Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Banana Bread French Toast, Candied Walnuts and Banana Brûlée | 法式香蕉蛋糕西多士

Overripe bananas? Make banana bread. Bored of plain banana bread? Make banana bread French toast! For the longest time, banana bread is the obvious solution to an over-abundance of bananas that may have past their retail prime, but now, there is a very real reason to make a loaf with all intents and purposes.

The first time I've had banana bread French toast was at a little cafe in the suburbs of Brisbane, Australia. The thick, golden, battered slice came topped with a generous scoop of house-made ice-cream and a crunchy nut streusel then drizzled with local honey. One bite and the rest was history. I swore this would go on the menu were I to open up a cafe one day. Even if that does not happen eventually, the fantasy lives on.

As banana bread is already naturally sweet, no additional sugar is necessary in the milk and egg batter
Brunch just got sexier: treat yourself to a heavenly brunch with this French toast with a scrumptious twist!
Switching up regular toast with banana bread adds a scrumptious twist to this weekend brunch classic. The tender, moist cake makes a wonderful canvas that soaks up the milk and egg batter, seamlessly marrying the aroma of sweet banana with the warmth of cinnamon and vanilla. It is simply heavenly pan-fried in a generous dose of butter. Now, one could opt to stop right there with just French toast with perhaps a drizzle of maple syrup, a light dusting of confectioners sugar, or a side of fresh berries. But as they say, go big or go home - why not take this up another notch?

As banana bread has a relative high moisture content, you may find that it never quite crisps up as much as stale bread when making French toast. It gives us all the more reason to pair banana bread French toast with additional toppings that bestows just that extra va-va-voom it needs.

Think sticky candied walnuts that adds an irresistible crunch and toasty flavor; and torched banana that brings a delicate smokiness to the palate.

Banana bread French toast just went from sexy to sensational. And if that still doesn't suffice? Make it a-la-mode: top it all with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream. And if that still doesn't do the trick? Give it a drizzle of dark rum. That, I believe, should hit it out the ball park.

Torching not only takes away the raw edge in the banana, but also adds a tantalizing smokiness to the ensemble

Now, this may not be your typical low-calorie brunch. But let's face it - no one's exactly thinking of going on a diet when making French toast. Rather, I say, why not make each French toast count?

To make this banana bread French toast, you will need to first make banana bread. Get the recipe here (day-old banana bread is even better!):
Classic Banana Bread

Ingredients: Servings for 2
Banana Bread French Toast
4 slices banana bread, sliced 1-inch thick
1 egg
1/4 cup whole milk
Drizzle of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Quick Candied Walnuts
A palmful of walnuts (approx. 25g)
Drizzle of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon honey

Banana Brûlée
1 ripe but firm banana
Brown sugar

Banana Bread French Toast
Whisk the egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a shallow dish. Dip the banana bread slices into the egg mixture, coating both sides and let soak for 1 minute on each side. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the banana bread slices to the skillet and cook until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices.

Quick Candied Walnuts
Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F. Coat walnuts with oil, brown sugar, and honey. Transfer nuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 7-8 minutes until golden and bubbling. Keep an eye on them once you smell the fragrance of roasted nuts as they burn quickly. Remove from oven and let cool to form the crunchy glaze.

Banana Brûlée
Choose firm, just-ripe bananas so they don't fall apart. Slice bananas into half-inch coins. Arrange on a heat-proof dish and sprinkle brown sugar liberally over the surfaces. Use butane torch to brûlée, moving the flame evenly back and forth over the sugar coating until caramelized.

Stack banana bread French toast and scatter candied nuts and torched banana over the top. Finish with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and some fresh berries on the side. For an extra decadent treat, add a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Bon appétit!

What's your favorite topping on a French toast?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

【 法式香蕉蛋糕西多士 】

香蕉蛋糕                     4 件,各 1 寸厚(食譜按此
雞蛋                             1 隻
鮮奶                             60 毫升
雲尼拿香油                少量
肉桂粉                        1/4 茶匙
牛油                            15 克

核桃                              25 克
菜油                              少量
黃糖                              1 茶匙
蜂蜜                              1 茶匙             

香蕉                              1 隻
黃糖                              少量

1. 雞蛋、鮮奶、肉桂粉和雲尼拿香油加入打勻,放入淺碟中。
2. 香蕉蛋糕浸入蛋液中,每面浸約一分鐘,直至徹底吸滿蛋液。
3. 牛油放入平底鑊中煮溶,放入蛋液香蕉蛋糕,以中火半煎炸至兩面金黃,盛起

