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Pain Perdu with Clotted Cream & Berries

Pain Perdu with Clotted Cream & Berries

I really love simple things . . .  time and time again, I am reminded that it is the simple things in life which truly are the best . . .  things like the sound of rain falling on the roof when I am laying all toasty warm in my bed, or the smell of roses, or the sound of the dawn chorus when I wake up in the morning.  All simple things, and all things which money can't buy and that we, more often than not, take for granted.

Its the same with food  . . .  it is often the simple things we eat which bring us the most pleasure.  Things like the crisp and sticky skin of a perfectly roasted chicken, tasting of salt and pepper and, well . . .  chicken. Properly baked potatoes with crispy skins and fluffy insides, broken open and topped with a pat of butter along with some salt and pepper . . .

A crisp grilled cheese sandwich, golden brown and cut into fingers, dipped into hot tomato soup on a rainy day . . . the smell of beans baking in the oven, or . . .  and this is the best of all, the smell of a freshly baked loaf of bread, and then a slice of it still warm, with cold butter melting into it . . . 

See???  Simple things . . .

Slices of sweet and  rich brioche bread, soaked in a mix of cream, eggs and sugar, and then gilded until golden brown in a buttery hot pan  . . .

Ddshed up and served warm on china plates  . . .  topped with  dollops of  ice cold clotted cream  . . . rich Cornish clotted cream  . . . scattered with fresh berries and dusted with icing sugar . . .

the heat of that golden eggy brioche melting that cold clotted cream until it runs in milky buttery rivulets  . . . deliciously down over those golden buttery crisp edges of bread . . .

pooling into delicious little puddles . . . rich and creamy  . . . so good with the sweet/tartness of those cold fresh berries . . .

Oh yes, it IS definitely the simple things in life which bring us the most pleasure, especially when you are sharing them with the people you love.  You really can not beat them . . . you really can't . . . 

*Pain Perdu with Clotted Cream & Berries*
Serves 4

Dessert of breakfast. You decide.  You are sure to love it either way and so is your family.
150ml double cream (5 ounces heavy cream)
2 large free range eggs, plus 1 large free range egg yolk
2 TBS caster sugar (fine granulated sugar)
8 medium slices of brioche bread
55g unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup)
icing sugar to dust
175g fresh raspberries (1/3 pound)
clotted cream to serve

Whisk together the eggs, cream and sugar.  Cut the brioche slices in half diagonally.  Dip the first two slices into the egg mixture and leave to sit for a few minutes.

Melt a knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan until it begins to foam.  Add the slices of soaked brioche and cook first on one side until golden brown and then on the other. (while you are cooking them, you can be soaking the others.  Repeat the soaking and cooking until it is all golden brown, keeping the browned slices warm in a low oven until you are done.

To serve divide the toast between four plates, topping each with a dollop of clotted cream and a handful of raspberries.  Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

This is fabulous, even made with ordinary bread. Just make sure you choose a bread with a soft crust.  Your family will love it, wether you choose to have it for breakfast or for dessert.  Either way, its the bomb!  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Jammy Buns

Jammy Buns

I wanted to bake Todd a treat today and I had spied this recipe in a baking book of mine which I have had for a very long time, entitled, "Cakes" by Gina Speer.  Its a really good book.  Nothing I have ever baked from it has been a dud.  Its a rare book that you can say that about! 

Its filled with lots of recipes for everything from biscuits (cookies) to scones, to muffins, cakes,  and a whole lot more.  I  am a naughty puppy in that I turn the corners over on pages in my cookbooks if I find a recipe that I want to try out at some point  . . .  and this book has a corner turned on almost every page.

I was thinking they would be like a cookie . . .  despite the fact that the recipe was in section entitled "Buns and Bite Sized Cakes."  The picture was what drew me . . .  they looked like nice puffy jam cookies.

The dough was quite a stiff dough, but I used my hands and it came together beautifully.  I shaped it into a log and then divided it into twelve equal bits, which I then rolled into balls as per recipe instructions.  After that you make an indentation in them and drop in a bit of jam. She recommended seedless raspberry, but all I had was seeded raspberry.  Not a problem.  They were not the most beautiful cakes in the world however  . . .

