2. Cut the croissant lengthways and then dip both pieces into the batter, allow excess to drip back into dish.
  3. Melt butter in a frying pan on medium, add your croissants. Cook until golden brown on both sides. (This should take about 2 minutes per side).
  4. *Serve with maple syrup or powdered sugar. Or both!—I was raised on Aunt Jemima’s “comes-in-a-plastic” bottle syrup in in Miss-ur-ah

Great Brunch Extras:

HomemadeJam, BACON, Butter , Orange juice, LOTS OF FRESH COFFEE

 

 

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Build Your Own Breakfast Sandwich

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For my breakfast sandwiches, I like an open-faced toasted croissant with about an entire slab of butter, a smooth layer of creamy scrambled eggs, precisely one slice of bacon, 1.5 slices of tomatoes, and a thin layer of avocado. The gentleman who shared this breakfast with me prefers a butterless (sacrilegious) full brioche bun, a full heap of scrambled eggs, every single piece of bacon I didn’t take, and not a single sign of health (i.e. bacon greased fried tomatoes or avocado) in sight on his breakfast sandwiches. This is precisely why we build our own. Everyone has their own way of building a sandwich and in order to make the cook’s life easier, as well as everyone happier, this is the perfect method. As for the main ingredient (the scrambled eggs) this is, without a doubt, the best I have ever tried (and probably the greatest hangover cure ever since the hair of the dog, but you can always add in some of that too!)

Ingredients for 4:

  • fresh berries (or some kind of fruit to make you feel better about yourself)
  • croissant, brioche or your type of choice (I usually get about 3 slices of something per person)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 12 rashers of bacon
  • 12 eggs
  • 120mL single cream (1/2c half n half)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 40g butter (2 Tbs)

To prepare:

The eggs take the longest to prepare, so always begin with them. Whisk well the eggs, single cream, salt and pepper in a bowl. Over low heat, melt the butter in a large pan. Pour in the egg mixture and whisk regularly for about 10-15 minutes (the longer they take to cook, the better). Scrambled eggs should be creamy and soft, so don’t turn up the heat or they will become like an omelette.

While the eggs are puttering away, fry the bacon. Remove from the pan and immediately add in chopped tomatoes (I pull the pulp out but to each his own!). Fry for about one minute and set aside.

As for the rest, it’s pretty simple; wash the berries, cut up the avocado, and toast the bread.

Serve family style.

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Waffles for Sunday Breakfast

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It’s the weekend! I know the whole “live for the weekend” thing is supposed to be unhealthy, we are supposed to love our work week, etc. and while work is not the worst thing ever (sometimes it is), I really do love the weekend. And while I may not “live” for it, I certainly live for weekend breakfasts. But, I’m all about the very easy, very quick weekend breakfasts. I am inherently lazy, but also, really really like delicious food. It can be a real conundrum. But not with these babies around. This recipe takes 10 minutes tops to prepare and cook. Even better, make the batter the night before and all you have to do is turn the waffle maker on while you make coffee. I get that some may not have the kitchen space or inclination for a waffle maker, but I’m telling you that a waffle maker is a good investment. I have had mine for about 4 years and it cost about 20 pounds ($35). You can also make a lot of interesting things with a waffle maker http://www.buzzfeed.com/caitlinmorton/17-unexpected-foods-you-can-cook-in-a-waffle-iron-a3z1#.fxjnAoOqb

If you still aren’t inclined, then dive into those pancakes . Either way, you are in for a spectacularly delicious, spectacularly easy morning(/afternoon) breakfast.

Disclaimer: The pictures aren’t that great. I was hungry. Someday I will get with the whole not eating the food you photograph so you can  get the perfect picture. But the waffles were hot, and they were good, it was worth every calorie.

 

Ingredients:

125g plain flour (1 cup)

1T corn flour  (cornstarch)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp soda of bicarbonate  (baking soda)

1 egg , separated

240mL buttermilk (or 240mL (1 cup) whole milk + 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar)

1 1/2 T butter, melted

 

To prepare:

Whisk dry (flour, corn flour, salt, today of bicarbonate) together in a medium bowl.

Whisk buttermilk (or substitue), melted butter, and egg yolk in small bowl.

Beat the egg white until stiff.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry mixture slowly folding with a spatula. Don’t overmix! Lightly fold in egg white to mixture. Will still see streaks. Note if making the evening before, wait to whisk and add egg white until the morning.

Following the waffle iron’s instruction, cook waffle until brown and serve immediately or keep warm in an oven about 100 degrees celsius (200 deg F) on a wire rack. But to make things easy I just put the batter in a jug and bring the waffle iron to the table.

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American Style “Buttermilk” Pancakes

DSC_0407After some nights (whether it was alcohol-fuelled or exhaustion fueled), breakfast is the inevitable morning after cure, but who wants to spend hours whipping up some breakfast in their pajamas? Not me. I want something quick, filling, and utterly delicious that takes 10 minutes with ingredients I would (almost always) have lying around. Buttermilk pancakes are an american staple, but after searching around 3 grocery stores today, I couldn’t find anything resembling buttermilk. So, I did a little sciencey research to come up with a basic cupboard substitute. Just googling, I found lemon (not a bad added flavor to pancakes) and vinegar (not that appetizing), but I thought we could do better. Really, buttermilk is just curdled milk, so anything that would “sour” it, would be perfect. Cream of tartar, an acidic bi-product of wine fermentation, is basically tasteless (bakers use it to stiffen egg whites) and it is also a common ingredient in baking powder. It was perfect; no flavor change but it gave the pancakes that light tartness that just makes them divine. 
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Ingredients:

  • 256g flour
  • 2 Tbs caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda of bicarbonate
  • 1 Tbs cream of tart
  • 240 mL single cream
  • 240 mL milk
  • 50g sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g melted butter
  • maple syrup

To prepare:

Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients very lightly (make sure not to over mix! there should be lumps in the batter)

Let stand for 10 minutes and preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius.

Heat pan or griddle to medium heat and lightly brush with vegetable oil or butter.

Pour out batter in pancake size dollops into hot pan, cook for about 3 minutes on one side (until bubbly) and then flip to cook for about 1 more minute. Keep warm on wire rack in oven while finishing the rest of the pancakes.

Serve with maple syrup! (I was raised on Aunt Jemima’s “comes-in-a-plastic” bottle syrup in in Miss-ur-ah but you can be fancy if you prefer)