Thursday, 10 November 2011

First blogging challenge...

Here's a picture of some bread to give you a clue as to what I came up with...

It gets kinda lonely around here (not that I want to guilt-trip you into leaving comments. Much). So I decided I would dip a toe in the blogging community pool, so to speak, in order to try and make some connections. How? I hear you ask. Why, by participating in a food blogging challenge, of course.

There are tons of these out there in Blog Land. They seem to consist of various bloggers getting together and coming up with a theme for a monthly (or one-off) recipe-related challenge in which they invite fellow bloggers to participate. Other bloggers create a recipe to fulfil the brief and submit their entries to the challenger (or 'host', as I believe they're called) for them to collate so we can all compare notes as to who has the worst photography skillz (erm... that would be me).  Not really. I mean, so we can see what recipes everybody came up with and hopefully get some new ideas for our own cooking along the way.

I came across this one via Dom at the Belleau Kitchen (thank you! You're an inspiration!):

and decided to try and come up with an idea. This is a monthly blogging challenge on the subject of ... you guessed it... breakfast. Check it out here. It's being hosted this month by Susan at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate. (Hello, Susan! I hope you like my entry!)

Here are some blueberries. Any idea yet?

The theme for the month was 'American' so of course this piqued my interest (as that's where the Dear Husband hails from). The children and I Skyped with my mother-in-law earlier in the week, so perhaps this was why this idea came so readily to mind. Several years ago she made the most fabulous stuffed French toast for us that was (unless I'm completely misremembering this!) the house speciality of a hotel she was working in at the time in Maine. From memory, I *think* it was made using slices of baguette sandwiched together with walnut-flecked cream cheese, then coated in eggs, fried and served with warm blueberry sauce (of course! We're talking about Maine!) Though I hadn't had it since, I knew I wanted a variation on this to be my first blogging challenge entry.

I was making candied walnuts (we use them to top our blue cheese canap├ęs) so I decided to chop a few and use these in the cream cheese filling (along with a touch of cinnamon). The result was a very rich, very decadent breakfast dish... I didn't mean to eat the whole thing, but I did. I hope you'll give it a try - my incredibly ropey photography does not do justice to how aromatic and delicious it was!

Yum! Stuffed French toast with blueberry sauce
Stuffed French toast with blueberry sauce

Serves one hungry (or greedy) person

three or four candied walnut halves, chopped - see note below*, or just use regular toasted walnuts
a tablespoon or so of cream cheese
a pinch of cinnamon
2 slices bread of your choice
1 egg, beaten and mixed with a teaspoon of vanilla essence
knob of butter
blueberry sauce, made by cooking blueberries (fresh or frozen) in a pan with a splash of water and a spoonful of sugar until they give up their juice and the sauce thickens

Combine the chopped walnuts, cream cheese and cinnamon in a small bowl, then spread it on one of the slices of bread and place the other side on top. Dip in the beaten egg, making sure both sides of the sandwich are well coated and soaked. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan, and when it sizzles, place the sandwich carefully in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. When it's done, remove it to a warmed plate and pour over the blueberry sauce. Eat. Have When Harry Met Sally moment.

*These are actually incredibly easy to make. You start by toasting some walnuts in the oven (I like to do this in small batches - say, 100g at a time). In the meantime, place half a cup or so of sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Shake the pan as the sugar starts to melt and caramelise (apparently you should avoid stirring the caramel!) and when it is an even shade of amber, toss the toasted nuts in the sugar, then turn out immediately onto a prepared sheet of greaseproof paper, and immediately start to separate them as they will very quickly stick together and form one solid mass!


  1. Wow - that looks a really great thing to make for breakfast. Very American as well so you did a fantastic job for the challenge.
    I guess I really need to expand my horizons when it comes to eggy bread so should give it a try.

  2. Hello! I remember with total clarity you telling me about this dish when we had our discussion on the great French Toast debate - sweet or savoury. Obviously, as this recipe choice indicates, you sided with me (against Michael) and we've been friends ever since. The photo makes my mouth water, by the way, so you must be doing something right. Nice work!

  3. b1a7d65c-49ac-11e0-a5d3-000bcdcb5194 is just what my kids call me. It's Rhona. x

  4. Looks very lovely, have never heard of a recipe like this before, nice to have an authentic twist to the challenge.

    Thanks for entering.


  5. Oh! That looks GORGEOUS! Reminds me of the battered and fried jam sandwiches we used to make at girl guide camp but with a lot more finesse! Candied walnuts sound divine too!

  6. Love French toast and blueberries so this can't go wrong for me. Candied walnuts are an excellent extra bit of inspiration.

  7. Thanks for all the lovely comments - I was thinking I should try more variations on the theme, and I was thinking they could be savoury as well as sweet - isn't the Italian dish mozzarella in carrozza essentially an eggy-bread cheese sandwich? And surely the addition of a slice of ham couldn't hurt? and Hannah - I am so going to try this with jam! My daughter would LOVE this and I reckon it would go down a treat at Woodcraft camp! Phil - I have also made the candied walnuts and added salt/spice (usually smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon) and they are great (am thinking they will make nice christmas gifts for teachers, etc...)

  8. I've never tried stuffed French toast. I'm intrigued though, because it sounds delicious! And your photos are lovely – they definitely make me want to try this recipe!!

  9. Hello, Sharky! I urge you to give the recipe a go if you have a moment... and that's very sweet of you to say that about the photography! I *dream* of getting a decent camera (and talent) at some point, though!

  10. Breakfast = coffee, surely.

    You should have a look at

    (kind of literary pastiche with a side of eggs...)