Pat’s Sydney Sider Breakfast

Yesterday morning, I was lucky enough to witness an Aussie in his natural kitchen habitat. Doing what, you ask? Creating the most intricate breakfast feast I’ve seen since I had an Ulster Fry (and figured out what black pudding was– the hard way). While I often get to reap the culinary benefits of having this food wizard as a flatmate, Pat’s “Sydney Sider Breakfast” was out of this world! Forced on principal to grab my camera before chowing down like a madwoman, this breakfast is as delicious as it looks! Thanks Pat!!!

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Pat’s Sydney Sider Breakfast.

Serves about 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 truss tomatoes, on the vine
  • 8 large brown mushrooms
  • 3 avocados
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt

Directions

1.Peel avocados and mash in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, a large pinch of salt, a dash of pepper and olive oil and mix together to taste. Set aside

2.In a large skillet, cook tomatoes and mushrooms over medium high heat with a dash of oil, stirring occasionally until lightly crisp.

3. Meanwhile, begin to poach eggs using your preferred method (for me, I like to use the old measuring-cup-in-water-bath-method [you can read about it here!] but the old trick of cracking them in boiling water with vinegar works just as well!)

4.While eggs are poaching, slice bread into thick slices and toast ’em.

5. When ready to serve, spread toast generously with the avocado. Top the toast with a poached egg and add a few tomatoes and mushrooms on the side. Enjoy!

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Home is where the French Toast is.

Sometimes we all feel out of place even if we go somewhere of which we’re sure we’ll fit in this time. That people will totally “get” you, understand you, like the same mélange of music, think it’s cool you take your coffee with a bit of cinnamon sugar rather than cream and totally get the fact that you rarely finish a book because you’d rather learn something new than finish something for good.

Unfortunately, I’ve come to conclude that while this place sounds real good on paper, it might not exist all of the time

Even if you’ve found it, this dream place might not last either because the people could change or you may change or maybe a little bit of both or, you know, the place gets hit by a random space rock that destroys most of the town and even though the people are fine everyone has to move away anyways for fear of space bugs. It could happen.

Coming to Switzerland did a little of this for me I think. While not in a bad way, all I wanted to do was leave the States for a long, long while. Maybe I read too much and didn’t finish enough books to realize that adventure doesn’t necessarily mean, well, permanence.  I thought in coming here I would leave my weird American roots behind for good, I’d learn to pronounce a few things correctly and drop my occasional Texan drawl, I’d escape past events I wasn’t proud of or people I still hadn’t fully forgiven, and most importantly, I’d cook all these new crazy, beautiful dishes with my spare time because of my new “European” way of living. So posh and pensive, right?

All of this is actually hilarious because since I’ve been here, the only thing that’s been on my mind more than some great ribeye with a side of mashed potatoes or someone that’ll talk about baseball with me is my mom’s French Toast.

Growing up, this was my personal breakfast of champions. I could take on anything with a belly full of French Toast­– tests over fractions and decimals, piano recitals, soccer games. I could go to a friend’s house and have their mom’s French Toast or try to order it in a restaurant but of course it wouldn’t be the same because it wasn’t my mamas.

Don’t get me wrong– I absolutely love it here. I love that great skiing is just a train ride away, the history, the cool cobblestoned streets and window shutters, the fact that people in their cars actually stop for pedestrians at cross walks and that freshly baked bread is a stone’s throw away.

But sometimes it takes leaving home to figure out exactly where it is and the people that make it up. And while the French Toast I make over here is pretty good, it’ll never compare to that delicious breakfast dripping with maple syrup and cinnamon that can only be found in my mama’s kitchen.

Mama Smith’s French Toast

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk (non-dariy works fine!)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 8 thick slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and extra cinnamon to serve

Directions

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and sugar in a medium sized bowl. When finished, pour the mixture into a shallow bowl or container (my mom always used long, rectangular Tupperware for better bread coverage)

2. Melt butter over a large skillet on medium high heat. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, for a few seconds on each side and add to the skillet. Cook until lightly brown on both sides, flipping the bread when necessary.

3. Serve with ample amount of maple syrup, powdered sugar, cinnamon and, of course, love!

Yield: Serves 4-6

Spiced Banana Coffee Cake

Hello World!

It’s me again (quelle surprise!!!!) broadcasting from Lausanne where things are gettin’ chilly. I’m talking leggings-under-your-tights-under-your-jeans type stuff, at least for me. (When it comes to the cold, I wimp out faster than a Chihuahua who accidentally found himself on an elite dog mushers team delivering milk in rural Alaska.) However, the one good thing about cold weather is the opportunity to craft yummy and delicious things in the kitchen, which also provides an excuse to stay indoors. Take this banana streusel coffee cake for example: good enough for breakfast…..dessert….. all the time. 24/7. Infinite coffee cake.

Some pals and I have a little dinner rotation going during the week and, as yesterday was my night to cook, I made this cake for the grand finale. We had some perfectly speckled bananas lying around and I figured, why put them to waste?! (I get pretty picky when it comes to the texture of bananas I’m willing to eat and I always feel awful throwing them away and rejecting them. Problem solved!)

To spice things up a bit, you could replace the 3 mashed bananas in this recipe with anything else of a similar density or texture for an entirely new cake. Pumpkin purée, sour cream, chocolate pudding- the choice is yours!!!

Spiced Banana Coffee Cake 

For the cinnamon streusel:

  • 2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown or cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons brown or cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup smashed bananas (about 3)

Directions:

1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (around 180°C) and grease a medium sized loaf pan or 9 inch cake pan.

2. For the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.

3. For the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the bananas. Mix until just combined and slowly add in the flour mixture.

4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Top with the rest of the batter and remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and serve!