But as women, we all know that a little bit of lippy (or a dusting of icing sugar in this case) always lights up even the dullest composure!

These are very good, and more than a bit wholesome, with the use of both plain and wholemeal (wholewheat) flours.  The wholemeal flour gives them an almost nutty flavour . . .

There are also dried cranberries in the mix  . . .  I chopped them to make them a bit smaller and more evenly distributed throughout.  Worked beautifully.

They have a buttery, almost pastry like texture . . .  like a cross between a biscuit and a scone . . .

That touch of jam is perfect on these . . .  I could not resist eating one while they were still warm . . .  with some cold milk, but I think they would go equally as well with a hot cuppa of whatever you like to drink.  These were not a cookie, but nobody was disappointed.

*Jammy Buns*
Makes 12 
These are like a cross between a pastry and a scone.  Very delicious!  Enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk or a hot cuppa for a real teatime treat! 

175g plain flour (1 1/4 cups)
175g wholemeal flour (1 1/4 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
150g butter, cut into bits (2/3 cup)
125g caster sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
50g dried cranberries (1/3 cup) chopped
1 large free range egg, beaten
1 TBS milk
4 to 5 TBS raspberry jam
icing sugar to dust (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Butter a large baking sheet and set aside.  (Alternately, line with baking paper.) 

Sift both flours into a bowl along with the baking powder.  Tip any grains remaining in the seive into the bowl.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cut the butter into pieces and drop into the flour mixture.  Rub in with your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling coarse bread crumbs.  Stir in the sugar and cranberries.  Stir in the beaten egg and milk to make a stiff dough. (Get in there with your hands. You might think its not going to happen, but it does.)  Divide into 12 equal bits and roll each bit into a ball. 

Place the balls, leaving plenty of space in between for expansion. Press your thumb down into the centre of each to make a hole.  Drop a llittle jam into each. (Don't be tempted to overfill as the jam will spill out if you do.)  

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  Scoop off onto a wire rack to cool.   

If desired, dust with some icing sugar to serve. 

You know, when these first came out of the oven I thought . . . ugh . . .ugly buns, but with a dusting of icing sugar they perked right up and the flavour was actually really nice.  These have turned into another favourite in our home.  I hope you'll give them a try.  I guarantee you won't be sorry if you do! Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Lizi's Granola Scones

Lizi's Granola Scones

This coming Monday will be Saint George's Day.  All of the beautiful countries in the United Kingdom have a Patron Saint and the Patron Saint of England (where I live) is Saint George! St George's Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. The tradition of celebration St George's day had waned by the end of the 18th century after the union of England and Scotland. These days it barely gets a nod, except in certain circles, but I, for one, think that it is the perfect day to celebrate our "Englishness," and what better way to do that than by baking up some lovely scones.   There are not many more things English than a warm scone smothered with jam and cream!

These scones are particularly lovely, with lots of wholesome nuggets of granola throughout, along with a healthy studding of dried black currants. (Oh we do love our black currants here in the UK!)

The Granola I chose to use today was Lizi's award winnig Granola. Lizi's products supply wholesome food that deliver sustained energy and protein throughout the day.

They are GL tested to give you confidence not only on the nutritional benefits but also the effect on your body.  With continual development they have launched Granola in convenience packs to help with busy lifestyles but always with a conscience that has driven us to develop varieties such as our low sugar.

All Lizi’s Granolas are:
  • 100% Natural Ingredietnts
  • No GMO’s
  • No added salt
  • Dairy-free, wheat-free recipes*
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans (no honey)
  • Low glycaemic – GL labelled – good for blood sugar control
(*with the exception of on-the-go which includes lactose free milk powder.)

Its available in a variety of flavours such as the Original, Passionfruit & Pistachio,  Treacle & Pecan, Mango & Macadamia, Belgian Chocolate, Pink Apple & Cinnamon, Low Sugar, High Protein, Gluten Free and Organic.  The Original and Low Sugar are also available in portion packs of 10.  To find out more be sure to check out their page. I love them!

Today I used their low sugar variety, as I figured with the sugar and honey in the recipe, they didn't need a whole lot more sugar, and it was the perfect choice!

I decided to pull out all the stops today and got out my best tea cloth  . . . my Katie Lizzie cups and saucers, tea plates and my pedestal cake stand . . .

