Banana eggy bread

banana eggy bread

Eggy bread (otherwise known as French toast) is a popular lazy day breakfast in the Bangers & Mash house. Actually, pretty much anything to do with eggs is popular here. But eggy bread in particular takes me back to my own childhood, as I have very fond memories of my Mum making this for me, which I’d sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper and eagerly wolf down while it was still piping hot, serving after serving. And so I rather like making it now for my own daughters.

Making eggy bread with mashed banana sandwiches is perfect for anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth, and yes I’m thinking primarily of little ones here. It’s an easy way to get some extra fruit into them too.

banana eggy bread

Banana eggy bread

Serves 4

2 ripe bananas
4 slices of fresh, white bread
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Peel the bananas and mash roughly with the back of a fork. Spread the mashed banana onto two of the slices of bread, cover with the remaining slices to make sandwiches, and cut each one in half.

Crack the eggs into a shallow dish, add the milk and gently whisk together with a fork. Place the banana sandwiches into the eggy mixture, and turn a few times to allow the bread to soak up egg like a sponge.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Carefully lift the eggy sandwiches from the dish, allowing the excess egg to run off, and pop them into the frying pan.

Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Allow the banana to cool a little before eating. For a treat, you might like to serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

banana eggy bread

As this banana eggy bread is a delicious way to encourage your children to eat more fruit, I am entering it into this month’s Family Foodies. This is a challenge run by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, and it is my turn to host. January’s theme is Hidden Goodies.

family-foodies

I think it would be also rather nice to serve up this banana eggy bread at tea time, so I am also entering it into January’s Tea Time Treats, hosted by The Hedge Combers and Lavender & Lovage. The theme this months is Eggs.

teatimetreats

Drop scones

drop scones

One of the best things about owning an Aga is being able to cook drop scones at the drop of a hat. Of course you don’t need an Aga to make drop scones, a frying pan will do, but there is something so very satisfying about making them direct on the hot plate itself, which of course is always hot and ready to go.

These drop scones are incredibly easy and take literally minutes to prepare. They’re just as good for a teatime treat as they are a weekend breakfast, and the children adore them.

The recipe I use here is from The Aga Book by Aga supremo Mary Berry, although she calls hers Scotch pancakes.

Aga drop scones

Drop scones

Makes around 20

100g self-raising flour
25g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
150ml milk
Sunflower or vegetable oil for greasing.

Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the egg and half the milk. Mix well until it forms a thick batter and then mix in the rest of the milk.

Lightly grease the Aga simmering plate with a little oil, or grease a frying pan and place over a medium heat. When the fat is hot, use a tablespoon to carefully spoon the batter onto the plate or pan, spacing well apart. Cook for only around 30 seconds until tiny bubbles form on the surface, then use a spatula to turn them over. Cook again on the other side for another 30 seconds until golden brown.

Keep the drop scones warm until you’ve worked through all the batter and serve with whatever takes your fancy. We like ours with berries and either honey or golden syrup, or you might prefer a little butter and jam.

drop scones

Apple porridge

I often feel a bit of a hypocrite in the mornings as I make my daughters their porridge for breakfast. I’ve never been able to eat the stuff you see.

I love the idea of it; a big steaming bowl of hot porridge sounds the ideal way to set you up on a chilly day. And it’s just so good for you. You digest porridge slowly, so it fills you up for longer. High in fibre, oats are proven to prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol and boost serotonin.

My problem is the hot milk. I’m not good with hot, milky things and have never been able eat rice pudding or semolina. Even with hot chocolate I have to be in just the right mood, and it must be really good quality chocolate to distract me from the milk. And if there’s any skin on top – urrrgghh!

Lots of people have suggested ditching the milk and making porridge with water instead. But that’s always sounded rather mean and stingy to me. Then I came across an item in Runners World (can’t believe I mentioning that particular publication again!) which suggested using apple juice. Why had I never thought of that myself?

Porridge made with apple juice is my new favourite breakfast. It’s absolutely delicious and I feel just so virtuous eating it. I add currants, giving it a lovely crunchy fruitiness and mix in a little cinnamon, which of course goes so well with apple. Then I serve it with a decent dollop of yoghurt and a squeeze of runny honey. Perfect! The children like it too. But my husband’s a traditionalist and is sticking with his milk.

Apple porridge

Makes one large bowl

4og porridge oats
200ml apple juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Handful of currants
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
Honey

I don’t have that much time in the mornings, so I make my porridge in the microwave. Simply put the oats, juice, cinnamon and currants into a microwaveable bowl, give it a good mix and place in the microwave. Cook on medium power for a couple of minutes and then stir. Cook again for another two, maybe two and a half minutes, until you’ve got the porridgy consistency you’re after. I like mine pretty thick. Serve with a generous spoonful of yoghurt and lots of lovely honey. Yum!

Simple banana smoothie

Normally my children have pretty healthy appetites, so when they tell me they’re not hungry that’s a sure-fire sign they must be poorly.

