When I was younger, still living at home, Daddy would always ask if I wanted to become a cook because I was always watching cooking shows on BBC Food. He was a little more concerned that my other viewing included “Popeyes”, his collective naming of any and all cartoons.
A firm fave celebrity chef in my early 20s was Bill Granger. I was incredibly saddened to hear of his passing on Christmas day. Those who know him and his style remember the blonde and blue-eyed Bondi boy with a ready smile and easy and delicious recipes that were made in his cafes but mostly enjoyed with his family and friends.
Seeing this made me rather nostalgic and ever aware of spending time around the table and my time with recipe books and when I started using them in earnest. Bill Granger’s Everyday was my first recipe book purchase (or was it the Christmas present I told my sister to buy me?)
I had recently moved back to SA from Paris and had started a new job. I was moving into a new apartment and was in need of some Granger guidance.
I was also giddy as I’d just started dating my almost year-long crush. He had the most beautiful apartment with parquet floors and exposed brick in the kitchen and an oven that would strangely just drop down unexpectedly. Didn’t do the oven much damage, but the sound was always shocking.
I spent some time cooking at said boyfriend’s apartment and he had the most adorable little brother who we’d baby sit on weekends that include movies and hot chocolate amongst pillow forts and French toast for breakfast. Bill Granger’s Raisin Bread French toast became a firm inspiration and favourite.
Long, lazy Sunday mornings with maple syrup (also adulting when you cotton on to how much it costs), and the smell of nutmeg, cinnamon and the warmth of French toast frying in butter. And then the silence followed by gregarious grunts of appreciation my then boyfriend’s little brother tucked into a few extra slices of French toast.
Raisin bread is a contentious carb: some love it, but many are truly put off by the raisins. Raisin bread was ubiquitous on the bread shelves of the Eastern Cape, when I grew up. In Joburg, it was a little harder to come by. I loved this raisin bread option, having never taken to the original version of eggy bread as a kid, and I wanted to give this sweeter option a try: it did not disappoint. French toast, I’ve discovered, is a dish best served hot and shared with others, as you pass the syrup across the table for an extra sticky drizzle onto the edges.
Egg, cinnamon, vanilla extract and nutmeg are all top ingredients of the making of a delicious Sunday morning, and a loaf of raisin bread does wonders in feeding a table of hungry brothers.
- A loaf of good, day-old raisin bread — sliced fairly thick
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup of milk of your choice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg (be careful here to not overpower)
- Pinch of maldon salt
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Whisk eggs together with milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Pour the mixture into a flat glass dish.
- Melt some butter in the pan on a medium heat.
- Soak two slices of bread at a time turning over to coat both sides and make sure the bread soaks through with the eggy mixture.
- Place baking paper on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Add the bread and fry until lightly golden on either side (about three minutes), and then place in the heated oven on the baking tray until it’s puffed and beautiful to drizzle with maple syrup.
- Cut the toast diagonally into triangles once done.
Get those plates out quickly and layer at least four triangles on a plate and drizzle each layer with maple syrup. Crush some raspberries with a fork between layers for a little tartness among the sweet and also to feel righteous that there’s fruit in your breakfast.