Nothing but the best for these beautiful scones, which you are sure to love  . . .

Not too sweet, but lovely, buttery and short, almost like a pastry  . . . 

Studded with lovely dried black currants, and the granola . . .  make sure you use a free flowing type of granola.  You don't want one which has huge nuggets in it.  Lizi's is perfect for this.  It is filled with lots of seeds like sunflower and pumpkin as well, adding even more interest . . .

Fruity jam and clotted cream are a must!  (If you can't get the clotted cream, you can use softly whipped cream.) I favour berry jam . . .  strawberry or raspberry  . . .

I like to spread the cream on first . . .

topping it with the jam . . .

Wars have broken out over which is the proper way  . . .  cream or jam first  . . .  to me it doesn't matter.  Just so long as there is cream and jam! 

*Lizi's Granola Scones*
Makes 8
There is nothing more English than a warm scone smothered in jam and clotted cream. 

280g plain flour (2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
50g caster sugar (1/4 cup, fine sugar)
115g fridge cold butter (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
120ml double cream (1/2 cup)
2 TBS honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g dried currants (1/2 cup)
125g granola (1/2 cup)
1 TBS double cream for brushing 

To serve:
Clotted cream or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. (180*fan)  Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. 

Sift the flour into a bowl along with the baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into small bits and drop into the flour mixture.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling bread crumbs. (althernately you can do this in the food processor.) Stir in 2/3 of the granola and the currants.  Mix together the cream, egg, honey and vanilla.  Add all at once to the dry mixture and mix together to make a soft craggy dough.   

Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a round about 8 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut into 8 wedges.  Transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space in between each. Brush the top of each lightly with cream and sprinkle with some of the remaing granola. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until well risen and golden brown. 

To serve split in half and serve with clotted cream and jam. 

I think one of the flavours I love most about England are the scones and jam and cream.  Almost every town will have a tea room or cafe offering a "Cream Tea."  Hot pots of tea, served with scones, jam and clotted cream . . .  and butter.  We forgo the butter here as the cream is quite rich enough.  Today I had some of my favourite licorace & mint tea! Yum!  Bon Appetit and Happy Saint George's Day!

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Marie Rayner
Chicken & Waffles

Chicken & Waffles

Do you remember the Mini-Series that was on the telly a few years back starring Kate Winslet, called Mildred Pierce?  It was a cracker of a series. It was the story of an overprotective, self-sacrificing mother during the Great Depression who found herself on her own, having separated from her husband.  She ended up opening a restaurant of her own and falling in love with a man, all the while trying to earn her spoiled, narcissistic elder daughter's love and respect. 

Her restaurant ended up being a huge success and the main thing on the menu was "Chicken and Waffles."   I have to admit being greatly intrigued by a dish called "Chicken & Waffles," and I thought to myself  at the time they must be incredibly delicious if they caused such a success for her restaurant and made her wealthy, like what happened in the show.  Now, I know that that it was just a television series, but ever since then, I have wanted to try these chicken and waffles! 

The people at Andrew James recently asked me if I would like to try out their new Volcano Waffle Maker.  I thought to myself, Chicken & Waffles, here I come.  I jumped at the chance.  I wanted to try this particular dish, and I was totally intrigued at the concept of a VOLCANO Waffle Maker. 

This Waffle maker boasts a unique design with a simple operation which promises to make delicious Belgian style waffles with no mess. 

It has non-stick cone shaped plates, designed to enable the even distribution of the batter and even cooking with nice deep holes.    It also promised no mess.  I have always found with my old waffle maker its hard to judge how much waffle batter to put in. Too little and you end up with skimpy waffles, too much and it ends up oozing out the sides and making a huge mess, which is difficult to clean up.

This unique award winning design with its volcano shaped plates, cooks your waffles from the bottom up like lava rising up a volcano's centre, and making a tasty waffle cone.  I found it really easy to use.  You just detach the funnel from the bottom (where it stores when not in use) and lock it into place on top, pour in your waffle batter and let them bake.  The handy measuring cup makes sure that you don't use too much batter, just the right amount.  It was kind of fun to watch.  It bubbles up like lava in the funnel as it cooks.  You can look down in and see the waffle cooking!