Over the past couple of weeks both my girls have been a bit ill – and my husband too – and so I’ve turned to the good old smoothie to make sure I get some sustenance into them. Even when they’re feeling pretty grotty, they can generally manage a glass or two of smoothie.

Of course these smoothies are too good only to have when illness strikes and they’re a brilliant way to use up those over-ripe bananas. You can also add any soft fruit you happen to have in. We keep a bag of berries in the freezer and I like to chuck in a handful or two of those. But here’s the basic banana recipe.

Simple banana smoothie

Serves 4

3 or 4 bananas
4 tbsp plain or Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp runny honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 pints of cold milk

Chop the banana into a blender or smoothie maker and add the rest of the ingredients. Simply whizz up until smooth and serve to your patients.

What brunch dish will you bring to the Breakfast Club?

Breakfast Club: because breakfast should be more interesting than tea & toast or coffee & cereal.

During December, I am delighted to be hosting Breakfast Club, a bloggers challenge created by the very talented Helen at Fuss Free Flavours to encourage more creativity in the kitchen for that all important first meal of the day. I really hope you’ll join in the fun by entering a dish or two.

Let’s do brunch!

The theme for Breakfast Club this month is Brunch. According to Marge Simpson’s charming Casanova of a bowling instructor, the über smooth Jacques, brunch is…

…not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!

Brunch is my idea of a perfect breakfast. The kind of lazy breakfast you cook and eat at leisure on a relaxed Sunday, when you’re not in a rush to get to work or school. The kind of laid back breakfast you take your time over with a large pot of coffee and a selection of papers.

So no, not the kind of breakfast I get to eat all that often, but I always make sure I indulge when the opportunity presents itself. And a very good idea to have a stock of good brunch recipes up your sleeve for when it does.

It’s very easy to enter a brunch dish into this month’s Breakfast Club:

  • Email me with the URL for your brunch recipe blog post
  • Mention in your post you are entering your dish into Breakfast Club, include the logo above, and add links back to both this post and the Breakfast Club page at Fuss Free Flavours
  • Entries can be submitted to other events
  • You are welcome to enter old posts/recipes but they must be republished with the logo and links above
  • If you use Twitter please use #blogbreakfastclub and tweet your entry, and I’ll retweet everyone I see
  • The closing date is Friday 28 December 2012.

Hopefully, that all makes sense but if you do have any questions, please comment below. I can’t wait to see your entries!

Oh and before I forget, Helen at Fuss Free Flavours is always on the look out for new guest hosts for the Breakfast Club, and last month’s round up is here.

To get things started, I thought I’d give you my brunch recipe. I found it hard to choose which one as I have so many brunch favourites. I love pancakes and did think about entering these indulgent lemon and ricotta pancakes.

Or how about a more virtuous start to the day with some homemade granola?

But then I do also find it hard to resist a good fry up, but really – who needs a recipe for that? And so I’ve decided on…

The full English pizza

I know it sounds a little crazy. Or maybe a lot crazy. But this is a perfect and fun weekend brunch, particularly when you’ve had a few drinks the night before and need some stodge to sort you out. It’s essentially all the usual suspects you’d find in a cooked English breakfast but on top of a pizza. Gorgeous. And you probably won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.

I get up early to make the pizza dough. Then go back to bed for a bit with a cup of tea while the dough rises. But if that sounds to you like too much of a palaver, then ready-made pizza bases would make life a little easier.

Makes 4 pizzas

For the dough:

400g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
250ml luke warm water
1 tbsp olive oil

For the topping:

200g spinach
knob of butter
passata, about half a jar
4 pork sausages, grilled and sliced
4 rashers bacon, grilled and chopped
mozzarella, 2 x 250g balls
4 free range eggs

To make the pizza dough, put the flour, salt, dried yeast and oregano into a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Make a well in the middle and pour in the lukewarm water and oil. Gradually work the flour into the liquid, making a soft dough. If it’s too dry, add a drop more water. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.

Flour your surface before tipping the dough onto it. Knead the dough by stretching it away from you, then pulling back into a ball. Do this for five minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover loosely with cling film and put in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. This is when I retire back to bed for a while.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 or use the middle of the top oven of an Aga.

Uncover the risen dough and punch it back down. Flour the surface again and divide the dough into four balls. Stretch or roll out each ball until you have a thin circle about 22cm across. Place the pizzas onto slightly oiled baking sheets.

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the spinach and cook gently until wilted.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of passata onto each pizza, smoothing out with the back of the spoon. Spread some spinach over each base (squeeze out any excess butter), followed by the pieces of sausage and bacon, and finish with torn pieces of mozzarella. Be careful not to overload the centre of the pizza, where you’ll be cooking your egg later.

Bake the pizzas in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully break an egg into the middle of each pizza. Return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes until the white is just cooked but the yolk is still soft. Enjoy at your leisure!

