food & drink · recipes

French Toast

At the moment I’m avoiding bread. It hates me. I rarely eat more than a single slice a day, which is partly my boyfriend’s influence, but mostly because I’ve never been a big fan of it (unless in doughnut form…). Back home, however, it’s a staple in my family’s diet and as I was free-loading for the week I couldn’t ask for rice or some other alternative. After each and every meal, though, I got killer tummy ache and felt sick, so no more bread for me. The only day I didn’t regret eating bread was the day mum made French Toast. The pain was so worth worth it.

French Toast, Gypsy Toast, Eggy Bread… when I was growing up it was always referred to as the latter in my house. Regardless of what you call you call it, it will always taste amazing. It’s simple food; bread, milk and egg. It’s a great way to use up bread that’s going stale, or use up those end slices of the loaf that everyone seems to shun (though personally I love them toasted with nutella now and then). As you can eat it savoury or sweet, it’s also easy to please everyone. My brother eats his with copious amounts of brown-sauce, whilst my mother either has tomato ketchup (sacrilege, I know…) or sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Having a sweet-tooth, I dabble in everything and anything at home on the dessert spectrum; sugar & spice, nutella & banana, cherry conserve, maple syrup, apple sauce… the list goes on, and on…

Whilst staying with my grandparents in June, I felt bad for using their food; especially seeing as they wouldn’t let me contribute towards the groceries. I guess that’s how family are, though. What I didn’t feel guilty about, however, was using up the bits of leftovers that otherwise would have gone out to feed the crows. A few days earlier my grandfather had bought poppy-seed and sesame baguettes, and the half that hadn’t made it onto the sandwich plate had been left to go hard and stale. Perfect for Eggy Bread!

Doesn't it look beautiful?

Because I wanted to keep the flavour of the seeds, I kept the recipe fairly simple. There’s a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, and a tiny drizzle of honey for sweetness, but the taste of the poppy-seeds and sesame still shine through nicely. I loved it so much that I made it again the next day. I think my Nana was pleased too!

Lovely, lovely bread...
I find baguettes and crusty rolls work best for French Toast because you get a nice bite to the bread once cooked. A normal sliced loaf works just as well, though. I usually have a cheap loaf in the freezer (which I can make last for months unless I have hungry friends visiting).

Recipe beneath the cut.

For a savoury French toast, omit the sugar, cinnamon and honey.

French Toast
(Serves 1)

  • 1/4 of baguette, sliced into 2cm thick slices
  • 1 egg
  • dash of milk
  • 1tsp butter, for cooking
  • sugar (optional)
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • honey, for serving (optional)
  1. In a flat bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
  2. Set a frying pan over a medium heat, and melt the butter in the pan.
  3. Sit the bread in the egg mixture. After a 30-60 seconds, turn over to soak the other side. Take care not to over soak the bread if you are cooking it in batches, or you might find the egg mix will run out. If making your French Toast sweet, whilst soaking the other side, sprinkle the upward facing soaked layer with cinnamon and a generous amount of sugar.
  4. Transfer the bread to your heated pan, sugar-side down. Sprinkle the other side with cinnamon and sugar whilst the first side cooks.
  5. After 3 or so minutes, flip the bread over to cook the other side. The bread should be golden to dark brown in colour when cooked and heated through to the centre, and the sugar on top should begin to caramelise.
  6. After the second side has cooked, transfer to a plate. If you prefer a darker toast, then flip over once more and cook each side for a further 1-2 minutes.
  7. Serve whilst hot, with another light dusting of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. Yum!

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