A Twist on toast and the joys of a good breakfast.

A wise person once said, ” The child is the father of man”. I’d like to agree. Most of the things we learn or do as kids tend to stay back with us as adults. At times, even going so far as to shaping us to be the persons we are. For me, one such experience is not skipping breakfast. As far as I can remember even as a kid, I never skipped breakfast. A practice that continues till date. The good thing about breakfast was it had a lot of variety and that made it exciting; so while lunch and dinner were the usual rice, fish curry and stuff, breakfast was more gregarious. So on one day we’d have chapattis, on an other day it would be south Indian like dosas, idlis or upmas, at times even chicken or mutton puffs from the neighbourhood bakery at Bandra.

On a personal front, I always prefer something savory for breakfast, I am not someone with a big sweet tooth. I remember mum making something called French Toast for us. I liked french toast but being sweet, it was slightly off putting to have in the mornings. Now, french toast need no introduction. For the uninitiated, French toast are neither a french invention nor are they toast from the toast’s texture point of view. It is also colloquially called German toast or Bombay toast. Legend has it that cooks in the medieval times were strictly instructed to make sure nothing from the pantry goes waste, and hence came up with this novel way to make use of old, stale bread. I’m not certain how true it is , but I am not complaining for sure.

I had mentioned earlier on that I didn’t really like the sweeter version of the french toast and I had been toying with the idea of a savory french toast for some time. So, on a longish weekend I decided I would give it a try. My notes, read something like this: Eggs, milk, Seasoning, some cheese, ham or salami. Though cheese and Salami arent part of the original recipe, it was my twist so that breakfast could be oomphed up that day. I went ahead and added a side of fries to be a bit more devilish.

Breakfast that day was everything your cardiologist would warn you against. Sinful, if i may add; but you dont get redemption without the sin,right.

Here’s what I made it.

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French Toast with Cheese and Salami

  • 16 slices of bread (preferably, a day old)
  • 8 slices of ham or salami
  • 8 slices of cheese
  • 3 medium sized eggs
  • 250 ml milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped.
  • Oil/ Ghee/ Butter for frying
  • some milk (for helping the bread stick)

For the side of Potatoes:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

To Make the french toast:

  • Trim off the edges of the bread and keep aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk the egg and milk together till they’re combined well. Season with Salt, pepper and chillies and keep aside.
  • Add the oil /ghee/ Butter in a pan and let it heat on a medium flame.
  • Now, take a bread; place the cheese slice on the bread and then the ham or salami and keep it over the cheese slice.
  • Take some of the milk we kept aside and slightly wet the edges of the bread
  • Place another slice of bread on this and gently press the edges so the stick to one another.
  • Gently lift the bread and dip in the eggs and milk mixture. The mixture should coat the bread just enough but should not make the bread soggy.
  • Now, add the soaked bread to the frying pan and fry till golden brown on either side.

For the potatoes:

  • Pressure cook the potatoes for a whistle and half, till they are about 80% done.
  • Peel them and cut them in wedges and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry till reddish brown and crisp.

 

Brioche Buns- When I bake and it comes of well!

Considering how busy professional life is these days, my daily routine is more or less fixed.  I am happy to say that more recently, exercise has found its way into my daily regime.  But from the earliest time, there part of my routine that is non negotiable and that is breakfast. So, whether it is the simple soul saving South Indian Idli/ dosa and Chutney or the lavish emperor style, bread, ham eggs and beans. I am a self confessed breakfast addict. Safely, I can say it is my fuel for the day.

Another memory that I have is of my Sunday breakfast as a kid in Bandra. After being woken up or almost being kicked out bed for the early childrens mass and the catechism class, the eldest sibling would be handed a crisp 10 rupee note (yes! 10 was a lot in those days) to buy bread from the family’s favorite bakery; usually Jude or A1. Once home, these would be slathered generously with butter or if some uncle was on holiday from the gulf, the triangular cubes of Kraft’s cheese would be consumed with tea.

Today’s post is about two of my favorite things. Breakfast and buns. Now, if you have followed the blog you will know how much of a bugbear baking is for me. While cakes yet remain the final frontier, thankfully, breads have behaved fairly well. After the focaccia, i was a bit enthused and decided to go a step further and experimented with enriched bread. The process if making these buns is similar to making breads, but the inner texture is richer and more cake like. This is due to the addition of enriching agents eggs and butter. When I decided to make brioche, I searched the internet and came up with almost a 1000 recipes. The novice baker in me was confused, almost demotivated. Then, i picked and chose a few recipes which seemed convincing. I studied the proportions and worked up a recipe that seemed workable. In that sense, this may not be the most authentic brioche recipe; but it is something i am convinced about. The test batch came out successful. Then, last Sunday, I experimented full scale. Once again, the outcome was brilliant, crisp crumb on the outside and a soft as a baby’s bum inner texture. As if by divine connivance, we skipped tea and opted for a coffee that Sunday and the butter made way for a delicious strawberry jam.  Perfect, almost the best sunday breakfast.

That was followed by a super lunch which I will tell you in the coming post.

Till then, enjoy have the buns and make sure not to ever skip breakfast.