December’s entries for Breakfast Club:

  1. Turkey, Cranberry & Stilton Christmas Brunch Muffins from Fuss Free Flavours
  2. Beet Greens & Red Pepper Frittata from On Top of Spaghetti
  3. White Chocolate &  Cranberry Christmas Cookies from Chez Foti
  4. Buck Rarebit from Credit Munched
  5. Courgette and Mushroom Omelette with Garlic and Parsley from Bangers & Mash
  6. Swiss Scrambled Eggs, Croissants and Shakes from Fabulicious Food
  7. Mushrooms on Rye Toast from The Garden Deli
  8. Minestrone Soup from Divine Foods Living
  9. Nduja Potato Cakes from Foodycat
  10. Christmas Breakfast Muffins from Elizabeth’s Kitchen
  11. Speculoos & Mascarpone Pancake Cake from Kavey Eats
  12. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Mondomulia
  13. Brunch Quesadillas – Fab Food 4 All

Granola – my favourite start to the day

Someone once told me that when you start making your own granola, you never go back to eating the shop bought stuff again. And how right they were. I made up my first batch at the start of the summer and I’ve been addicted ever since. Better still, your homemade version will probably contain a lot less sugar and fat.

OK so it’s essentially a sweeter take on muesli but it’s so much tastier. Plus when you make your own you can use all your favourite fruits and nuts. So you don’t like dates? No problem, replace them with apricots or prunes instead!

While my husband’s not a fan, the girls and I like to eat it in the morning with yoghurt and fresh fruit. They call it the crunchy stuff. Whatever you call it, it’s a lovely start to the day I reckon.

My recipe is based loosely on one I found in a Leon cookbook, although it changes every time I make it depending on what I happen to have in the store cupboard. This is how I made my latest stash…

Granola

200g rolled oats
125g sunflower seeds
75g honey
30ml sunflower oil
100g hazelnuts, chopped
100g flaked almonds
100g dried dates, chopped
125g sultanas
100g currants

Preheat oven to 190°C/gas mark 4.

Put the oats and sunflower seeds in a large bowl, pour in the honey and oil and mix together well so the oats and seeds are completely coated. Cover a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper and spread the oat mixture evenly across it. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the oats are golden.

Meanwhile dry fry the hazelnuts and almonds on the hob until they are ever so slightly browned and leave to one side to cool.

When the oats have cooled, pour into a bowl and combine with the hazelnuts, almonds, dates, sultanas and currants.

Store in a large airtight container – a kilner jar is perfect. The granola will keep for around a month.

Peanut butter and jelly super smoothie

I adore smoothies. They’re so easy to make and, for me, they constitute the perfect breakfast on those days when I don’t really fancy eating all that much. They’re great for kids when they’re feeling poorly and off their food. And this particular super smoothie, with the addition of oats, is an ideal post-run drink to give me a much-needed energy boost when I’m absolutely exhausted.

Peanut butter and jelly (jam to us Brits) is the most wonderful combination. I think I could probably live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I could get away with it. It also works really well in this super smoothie. With the oats and banana it makes for quite a substantial smoothie; pretty much a meal in a glass.

While I’d usually use milk and yoghurt in my smoothies, I’ve come up with this recipe for Blue Diamond using their unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk. It’s free of sugars and has less than half the calories of skimmed dairy milk and half the calories of soya milk, which makes it a great alternative for those wanting to avoid dairy and/or live a healthier lifestyle.

Peanut butter and jelly super smoothies

Makes two glasses

1 banana, peeled and roughly chopped
200g strawberries, hulled
60g rolled oats
3tbsp peanut butter
3tbsp strawberry jam
275ml Almond Breeze almond milk

Simply place all the ingredients in a liquidiser or smoothie maker and blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses and enjoy as a super healthy start to your day.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free sample of Almond Breeze so that I could develop a recipe for their competition.

The perfect Father’s Day breakfast: fried egg with garlic portobello mushroom on ciabatta

Here’s an easy way to put a smile on Dad’s face this Father’s Day (Sunday 17 June in the UK). Toasted ciabatta topped with a portobello mushroom baked in garlic butter and a heart-shaped fried egg. The perfect way to start the day; after a lie-in and a cup of tea in bed, of course.

To make the garlic butter simply crush a clove of garlic and mash into a decent knob of butter. Add some chopped, fresh parsley if you happen to have some. Smother this onto a portobello mushroom and bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

Cut a ciabatta roll in half and toast.

Place a handful of salad leaves in a bowl and toss with a little vinaigrette.

Fry an egg just how Dad likes it – sunny side up or over easy. I cooked mine in a cute heart-shaped frying pan or you could fry your egg as normal and then cut it out with a heart-shaped pasty cutter.

To assemble, simply place the ciabatta on a plate and cover with some dressed leaves. Carefully place the mushroom on top of the leaves and spoon over some more of the gorgeous garlic butter.

Finally, place the fried egg on top and serve, along with a copy of the Sunday papers. Enjoy!