Artisan Bread, Blood Oranges, Breakfast in Bed, Brunch, cinnamon, Eggs, Eggy Bread, February, Firehouse Bakery, French Toast, Gubbeen Bacon, irish food, Irish Food Producers, maple syrup, organic food, Organic Supermarket, Romantic Food, Sternberg's Organic Spices, Valentine's Day, Vanilla
This is of course more of a weekend recipe but I thought I would post it today anyway as I have been very behind on my posts here on the blog.
In case you haven’t heard, I have been writing for Beaut.ie – Ireland’s best beauty website. I’ve been writing healthy recipes to keep you inspired with all those New Year’s resolutions. I’ve also been reviewing some of the best places for healthy, delicious and nutritious food in Dublin and further afield. You can find all of my articles here. I’m really enjoying it and hope it continues into the rest of the year!
I was debating whether to call this recipe Eggy Bread or French Toast. Growing up Eggy Bread, as we called it, was a favourite of mine. Back then we made it with sliced white pan, lots of black pepper and Irish breakfast sausages. It became my go to recipe after many a late night – in fact it became a tradition to bring my friends home after a night out and make up a huge batch to share. Perfect late night or early morning feast food! Guaranteed to half your hangover the next day!
It was only in my late teens that I discovered the joys of real maple syrup and it was later still that I branched out and started making it with better quality bread. This recipe has evolved a lot over the years. I now make it with smoky Gubbeen bacon and the best quality white bread I can get. I wouldn’t really use sourdough for this – you really need a fluffy, soft white bread that will soak up as much of the custardy liquid as possible. My new favourite soft white bread is the Firehouse Bakery’s Buttermilk Batch. It is divine! Try and use slightly stale bread – day old is fine. If you can’t wait, I suggest slicing the bread and putting it in the oven on the lowest possible temperature for a few minutes to help dry it out.
The eggs you use are also very important. I’m lucky to be able to get the most delicious organic farm eggs from the Supernatural Food Market on Pearse St, but they are like gold dust and it is first come first served. Buy organic or free range at the very least. I prefer O’Eggs if I can’t get my farmers market ones. You can buy them in lots of supermarkets around the country. They are very good quality, and you can even get pure white eggs, a novelty here in Ireland, in a pink box (plus part of the proceeds go towards Action Breast Cancer). I think they are better than most organic supermarket eggs, which are very overpriced.
Anyway on to the recipe! This will serve 2 hungry, or at least 2 greedy people…
4 thick slices of best quality soft white bread, slightly stale
3 large eggs
100ml milk – I use whole milk but skimmed is fine too
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 tbsp flavourless oil like sunflower or grapeseed
20 g butter
smoked streaky bacon – the best quality you can find
pure maple syrup
If you haven’t done it already, slice your bread into thick slices.
I used Steenberg’s Organic Vanilla Extract, which is more like a paste, but any good quality vanilla extract is fine.
I used golden caster sugar, but any caster or granulated sugar will do.
Please excuse the artsy, super blurry shot – I couldn’t resist!!
In a large oven dish or shallow bowl, lay out your slices of bread.
Pour over the custardy mixute and turn the bread over a few times. Leave it to soak up all of the liquid. Depending on the staleness of the bread, this may take just a few minutes or slightly longer.
Fry the bacon in the oil in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan over medium high heat until crispy and delicious.
Pour off most of the fat into a heatproof dish. I use a ramekin. Save this fat for roasting potatoes or even for basting roast chicken!
Turn the heat down to medium. Add half the butter and wait until it foams and starts to brown.
Add two slices of the bread – depending on the bread it may be very delicate at this stage so use a spatula the lift it into the pan if you need to.
Fry gently until it’s browned well but not too dark, then flip carefully and continue to cook until it’s golden and crisp on both sides. This should take about 2-3 minutes a side. You want to make sure it’s not browning too quickly, otherwise the egg inside won’t have time to cook. Transfer to a warm plate and keep it in the oven on low (about 50 C) with the bacon. Add the other half of the butter and repeat with the rest of the bread.
Serve immediately with the bacon and generous drizzle of maple syrup. I decided to add some freshly squeezed blood orange juice and French Press coffee. If that isn’t the perfect weekend brunch I’ll eat my hat!
This is so simple and easy to make, you can whip up a batch in about 15 minutes. It won’t win any low calorie awards, but you can always walk it off afterwards…
With Valentine’s Day coming up very soon, I highly recommend you make this for your loved one. It’s the perfect meal for a romantic breakfast in bed. Just make sure you take the time to find the best quality eggs, bread and bacon you can afford – it will make all the difference. Enjoy!
PS how beautiful is that blood orange juice?! I wish we could get them all year around but I fully intend to make the most of them now while they’re in season! Look out for them in your local greengrocer or ask your local supermarket to get them in – they are exquisite!