Bread + Baking

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I promise this is not a parody.

I had written a long-winded and piece about brown food, irrelevant garnishes, people who content-churn, posting for the likes and what it means for the definition of “real food”, but, it was too reminiscent of old man yells at cloud so it’s been archived into a “things to complain about later” file. Emerging from my literacy stupor I think I was trying to celebrate brown food and announce that not everything needs to be brightly coloured or highly stylised to be wonderful. Join me as I bask in the stupid serenity of my brown dining table and brown dessert. It’s Autumn, after all.

The moistness (hah) may vary depending on the size of your baking tray or loaf of bread (I used a rather large one on both counts) – you may have a little custard mix left over, or if you wanna get real juicy serve it with a little cream or ice cream on the side. Enjoy the brown food and share it with your pals. For a smaller version with stale bread and fruit, here’s a recipe for bread and butter sourdough pudding with sugarplums.

Bread and Nutella Pudding
1 loaf brown bread
400g Nutella (or more for the lavish)
600ml milk
600ml cream
260g sugar
8 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
Good grating of fresh nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Slice most of your bread into generous slices, then depending on the size of the loaf, halve them. You can arrange them in your baking dish of choice to check you have enough.
2. Slather that bread with as much Nutella as you please. Make it thick. Arrange the bread into the dish, trying to sandwich the bread so that most of the Nutella has been covered on the surface (otherwise the Nutella will burn).
3. For the custard mixture whisk together milk, cream, eggs, sugar and cinnamon. Grate the nutmeg straight in the bowl. Pour over the bread – if it’s stale allow to stand for an hour, if it’s supple and fresh it’s good to go after 15 minutes or so. Tear the remainder of your bread into small pieces and fit them into the crevices of the dish, ensuring they are well coated in custard. Add a few extra decadent dollops of Nutella if you like.
4. Once bread is drenched and ready, give the bread one last push into the dish and bake in the oven for around 45-50 minutes. When ready (a skewer inserted comes out relatively clean, or push it down with a spatula – if no juice emerges all is well) sprinkle with icing or snow sugar and serve immediately.

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Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums


I’d like to keep this short and sweet (much like the recipe I am about to post, hurr hurr). The other day, as time makes fools of us all, my kitchen had unexpectedly become the confused home of the dregs of two loaves of stale, rock-hard sourdough, a bottle of milk teetering on the brink of expiration in the fridge and a handful of sugar plums which were now sympathetically over ripening by its side, literally bursting at their seams with sweetness. So in a flurry of food blogger grandeur with help from some butter and eggs, from my oven poured one of the best impromptu desserts ever made – I’m talking repertoire for life with the added bonus of DRF (“dat rustic feel”) grade dessert. As much as I like to think I am the internet’s gift to cooking as each golden spoonful graced my golden mouth hole stroking my golden ego – the spectacle of this pud’ relies 99% on the producers all this good stuff was sourced from. So I’ve included a little list towards the end of this post.

If you’re reading this outside of sugar plum season, either omit or replace it with something else nice. The staler the bread the better – bask in the flecks of vanilla bean in every chewy mouthful. Be one with the just set custard. Get zen with all those things in your fridge which might have been thrown out and wasted otherwise.

Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
Bread and Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums


Bread + Butter Pudding with Sourdough and Sugar Plums
1/2 loaf stale sourdough
300ml milk
300ml cream
4 large eggs
125g sugar
1 generous vanilla bean
Enough butter to slather on your bread pieces
6 sugar plums, or however many you have
Icing sugar, to serve (optional)

1. With a knife, or hacksaw, divide sourdough into pieces. You can arrange them in your dish of choice to check you have enough but keep in mind they will become one with the milk (and shrink) once custard mixture is poured over.
2. Slather that bread with any amount of butter you please iIf you’re not all about that #cleaneating life, be generous) and arrange them in the dish, tetris style.
3. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, sugar and seeds of vanilla bean. Pour over the stale bread and allow to stand for an hour. You may need to do this in two parts and the bread soaks up the custard mixture. While this is happening, preheat oven to 180° and halve and de-seed the sugar plums.
4. Once bread is drenched and ready, scatter sugar plums on top of the bread, pushing a few a little further into the dish. Place in the oven for 35 minutes. When ready sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Bread from Shepherd’s Bakehouse (pumpkin sourdough) and Rosetta Stone (seven seed sourdough)
Butter by Pepe Saya
Sugar plums from The Muscat Family Farm sourced by The Local Harvest Collective
Milk from Country Valley Dairy
Eggs from Holbrook Paddock

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Good morning! Saturday is here! It’s breakfast time! The most important meal of the day! Gather your housemates! Find a small dog! Walk down the street together and laugh merrily! Take a seat at the newest and trendiest of cafés! Quinoa muesli! Poached eggs! Stuff served with some sort of compote! Coffee made with Bonsoy! YEAH!

