Recipe share: Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds – a guest favourite at Sunflowers Bed and Breakfast, Gillingham, Dorset

This recipe, which currently appears on our Weekend Special Breakfasts menu, is inspired by a “traditional” (ie, made in a frying pan) French toast recipe from the mighty Jamie Oliver; his version contains pecan nuts rather than almonds and is fried, not baked.

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Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds (c) Sunflowers BnB Dorset

My ‘Sunflowers’ interpretation is made in advance, left overnight and then oven baked the following morning; it creates a beautifully light and fluffy “stuffed” dish and looks amazing when the bread starts to rise and puff up in the oven. I usually make an individual serving, as shown in the first photo, but to make it for two people, I’d make it in a 22cm diameter dish, as pictured in the second photo.

(This image shows a two person serving of my Orange Croissant Baked French Toast –  another very popular Weekend Special; please comment below if you’d like me to share this recipe!)

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Orange Croissant French Toast (c) Sunflowers BnB Dorset

Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds is extremely popular as a Weekend Special and I’ve been repeatedly asked for the recipe by both guests and social media followers, so here it is – my own version of:

Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds

Serves two

8 small slices of white sliced bread (use gluten-free bread to make this GF friendly)
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
50g flaked almonds
Honey
4 large eggs
2 cups of full fat milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Oil or butter to grease the baking dish

To serve: crème fraiche, maple syrup, fresh berries

The night before:

Select an oven-proof baking dish measuring 22cms in diameter. Use a small brush and oil or melted butter to coat the inside to prevent the bread sticking.

Take your 8 small slices of bread and spread each slice with honey.  Add the sliced banana to 4 of the slices, then sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Top each slice with a slice of bread in order to make 4 sandwiches. Cut each one into four triangles.

To make the custard: beat together 4 eggs, then add the milk and cinnamon and beat again.

Arrange the 16 mini sandwich triangles in your baking dish, then pour the egg custard mixture over, making sure that all the bread is completely covered. Use a fork to press the bread down. Cover with foil and refrigerate.

The next morning:

Remove the dish from the ‘fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan. Remove the foil and then bake in the oven for 45 minutes, taking care in the last 15 minutes that the top of the bread doesn’t scorch – if this is looking likely, loosely cover the dish with foil.

Serve with separate small dishes of crème fraiche, maple syrup and your choice of fresh berries.

Like the look of this? Request it when you book!

Vegetarian, dairy-free or gluten-free breakfasts in Gillingham, Dorset? No problem!

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Congratulations!

Last weekend,  we were honoured to play host to Sally, Chris and their blended family upon the occasion of Sally and Chris’s Gillingham wedding – here are the bride and groom, standing outside ‘Sunflowers’ before they left for the Town Hall!

(Incidentally,  in the language of flowers, sunflowers represent “longevity” – I’ve always thought that this was a lovely sentiment to be connected to a marriage and so when Steve and I got married,  we gave each of our guests a small packet of sunflower seeds and asked them to plant them and send us the pictures; we were lucky enough to receive photos of sunflowers grown in many different gardens for quite a few years.)

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Gluten and dairy free raspberry and lemon cake

Sally and Chris are also gluten, dairy and soya free,  so I was able to flex my breakfast muscles and make sure that our breakfasts were suitable for them.  This meant serving up gluten free bread, non-dairy spread, almond milk and coconut yoghurt,  as well as my home made fruit compote. And because I love to bake,  I also tried my hand at a dairy and gluten free cake which I served upon arrival – it’s a raspberry and lemon cake from the book Simply Nigella and it was really good. I’ve never made a dairy free cake before but this recipe was both delicious and very easy – I will definitely make it again and may try it as a different variant next time, perhaps with blueberries and orange?

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Good morning!

My standard breakfasts are all vegetarian,  but sausage or bacon may sometimes make an appearance (although can very easily be substituted or replaced) in one of the “Special Breakfasts” which I enjoy whipping up from time to time. Check out my Facebook album for more  food photos to tempt you and whet your appetite.

So, when you book your Dorset bed and breakfast stay with us,  please do let us know if you have food allergies or preferences – I’m sure I’ll be able to prepare something delicious for your breakfast!

How to make limoncello

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Home made limoncello

Continuing the blog theme of cooking with fruit … I am currently in the process of making my own limoncello, both to use as an ingredient in cocktails at home and to bottle to give away as Christmas presents.

Limoncello has always been one of my favourite liqueurs – it’s a lovely, lemon infused spirit, which is Italian in origin and can be used in lots of ways. I love it as a drink and my mum uses it to make an absolutely delicious blueberry and lemon tart (I’ll post the recipe here if enough people ask me to!).

I  decided to have a go at making it myself after I had trouble finding it in the supermarket – “how hard can it be?” I  thought. And sure enough,  it is quite straightforward; you just need time and patience.

Taking a Very Sharp Peeler,  all you do is zest about a dozen lemons and then leave the peelings to marinate in vodka for as long as possible. I set mine to infuse on November 5th and the jars pictured here are now sitting peacefully in a dark cupboard, allowing alcohol and alchemy to turn them into limoncello. In about a week’s time,  I will strain the liquid and then complete the process outlined here to add sugar syrup and bottle the resulting sunshiney liqueur.

So, any guests who visit us after Christmas – ask to try my home made limoncello.  As we say in Ireland: slainte!

 

 

How to make Dorset Apple Cake

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Dorset Tea

Apples are so plentiful at this time of the year that they are often given away for free! Many of my neighbours have a basket of windfall apples available at their gate,  with a sign inviting passers by to help themselves.

One of our beautiful county’s most famous recipes is for Dorset Apple Cake – I often like to serve it to my guests upon arrival,  accompanied (of course) by a pot of lovely Dorset Tea.  It’s delicious served either cold or warm, with a dollop of whipped or clotted cream.

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Dorset Apple Cake – pairs beautifully with – everything!

My friend Debbie posted this fantastic photo of her homemade Dorset Apple Cake on her @platespotsandpans Instagram feed the other day and I’m sharing it here with her permission. She used a recipe from Delicious magazine and the ingredients you will need are:

  • 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 450g Bramley apples
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 225g caster sugar, plus extra for dredging
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

The rest of the recipe is here – thanks, Debbie!