Spring is almost here at Fat Weka Farm…but not quite. The daffodils are starting to make an appearance but this flowering cherry taken last year on 1 October is my true sign of spring. Perhaps it will flower earlier this year. It’s still holding out with it’s tightly wrapped buds. In the meantime I won’t be saying goodbye to the nightly warmth and handy cooking space of our wood burner.
Throughout winter I’ve utilised this radiant warmth to also cook our dinner most nights. One quick favourite has been savoury French toast with a winter slaw.
French toast for breakfast is generally sweet and is a great way to use up sourdough bread. Sourdough tends to get hard rather than go mouldy. Sometimes it’s so hard you can work up a sweat just slicing it. But it magically revives as does any stale bread with the french toast treatment.
Simply mix one egg with half a cup of milk, salt, pepper and about 1 Tbsp of parmesan cheese grated. If you want a herby punch then add a little sage or thyme. One egg should be enough for four slices of bread and 2-4 people depending on what you choose to add as toppings. It needs to be thin enough to soak in and coat the bread with the eggy milk liquid.
I tend to soak the bread in a flat bottomed plate – a pasta dish is ideal. Give it a minute to soak in.
Heat a heavy pan (ideally cast iron) and add a knob of butter or your favourite oil. Once it begins to sizzle add the soaked bread to the pan. Cook each side until it browns.
Once you have turned over one side you can add a slice of cheese on top.
I like to add slaw on top but you can top with anything you like. In this case I added some smoked mackerel along with the slaw.
Another option for breakfast is a topping of bacon. When I do this I first begin cooking the bacon and then the french toast in the same pan.
In summer it’s delicious with tomatoes, basil, black pepper and a drizzle of your favourite oil. It’s a year round easy breakfast, lunch or dinner depending what you have in the fridge or garden to top it off and an option when the bread is no longer fresh and needs reviving.
A weekend treat is to have a classic sweet French toast. Just replace 1 tbsp of parmesan and the salt and pepper for 1 tbsp of caster sugar and either a dash of vanilla essence or a grinding of nutmeg. I like to make this sweet version using a raisin bread or sweet bread. Our local bakery Gilbert’s Fine Food’s Date and Walnut sourdough or their delicious and rich Brioche works a treat but when I use a sweet bread like these I just add 1 tsp of sugar.
Top with sliced banana or cooked apple, kefir or yoghurt and a little maple syrup. Our grandson Beau’s favourite is just with maple syrup. My favourite of course is with my son’s preserved apricots – Augustines of Central.
When spring gets here with longer days of daylight, I will want to spend more time outdoors so time saving dishes like this are useful. One real time saver I have discovered this winter on a trip to Melbourne has been three little hand peelers….more on that next posting.