This used to be my life before beginning the very rewarding, yet arduous task, of enrolling into uni in my early 20s. After around a year and a half of full-time study I lost my part-time office job to restructuring, or whatever, and was left very, very unemployed. I did a few odd jobs around town, I worked at a restaurant for a little while but eventually I could barely keep my head above the financial waters that surround the inner-west lifestyle (and by ‘lifestyle’ I mean ‘rent’). The whole living-on-mi-goreng gag is funny when you actually can afford a little more but is hideously heart-wrenching as a blaring truth. Noodles, and the occasional avocado, made up a lot of my dinners when I was sensible enough to no longer throw down my debt ridden credit card and unfortunately living in such a sweet area was no longer sustainable. I said goodbye to my enormous rent which was good but saying goodbye to local friends, good eats and good coffee was not.

So, when I’m away from Sydney’s inner-west I like to pretend I’m still enjoying the good life by making a café brunch of my own. It’s so easy! And here’s one of them.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mum making pancakes and some of my earliest memories are of my dad are pouring honey onto anything he could find, including ricotta-slathered pieces of toast. I like my pancakes phat with shredded fruit so consider this brunch dish an homage to my family of sorts. You can keep it innocent if you wish and use this post simply as a damn good pancake recipe. If you want to lose the pear try reducing the amount of flour to only one cup. If you want to lose the ricotta and honey then, uhh, I don’t want to know about it. Let’s get some ~food porn~ close up action happening.

Without further hesitation here’s the recipe for what I like to think of a near perfect breakfast/brunch dripping with re-worked nostalgia from a time where I was barely tall enough to even reach the stovetop. I would happily serve in my hypothetical inner-west cafe (it will happen one day). No gram measurements today because this recipe is far easier to remember in simple cups, and who even wants to pull out their scales that early in the morning? Not I, not I.

Shredded Pear Pancakes with Cinnamon Ricotta
(an original recipe to make around 24 pancakes)

Pancake batter
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 pears, grated
Butter, for greasing

Cinnamon ricotta
300g (just over a cup) fresh ricotta
Cinnamon, to taste

1. Combine all pancake batter ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Lightly grease a pan with butter and place on medium heat. Ladle the pancake batter in rounds and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the surface begins to bubble and the edges have browned nicely.
3. Combine ricotta and cinnamon (around 2 tsp) well. Serve atop or beside pancakes with a generous drizzling of honey or syrup.

Coconut Scones + Malibu Cream + Lime Curd

Despite being a self-proclaimed “lover of baking” to my friends it’s really rather disturbing how narrow my repertoire really is. Before today I’d never made a scone before… I believe the trouble lies in my apathy for the familiar, if it’s been done I don’t particularly care for it. So, I winged it a little and came up with this cute twist on a traditional recipe.

But before we get into that here’s a little “housekeeping”.

I was given a wonderful opportunity to write a review for SBS Food a couple of weeks ago as a Featured Blog Reviewer and my little piece is up and ready to be enjoyed by all. So check it out! I’ve written about a really gorgeous book, plus the review features my square-cropped, pasty-ethnic face. Oh yeah.

Malibu Cream + Lime Curd

Here’s my recipe for coconut scones. Crumbly and delicious. Below-mentioned condiments are optional however encouraged and of course any fruit jam you may have on hand will work fantastically too. I’ll pull any excuse to bust out my Malibu Cream, a concoction I stumbled across as a happy, pandan-driven accident months ago. It rules.

This recipe will make around 8 scones with cream and curd to spare.