Brioche Buns

 

Brioche Buns

Ingredients:

  • 800 grams All purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Active dry yeast + 1 teaspoon sugar + 100 ml warm water.
  • 3 eggs+ 1 egg egg white mixed with water for brushing.
  • 60 grams butter
  • some milk
  • Salt to taste

Procedure:

  • Activate the yeast by combining it with the sugar and warm water. Leave aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt together. Now make a well in the center and add the yeast solution and milk. Knead  till it just about comes together. Add water little by little.
  • Add in eggs, one by one and bring it together. It will be a soft but workable dough.
  • Now add in the butter and knead. At this point, your dough will start to snap into pieces. Its absolutely fine. Keep kneading till you form a nice pliable dough.
  • Once done, cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place to prove. This will need about and hour to an hour and half.
  • Once the dough has risen, knock it back gently, and deflate it. Then, give it a knead for about 10-12 mins. Meanwhile preheat the oven for 15 mins.
  • Once kneaded, form about 12 even sized balls of the dough. Pinch a small piece of each ball and place it aside.
  • Carefully lay each piece into a brioche mould and place the small piece on the top.
  • Lay these aside for a while and allow them to rise for about 30 mins. They should be double in size.
  • Now use a brush and brush the breads with the mixture of egg white and water.
  • Bake for 25 -30 mins at 150 C
  • Once done, demould and set on a wire rack to cool for another hour or so.
  • Now, dont wait any longer. Have with coffee and jam.

Pineapple Sheera (Pineapple Flavored Semolina Pudding)

I have been a great believer in the ‘never-skip-breakfast’ theory. The credit for this goes to my mum, who made sure that my sister and me had our breakfast before setting out for school, college or work. Although, I personally prefer the Indian variety like chappati, upma or dosa; the continental variety like ham, sausage etc. is eaten with equal élan. The only thing is that it should be piping hot and accompanied by an equally hot cup of tea. That’s all that is required to get my day started.

Among the Indian breakfast variety, upma is the most preferred. Upma is primarily a sort a savory made from semolina (rava), onions, peas and seasoned with coconut. The sweeter version of the upma is called Sheera. This is usually made with ghee and generously seasoned with dry fruits. Another version of the Sheera is the “Pineapple Sheera”, which makes to the blog today. This recipe was actually made by my sister (who by the way has a whole set of sweet teeth). Though personally, I am not a sweets person, I particularly liked this version since it contained my favorite fruit the pineapple. This is one sweet that I didn’t mind taking 3 servings; drop in a few dry fruits and you have a combination that is quick, easy and liked by everyone.

Pineapple Sheera

Pineapple Sheera (My Sisters Style)

Ingredients:-

  • 1 Large cup semolina (rava)
  • ½ cup pineapple puree (*Refer Note 1 below)
  • ½ cup pineapple pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water (slightly hot)
  • ½ tablespoons cardamom powder
  • Few Assorted nuts (Rasins, Cashews, Pistachios)
  • Few drops of pineapple essence
  • A little butter

Method:-

  • In a non-stick pan, heat butter; add the pineapple puree and the pineapple pieces. Let this cook for a while. Then add some sugar and mix well. Keep aside and allow cooling.
  • In another pan, add the ghee & roast the nuts. Now take out the nuts and add semolina. Cook till the semolina has turned brown. Once it turns brown add the milk and hot water. Cook till the semolina has absorbed the milk and water. Add the sugar and stir.
  • Now, add the pineapple puree and pieces while reducing the flame to low. Lastly, add the pineapple essence and cardamom powder the roasted nuts and stir well.
  • Serve hot with a cup of coffee.

Notes

  1. To make the pineapple puree
  • Clean the pineapple and chop the flesh roughly discard the center portion of the pineapple.
  • Grind this to a fine puree in the mixer and add a teaspoon of sugar for that bit of glaze.
  1. We add sugar to the puree when cooking so that just incase the pineapple is sour; the sugar coats it renders it sweet.

 

Pineapple Sheera3

 

Sanna’s (Steamed Rice Buns)

In my post about pork sorpotel, I had mentioned about sanna being the perfect accompaniment to it (pork sorpotel). Hence, that post would be incomplete without the post on sanna’s. Frankly, I intended doing this post immediately after that one; but somehow it remained saved in my drafts until I could almost hear the pork sorpotel crying for an accompaniment and I realised it was time to do this post.

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Sanna’s (pronunced ‘Sun- naa’) are Mangalore’s version of the South Indian Idli. Although idlis are smaller in size and rougher in texture. Sanna’s are slightly bigger in height and smoother to the touch. I’m sure every Manglorean would have fond memories have fond memories of having eaten them at roce (pre-wedding) functions and at weddings. But that’s not all. As an absolutely healthy option, you could eat them (and as many as you want) for breakfast, lunch or dinner and not feel guilty about adding calories. Believe you me, they taste is awesome if you’re having it with chutney, an exquisite gravy or simply dunking it into a cup of tea.

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The trick to making Sanna’s is getting the batter right. A lot of people use yeast as a fermenter; but my mum (from whom I learnt this recipe) never uses it but the result is the same nevertheless. Adding a handful of  Poha (puffed rice) is the secret to make the sanna’s softer and fluffier.

Well, I don’t think I should make you wait any longer and start with the recipe.

Sanna’s (Steamed rice buns)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Boiled rice (also called as Parboiled rice)
  • 1/4 cup Urad dal (Split Black Gram Dal)
  • 1 fistful puffed rice (poha)
  • salt to taste (about 1 level tsp for the above mentioned quantity)
  • sugar to taste (around 1 teaspoon)

Procedure:

  • Soak the rice and Urad dal together for at least 6hours (preferably overnight).
  • Next, grind both it together (along with the poha) to a thick batter. The consistency should be thick, but you should be able to pour it easily. Transfer to a bowl large enough to accommodate the batter as it would rise during fermentation.
  • After the batter ferments, add salt to the batter. Pour water in a large steamer and bring to a boil. Keep the moulds ready and pour upto 3/4th full. Keep the moulds in the steamer and allow steaming for 10 minutes.
  • Once done demould and allow to cool for a while.
  • Serve with chutney or pork sorpotel.

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Keep smiling and happy cooking