1. 預熱焗爐至 220°C / 425°F。核桃跟油、黃糖和蜂蜜拌勻。
2. 轉放在鋪了烘培紙的焗盤上,焗約 7-8 分鐘。烘好取出晾凉。

1. 選用剛熟而不軟身的香蕉,切成半寸厚的圓片,鋪在耐熱的器皿上。
2. 撒上黃糖,以火槍燒至糖分融化。


What's your favorite topping on a French toast?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Classic Banana Bread | 香蕉蛋糕

The first thing I ever baked was a banana bread. That goes to show that making banana bread is about as easy as baking can get - so long as you have bananas that are so ripe and freckled they would have otherwise ended up in the reject pile at the supermarket.
While some people make banana bread only as a way to use up forgotten bananas, others like me routinely stake out at the quick sale corner hunting precisely for these often orphaned, blemished, and (heavily discounted) overripe bananas - for none other than to bake the most impossibly scrumptious and moist homemade banana bread. After all, banana bread is half the reason why bananas exist, right?

Over the years I have carried banana bread to the office at my first desk job; brought a slice or two to my hairdresser and bribed a security guard; shared with my fellow chirpy flight attendants during boot camp training as a new recruit; and on countless occasions served it at housewarmings, game nights, or simply as an afternoon treat. Over time, friends, neighbors, co-workers have fallen in love with this banana bread. Some even declared it a favorite.

Banana bread can be something rather ordinary, a usual suspect at coffee shops everywhere; it is so basic and so ubiquitous yet so universally loved it's almost uncanny. Abundant as they are, however, some banana bread may turn out dry, overly sweet or, worse yet, taste of artificial flavoring. What makes homemade ones extraordinary and sets it apart from commercial ones is its texture, the moist and soft crumb, the incredibly rich color and buttery aroma, and the unmistakable natural sweetness from ripe bananas.

Year after year I swear by this simple recipe, deviating only in experimentation with different combinations of sugars. I tend to gravitate towards using brown or even black sugar to imbue the cake with a rich, caramelly flavor and moisture, but also mixing in white sugar just to provide enough sweetness without overpowering the banana flavor. Using white sugar alone will produce a paler banana bread with a more single-noted flavor. The sugar amount is flexible. Most recipes call for one full cup of sugar, but I find 3/4 cup to be just perfect - or even less if you are using very, very ripe bananas or upping banana count to four.

As far as baking goes, banana bread is by far the most beginner-friendly. It is the simplest and most forgiving, especially for someone like me who detests precise measurements and flinch at the thought of baking an angel food cake. There may be plenty of ways to fancy up a good old banana bread; you can add walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, dark rum, all of which I've tried - but some of my best bakes are the ones that were kept simple and classic. Sometimes simplicity is best (I am a bit of a purist when it comes to banana bread).

Ordinary as it may be, banana bread is surely well loved by all and oddly so it is also one of my most requested recipes from friends. This is my go-to favorite recipe for banana bread, one that I have written out on a loose piece of junk paper and which I have cherished over the years. Calling this the "best-ever" banana bread may be a bold statement, but I am here to admit it might just be the best banana bread you've ever had. It will surely make you go bananas!

1 1/2 cup (195 g) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large overripe bananas
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence


Preheat oven at 350F/180C. Cream together the butter and sugar. Crush bananas with a fork or a masher. Add eggs and vanilla essence and combine well with the butter and sugar mixture.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold into creamed mixture. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Do you like your banana bread plain or with nuts?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

 【 香蕉蛋糕 】

中筋麵粉               195 克
蘇打粉                   1 茶匙
幼鹽                        1/2 茶匙
無鹽牛油               115 克
紅糖                        110 克
砂糖                        50 克
熟透香蕉               3 條(大)
雞蛋                        2 隻
雲呢拿香油          1/2 茶匙

1. 預熱焗爐至 350F/180C。
2. 牛油放於室溫軟化,加入糖用攪拌器攪拌至均勻幼滑。
3. 香蕉放在碗裡用叉子壓成泥狀,可以保留一點顆粒口感。
4. 加入雞蛋和雲尼拿香油拌勻,然後跟牛油和糖拌勻。
5. 加入過篩後的麵粉、鹽和蘇打粉,輕輕攪拌均勻。
6. 把粉漿倒入已掃油的糕盤內,放入焗爐焗約 50-60 分鐘至金黃熟透即可。

Do you like your banana bread plain or with nuts?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Lemon, Garlic & Herb Roasted Spatchcock Chicken | 香草檸檬蒜香烤雞

Nothing quite beats a perfect chicken roast, especially when it can be done with ease and in a short time! A homey chicken roast sounds sublime for a cozy Sunday dinner in with the family or loved ones, yet it is also impressive enough to wow your friends and neighbors. This roast chicken will fill your kitchen with the tantalizing scent of garlic, rosemary, and lemon, giving you impossibly juicy meat and skin so crispy it easily beats the pants off any rotisserie chicken.