Coconut Scones
300g flour (around 2 1/2 cups) + more for dusting
100g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
75g butter, room temperature
60ml coconut milk
60ml cream
1 egg
1/2 cup flaked coconut (plus more for dusting)
2 tbs milk

Boozy Malibu Cream
240ml (1 cup) cream
30ml Malibu (coconut rum)

Lime Curd
Juice of 2 limes
2 egg yolks
40g sugar
60g butter, cubed

For the coconut scones
1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease and line a shallow baking dish.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cube butter and rub into the mixture until even. Add the coconut milk, cream, egg and flaked coconut and work with your hands until just combined (overworking the scone mixture may end in disaster).
3. Decant sticky mixture onto a well-floured board and flatten to a 2cm thickness. Sprinkle with more flour, and, with your scone cutter, remove rounds and transfer to the greased baking dish. When arranging the raw scones ensure they fit snuggly and their sides are gently pressed against one another. Brush surfaces with a little milk and sprinkle over additional coconut flakes.
4. Transfer to oven and allow to bake for 15 minutes.

For the boozy Malibu cream
1. Lightly whip cream and Malibu in a small bowl until just thickened.

For the lime curd
1. Combine lime juice, egg yolks and sugar and whisk well. Transfer to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir continuously and gradually add cubes of butter until beginning to thicken (this should take only a few minutes). Remove from heat, continue to stir for 30 seconds more and transfer to a jar or container of your choice. Chill in the refrigerator.

For the assembly
1. Carefully halve your scone. Add a dollop of Malibu cream and a lick of lime curd and enjoy.

Coconut Scones + Malibu Cream + Lime Curd

And yes, I am well aware this combination of cream and curd results in a little faux-egg atop your scone. SOZLOL!

EDIT: Just had one of these with strawberry jam. OH BABY.

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Spiced Banana Bread Stack with Pecan Brittle

You’ll have to forgive me, I’m not entirely sure what I’m blogging about.

Is it a loaf? Faux-pancakes? A funky little dessert plate fit for a café’s afternoon tea menu?

I really don’t know. But what I do know is that I can’t wait to sure my super moist spiced banana bread recipe with you! Although I give most store-bought banana breads the benefit of the doubt as to whether they use real bananas as opposed to artificial banana flavouring, too often I come across a slice that’s crazy doused in sugar. Now don’t get me wrong, sugar is my everything, however being a good (half) Cypriot girl I eat my bread and toast with honey and lots of it. So, in this recipe, I’ve substituted lashings of sugar for pinches of subtle spices. It’s not your average banana bread but who wants to eat average anyway? It’s a one-bowl recipe and dairy free too, so, shout outs to my pressed-for-time and lactose-intolerant bros.

Pecan Brittle

Oh yeah, then I made some pecan brittle and served it with a little marscarpone cream on my bread. I was styling this straight after eating lunch so I doubt I was in the correct mindframe to be dealing with this banana wonder. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my camera lately so I was probably desperate for a plate of tower-esque food to play with in Lightroom. Since I’m a little undecided on this you must, must let me know; does this stack look even remotely appetising? If not, it’s cool, ignore it and focus your attention on this nice loaf photo below. Okay? Okay. But do let me know please. Ahhhhhh.

Alana's One-Bowl Spiced Banana Bread

Alana’s One-Bowl Spiced Banana Bread
4 overripe bananas
2 cups flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi-carb / baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Pecan Brittle
1/2 sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans

For the Banana Bread
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Unravel overripe bananas and mash in a bowl.
3. Combine all remaining ingredients and beat until just combined.
4. Grease a loaf tin and fold a piece of baking paper over the edges (this makes it much easier to remove later). Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
5. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes then remove and place on wire rack. Serve with honey, pecans and a cup of tea, OR…

For the Pecan Brittle
1. Prepare baking paper on an oven tray.
2. Place sugar and water in a small pan over medium heat and allow to boil until it begins to turn a slight amber colour. Give it a quick swirl, remove from heat and stir through chopped pecans.
3. Working quickly, pour mixture over baking paper and allow to cool. Once hardened, smash into shards.

To serve
1. Slice banana bread and, if you like, lightly toast. Stack and serve with a spoonful of lightly whipped cream or marscarpone and a sprinkling of pecan brittle.

Alana's One-Bowl Spiced Banana Bread

And there you have it, my spiced banana bread served two ways! How fancy.

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