Perfect results. I was so pleased!  No fuss, no mess, perfect waffles, golden brown and crisp. It takes about 5 minutes to cook each waffle.  After use you simply store the funnel back on the bottom of the machine and the cord also stores easily so that it doesn't take up too much storage space in the kitchen. Its also easy to clean.  The waffle machine itself simply wipes clean and the funnel and cup wash easily in warm soapy water. Altogether I am really pleased with this machine.

It baked beautiful crisp waffles with deep holes in them, ready to hold whatever you are serving with them.  I baked Cornmeal waffles because I was doing Chicken & Waffles.  I thought cornmeal waffles would go well.   This waffle batter makes for nice crisp waffles, that would also be great with a fruit compote if you weren't keen on doing the chicken.

The chicken is nice and crisp . . .  moist and tender on the insides, crisp on the outside.  The coating for them  is lightly spiced with ground cumin, thyme, paprika and garlic. You could do chicken tenders, but I had breasts, which I then just cut into strips when I was ready to serve them. 

Just lay them out there on top of those crisp beautiful waffles  . . .

And then gild them with that beautifully spiced maple syrup.  I warmed the syrup with a bit of butter and some hot sauce, just for a bit of interest.  Oh boy . . .  some good!!

I only used 1 1/2 tsp of hot sauce, and I used the green tabasco which is a bit milder, but you could use more or a spicier variety if you wanted to.  The heat went surprisingly well with the sweet smokiness of the maple syrup.

All together these were really, REALLY lovely.  I am not sure how authentic they were, but that really doesn't matter  . . .  it only matters that they were enjoyed.

And they were certainly enjoyed, and now I know what all the fuss was about. Chicken & Waffles. You have to try them!  Scrumdiddlyumptious!  We had them for supper.  I am not sure if they are a breakfast or a supper dish, but I reckon they would be welcome no matter when you serve them!

*Chicken & Waffles*
Serves 4
From what I understand this is an old American favourite.  I created my own recipe based on what I had to hand.  Inspired by the film Mildred Pierce. 

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
70g flour (1/2 cup)
4 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
2 medium egg whites, beaten lightly
olive oil for frying  

For the Waffles:
140g plain flour (1 cup)
170g cornmeal (1 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
480ml buttermilk (2 cups)
2 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
85g honey (1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBS butter, melted  

For the Syrup:
240 ml maple syrup (1 cup)
1 TBS melted butter
1 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce (I used the green one)

Trim any fat off of your chicken breasts and slice each one in half horizontally.  Mix the flour, paprika, cumin, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder (if using) together on a large plate.  Whisk the egg whites together in a shallow pie dish.  Dip the chicken breasts into the flour mixture, into the egg whites, and then back into the flour mixture to coat them well.  Repeat until all the chicken has been coated.   

Heat olive oil to the depth of 1/4 inch in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add the chicken pieces in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan.  You may need to do this in batches, adding more oil as needed.  Cook for three minutes, then flip over and cook for two minutes or so on the second side, until the chicken is golden and crispy and cooked through.  Keep warm in a low oven until all the chicken has been cooked and your waffles are cooked. 

To make the waffles, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda,and salt.  Beat together the eggs, buttermilk, honey, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients combining together just until mixed. A few lumps is fine. Stir in the melted butter.   

Brush your waffle maker with a bit of cooking oil. Heat and cook your waffles as per the instructions for your particular model of waffle maker. They should be brown and crisp when done. Keep the waffled warm in a low oven (in a single layer so that they stay crisp) with the cooked chicken until all of your waffles have been cooked. 

Warm the maple syrup together with the butter and hot sauce. 
Cut your chicken into strips and serve hot on top of the cooked waffles with the spicy warm maple syrup for pouring.

I have to say I am really, really pleased with the Andrew James Waffle Maker.  I highly recommend it.  It makes excellent waffles, and is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store.  It gets two thumbs up from me!  To find out more or buy one yourself, do check out the Andrew James Page.

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If you would like to see a video of it in action, do check it out on YouTube. 

Many Thanks to Andrew James for sending me this lovely Waffle Maker to try!!

Disclaimer - Although I was sent a waffle maker free of charge for the purpose of review, I was not required to write a positive review in exchange.  Any and all opinions are my own.

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Marie Rayner

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