If there’s one sort of breakfast I have to live off for the rest of my life, as long or short as it may be, it’s french toast.
And yes I like the good old classic stuff, whereby all you have to do is whip together eggs and milk and cinnamon and voila, you get a comforting, nourishing plate, eggy and soft and saturated, and now I use the word ‘and’ too much. Well. One of my personal favourite french toast recipes is actually eggless, and I implore you to check it out here.
But twists are welcome. Despite the familiarity of routine, twists and little leaps off of a classic theme are necessary to uphold the graciousness of the central perk. In this case, that perk is normal french toast. I love normality in that sense, all tried and true. But the addition of black sesame here, the little flick of the pen at the end of story, is the enhancement factor, serving not to distract, but uplift.
I’m a flexible eater, but I’m also the sort who thinks that if you’re going to enjoy something, you must enjoy it well. This might not be to everyone’s taste, but I do love dousing my french toast in whole milk, well accompanied by frigid coffee, because the sogginess factor makes my heart the same consistency. It all sounds a bit absurd, I know. But do what you do best, right? Adjust to taste. It’s all delicious in the end, anyway.
Black Sesame French Toast (For 1)
In a shallow bowl, whisk together one egg, a dash of cinnamon, a large splash of milk (whatever sort you prefer, I used whole) and a tablespoon of honey. Into another bowl or plate, sift 2 heaping tablespoons of black sesame powder.
Take 2 slices of sourdough/ brioche/ baguette and soak each side in your eggy batter for 10-20 seconds. Whilst waiting, preheat your pan to medium heat, and ready some butter. Once the pan is hot, butter it, making sure you hear a good sizzle upon first contact. Cook your french toast as you usually would, around 2 minutes on the first side and a little less on the second, just so it’s not rendered dry. You want a fair bit of eggy saturation in the middle (yes, even if you like drowning your french toast in milk like moi).
Once your french toast is cooked, generously slather the tops with the black sesame powder, which will go moist and a bit sticky upon contact with the heat and moisture from the toast.
*variation: To serve, place the toast on a plate, top with almond butter, chopped strawberries, a drizzle of coconut cream and, if you wish, coconut chips. The black sesame with fruit and coconut here is a divine combination!
I was trying to think of something to post, just as I was whizzing up this baby you see in the picture above. Hence, it felt rather apropos to blow away the dust on my wordpress homepage with this recipe. A smoothie, really? I daren’t label it a recipe. It’s silly to think of it as a methodical process, accessorised with a baker’s meticulousness and precision, when in reality I half-heartedly thrust a few ingredients into the magical bullet robot that is the Vitamix. Whizz-bam-shoot– done. In literally a few seconds. I apologise for being dreadfully inconsistent, and I know some people have requested me to put up something new. I’ve been so caught up with work and university applications recently, it almost feels as if I need a good amount of time to get my head together and sort my life out. This whole life thing can get pretty messy, don’t you think? I wanted to do a short write-up for the sole sake of showing just how darn easy a smoothie is. Especially this one, because it’s so easy to modify and tweak.
Before I list the paltry amount of ingredients (and there really is nothing more to it), I want to address one of the questions I got on my ask.fm account. A lovely someone wanted to know if and how I overcame any specific personal problem, so I guess I’ll share it here. When I was in 9th grade, I was involved in a spate of cyberbullying. I was the bullied (surprise surprise). It all started when a couple of nasty girls decided it would be fun to call me bad things. At the time, I had a Formspring account (goodness, doesn’t that word sound ancient?), and they used this platform to send anonymous questions, in which they called me all sorts of things, including a word which starts with an ‘s’ and basically means excessively promiscuous. Of course, I didn’t do anything of the sort. I think it stemmed from the fact that I happened to like someone who the bully fancied first. It was all very childish and unnecessary. And yet, it pulled me into one of the darkest phases of my life. I loved books and science and yes, I liked boys, but not to that extent. So to hear all this, from some faceless ‘stranger’, perturbed me. My self-esteem went right down the drain. I clearly remember looking in the mirror in the mornings and giving a start to my swollen eyes. Even if I woke up feeling alright, those eyes gave way to all the horrid thoughts of the day before, clouding my nights with salty waterfalls. School was an unbearable thought.
Little did I know that this person, or the supposed leader of this small group, was someone I considered one of my very good friends. Someone I shared secrets and corny jokes with. Someone I sat next to the year before in English class. One day I couldn’t take the online comments any longer, and told my mum. Initially, I desperately didn’t want to get her involved, because I refused to make a mountain out of a molehill. But the pain ate at my gut for days on end. Rumours about me spread in school. All these false, ear-bending whispers. I didn’t know who to trust, who I could talk to. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else properly. Thank goodness I confided in her, for it felt like the biggest load was lifted right off my shoulders. She was shocked, but sympathetic. ‘God, of course not!’ I shrieked, when she told me she was making plans to report it to the school councillor. I would be known as the coward without the confidence to face the enemy. But how could I, given I had no clue who it was? Ah, my mother. I’m truly grateful for her existence; she really did make me feel at least thrice as better. Her support was solid, unwavering. It always has been. Anyways, as I was about to report the situation to an ‘adult figure’, one of the bullies confessed to me in school. Just one. Although I was hurt, I was grateful she approached me, for at least then I didn’t have to walk around school suspecting the motives of every single person I walked past.
Ultimately, what helped me recover from that phase was confidence. Confidence to just take one step forward, and stop caring so much about what other people thought of me. The melodrama made me value who my close friends really were, and I’m grateful for all the new ones I’ve made in recent years. The bullies made my life a living nightmare for a while, especially at that age when social circles pretty much determined my degree of self-worth. But that’s exactly it– for a while. The Bard says that ‘time and the hour runs through the roughest day’. You can’t trust everyone, but you can trust yourself to let your confidence do the talking. It was simply no use to let myself be bogged down by mere comments, or let the quality of my life suffer. Be confident. Be independent. Smoothies help too, you know.
Frozen strawberry banana slushy (serves 1)
One cup of frozen strawberries
One frozen, ripe banana
half cup milk of choice (I used almond here)
2 tablespoons greek yoghurt
good squeeze of thick honey or maple syrup, if you’re feeling particularly decadent (the imprecision here is horrifying, but in the morning, with gunk-crusted eye corners and droopy lids, a ‘good squeeze’ is indeed subjective…)
Optional: a few cubes of pineapple/ handful of spinach/ a splash of vanilla extract
To freeze the fruit, chop your bananas into rough coins and lay them in a single layer on a tray, before putting it in the freezer. The single layer makes it easier to remove when you take it out of the freezer, though you have to wait a couple of minutes or so. You could just put them in a bowl, but it’ll take a tad longer to thaw. It’s like a nightly ritual for me. I should really start doing normal teenage things….
In the morning, or whenever you feel like having something luscious, creamy and refreshing, throw all the ingredients into your Vitamix or blender, and… well, not much explanation is needed from this point, is there? Adjust the thickness to your liking, by adding more frozen fruit or more milk, to make it thicker or thinner respectively. Stick in a straw or opt instead for the frozen fruit-stache. That’s a fun one. I personally like it very thick and icy, so I can spoon it all with glee. Morning ice cream, anyone?