SO THERE I was minding my own business, idling away the weekend when I had a quick look at my Facebook feed on my phone, as one does when one has nothing to do, and is in no rush to do it.
Mixed in among all the stuff and nonsense was a picture of French toast, which should be an innocuous enough thing to see but I hadn’t had French toast in ages. I had no idea when last I actually had this greatest of French delicacies (I’m serious, I was just about raised on the stuff), so I resolved to make a batch the next day but of course, the no-egg and no-milk thing popped up.
Hitting up the wonder of Google for ideas, I found not one but many, many recipes for vegan French toast but they were all too complex for me. I like simple cooking: heck my semi-world famous pancake mix has only two ingredients and if I could get rid of one, I would. So these recipes calling for exotic ingredients like flour, nutritional yeast, cinnamon or vanilla extract just would not do. Who keeps that kind of stuff at home? Not this space-challenged bachelor, that’s for sure. Okay, so the flour is a bit of an omission but still, too many ingredients are too many ingredients. End of story.
Then I stumbled on one recipe that used bananas to make an egg replacement. Like all the others, it needed all kinds of things but I just blithely assumed I knew better and could just make it up as I went along.
- 2 x ripe organic bananas and 250ml of Vitasoy’s yummy rice milk enriched with chickpea protein to make the egg replacement.
- Some whole-wheat sourdough bread I happened to have on hand.
- Some of Chantal Organics’ terrific apple syrup to go on top (reviewed here).
The bread was way too fresh for this gig but my mind was made up and shopping wasn’t on the agenda, because in addition to being time-poor, I’m lazy. Okay, let’s be honest, I’m just lazy. Ideally you want to use some bread for this that’s a bit elderly, without being desiccated. Slightly stale in other words.
I blended the bananas and the rice milk, which was specifically chosen for its rich and nutty taste over plain old rice milk. This’ll give you a thin but not too thin liquid, which will be enough to do more than two slices of bread – more like four or six, but I just used the leftover mix for a mid-morning smoothie.
Soak the bread thoroughly on both sides and then fry it in a medium-hot frying pan, or if you’re awkward like me and want food in a hurry, use an electric wok that goes from cold to searing in seconds. Don’t cook on too much heat or you’ll just burn the outside while leaving the inside mushy, which to an extent is what I did. Patience, Grasshopper.
Once it’s been cooked on both sides and is golden and crispy on the outside (just like “normal” French toast), transfer to a plate, drizzle with apple syrup (or sugar, or apricot jam, or honey, or agave or cinnamon or whatever manner of sweet things take your fancy) and enjoy. My first attempt turned out to be a bit soft because of the too-fresh bread (and my haste) but my second batch was better after I chose to use a couple of slices of old Molenberg from the back of the pantry and went a bit slower.
You’ll note that this is adamantly a sweet recipe – that’s because savoury French toast should have been outlawed by the UN a long time ago. Sweet! That’s how it’s eaten where I come from, but I suppose if you’re into crimes against nature, then you could also just make it up as you go along, but bear in mind that the banana base gives this French toast a lovely sweetness, so it might not go all that well with faux-bacon or ersatz-salmon. It actually doesn’t really need all the other sweet stuff I put on top, but who can resist this apple syrup? ASHLEY KRAMER