New York Style Bagels

 

IMG_6446Bagels have always been some what of a mystery to me. I absolutely adore eating them but it’s not something you find a lot around London. My first (and only) attempt a few years ago were such an utter failure that they never even crossed my mind again until last week.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to bagels and I really wanted to get it right. I spent hours reading recipes and watching videos on traditional bagel making methods. The dough needs to be firm and smooth to create a light but tight crumb along with the ability to mould and retain its shape.

What distinguishes bagels from regular bread is the boiling process. It feels almost sacrilege to put fresh proved dough into boiling water but its crucial to achieve that iconic texture. As you boil the dough you release some of the starches in the flour which then gelatinize and form a barrier around the bagel. By cooking the starches beforehand, you won’t lose as much moisture in the oven and have partially set the outside of the bagel resulting in a chewier and denser crumb.

A regular appearance of fresh puffed bagels with a generous schmear of cream cheese is very much welcomed in my kitchen. Since I can’t hop on a plane anytime soon, these will have to transport me to the busy pavements of New York.IMG_6424IMG_6457IMG_6469IMG_6502

 

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Peanut Butter, Date and Fig Granola (Vegan/GF)

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Breakfast is by far my favourite meal. It’s maybe the only thing I’ll get up early for in the morning. Theres not a better prospect going to bed at night, than knowing that there’s a beautiful planned breakfast awaiting you in the morning. However, on a week day working 60 plus hours, something I’m short on (as many of you probably are), is time.

I simply don’t have time to stir porridge on a stove top or whip up a batch of pancakes. Especially on only a few hours sleep after staying up late in bed scrolling through the internet (I’m sure we can all relate.)

Something I really love to make is Granola. Make a large batch to last you the week on your days off and you have one less worry for the week ahead. Weekday breakfasts needs to be quick, filling and satisfying. Bland, sugary, box cereal simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

So venture into your store cupboard, follow my recipe or pick out what you love and make it your own. Change the peanut butter for almond butter or switch out the dried cranberries and add in some cocao nibs for some chocolatey crunch. Now I’ve typed that, that sounds damn good! Definitely going to throw some of those in my next batch.

Heres to easy fulfilling breakfasts which hit the spot on a monday morning.

P.s my recipe and video use honey as part of the ingredients, but for a totally vegan granola, change the honey to another sweetener (agave syrup/coconut nectar/maple syrup.)

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Gingerbread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Roasted Pear

img_4275I had big plans for this post. I was going to blab about my recent trip to Iceland and post this finger licking recipe with it. However, after having a quick hour long peek gaze through my photos, I’ve realised how many photos I want to share and that it’s completely incomprehensible to put it all into one post. You’d probably fall asleep on your keyboard by the end. All the while thinking, where the f is this recipe?!

So to save those of you who’re here for the recipe, I’ll save my romantic Iceland babble about how I want to repeatedly travel there forever and ever and ever, for another post.

I’m sure a lot of you are pretty ecstatic that November has finally arrived. I adore Autumn. The coziness, the hot drinks, the shameless eating begins. I swear that my body just needs an extra layer of fat every year. This is why it craved a biscuit tin of 40 Bourbon biscuits… (you probably think I’m joking but the tin of biscuits next to me right now says otherwise.)

I’m having to show real restraint with christmas decorations this month. I can’t stop going into Oxford Street every week and staring at the same christmas decorations, revisiting the same shops I went into the week before. I desperately wanted to haul them up this week but my co-workers have repeatedly chimed that its way too early. I’ll wait one more week.

As the cold weather approaches, so do the spices, chutney, cheese, nuts and old music. There aren’t many breakfasts I can think of that scream autumn to me, but this one certainly does.

Whenever I go home to see my Mum, she makes me fluffy American blueberry pancakes. She uses a Jamie Oliver recipe and I love them so much I decided to tweak them a little to taste like gingerbread. Queue black treacle and ginger. Sprinkling flaked almonds on one side of the pancake adds a lovely note of nutty flavour and texture. A warm, sticky, sweet roasted pear permeated with maple syrup couldn’t be a better accompaniment to this gorgeous breakfast treat.

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French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Whipped Ricotta

IMG_2762The first time I tasted French Toast was about two and half years ago. As part of my job, I was offered a free stay in the Hotel. This was a crazy treat on its own, but the food was what I was really excited about. My friend and I ate our way through what seemed like the entire menu that evening. Even when they offered us espresso martini’s, I had to genuinely consider if I could manage it.

After getting dressed up the previous night, all I wanted the following morning was a lazy, minimal effort start to the day. Something about ordering room service seems so luxurious to me. With the quick dial of a phone, you can place your order and then half an hour later your food miraculously arrives. No effort required, and more importantly, no dishes to wash. I certainly don’t shy at the opportunity of free food so I placed a huge order of coffee, fresh orange juice, full english breakfast, Danish pastries and french toast. Lets just say my eyes are always, without fail, bigger than my stomach.

I felt so absurdly posh sitting in my fluffy oversized dressing gown in my oversized room with my oversized breakfast. I went for the full english first because I needed some savoury to prepare myself for my sweets. I tucked into my french toast next without hesitation, took one bite, simply looked at my friend and muttered ‘oh my god’ through a mouthful of brioche. It was honest to god, one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. So simple but done so well. Crisp on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside. It was paired with a generous helping of clotted cream and mixed berries… because rich buttery fried brioche isn’t enough.

From now on, whenever someone new joins our team and they book their stay. My one piece of advice is ‘just please, get the french toast.’IMG_2636IMG_2675 IMG_2678 IMG_2705 IMG_2721 IMG_2744 Continue reading “French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Whipped Ricotta”