Spatchcocking your chicken is a surefire way to ensure juicy results and crispy skin every time. Not only do you cut short on the cooking time, it also makes for easy marinading the night before. Works great also on the grill for a summery outdoors barbecue. As I shared in my last post, ever since I started spatchcocking I've never turned back; in fact, a simple spatchcock chicken roast has saved me many a time when I invited friends over for dinner!

Go to my tutorial: How to Spatchcock a Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide

Lay the bird on a bed of root vegetables, onion, and garlic for a wholesome, easy meal all in one pan!

Let the bird marinate overnight for extra flavor and tenderness
To make for a complete meal in one pan, I like to throw in chopped root vegetables, onion wedges, whole garlic cloves, and hearty vegetables like brussels sprouts to roast together. For a even more scrumptious treat, however, I like to build a layer of thinly sliced potatoes and sweet potatoes underneath the chicken, which soaks up the juices from the roast and crisps up with crunchy bits towards the end. Now, that is truly irresistible.

The roast will generate a copious amount of drippings, which you can use to whip up a luscious gravy if you are feeling extra fancy. Personally, I find the chicken in and of itself so flavorsome and moist that I'd skip completely on the gravy. Rather, I would reserve the lemon-infused, richly-flavored, garlicky drippings for cooking another day - whether it's in roasting baby potatoes, stir-frying vegetables, or cooking another chicken dish. It is absolutely sensational in preparing my Lemon Chicken Piccata with Zoodles recipe!

Get the recipe: Lemon Chicken Piccata with Zoodles

Pair this roast chicken with a perfect side dish: Brown Butter Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Sage, and Almonds - work on the stove while the chicken is roasting, then pop the dish into the oven once the bird is out resting!

•  Get the recipe: Brown Butter Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Sage, and Almonds

The chicken is so tender the leg freely wriggles off without even using a knife - watch as the juices flow!

1 whole chicken
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary/thyme)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 whole lemon
Potatoes (optional) 

1. Spatchcock the chicken: Pat the chicken dry. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut along each side of the spine to remove the backbone. Trim excess fat and clean out the cavity. With breast side up, press down firmly in the middle of the breastbone to flatten the bird. (For my step-by-step guide, click here)

Get under the skin: using your fingers, carefully separate the skin and the flesh in the breast and thigh. Spread marinade nicely in these "pockets" and evenly all over the whole chicken.
2. Season the chicken: Combine garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub marinade evenly throughout the chicken and under the skin. Drizzle with lemon juice from half of the whole lemon. Reserve the squeezed half lemon for roasting. Marinate overnight.

3. Roast the chicken: Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. Remove chicken from fridge and allow 20 minutes to return to room temperature. In a large cast iron skillet or sheet pan, scatter thinly sliced potatoes and salt generously. Place squeezed lemon half in center to help prop up chicken for better air circulation. Place chicken on top and tuck the wing tips under to prevent burning. Slice remaining half lemon and scatter around chicken.

4. Roast for 20 minutes. Baste the potato slices with drippings. Rotate the pan and return to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until golden and crispy, depending on size of the chicken. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Dig in!

Tried this recipe?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

【 香草檸檬蒜香烤雞 】

急凍全雞                          1 隻
蒜末                                   3 大蒜瓣
新鮮迷迭香/百里香       適量(剁碎)
初榨橄欖油                      3 湯匙
粗鹽                                   1 湯匙
黑胡椒                               1 茶匙
檸檬                                   1 個
薯仔                                   隨意

1. 先將全雞來個蝶式開邊。(詳細做法:蝴蝶式全雞開邊法
2. 準備醃料:把蒜末、香草、橄欖油、鹽和胡椒拌勻。
3. 用手指輕輕把雞胸和雞腿的皮與肉之間分隔開,有助塞進醃料。把整隻雞塗滿醃料,擠上半個檸檬汁,放進雪櫃醃過夜。擠完的檸檬半保留備用。
4. 醃好的雞置室內解凍約 20 分鐘。預熱焗爐至 425°F/220°C。
5. 薯仔切薄片,平鋪在烤盤上並撒上鹽和胡椒。擠過的檸檬半放在中間。
6. 放上雞隻,將雞翼尖向下疊好以防止燒焦。剩餘半隻檸檬切片,撒在烤盤上。
7. 放進焗爐烤 20 分鐘。薯仔掃上雞油,再烤 15 - 20 分鐘至雞隻金黃皮脆,即成!

Tried this recipe?
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