I used to imagine my life as a single woman in my new house a little bit different. I would have chosen freely and sometime randomly my lunches and dinners, maybe one day guacamole and tortillas, the other day a green salad and grilled cheese with wholemeal bread or even a creamy risotto just for me. I had not considered, though, the proximity to grandma’s and mum’s houses and the Italian character strongly harboring in me. So my life as a single woman is dotted with lunches at grandma’s and dinners at my parents’ house. Sometimes I also dine out, for your information… But breakfasts, oh the breakfasts that I make!
It all began as a game, to have fun with my camera and Instagram, a challenge to find something different to photograph every morning. There are days when I am on a run and breakfast is just the mandatory coffee and some biscuits. Luckily there are also relaxed days, when I am able to make something from scratches, as a rice pudding with cardamom and saffron or baked apples stuffed with dried fruit. Then there are the days when I am impressively organized and I make my breakfast the night before.
A tart made with leftover short pastry and jam baked before going to bed makes me sleep rocked by the smell of sugar and butter and it makes me wake up with a smile. Whole wheat bread wrapped in a kitchen cloth the next morning becomes an ideal base for my favourite spring flower honey, produced by my friend Gigliola, who lives a few kilometers from here. And then there’s Benedetta’s bread pudding cake…
As Tuscan, I worship stale bread. We do not throw anything away. If not used directly in cooking you can grate it and make extraordinary breadcrumbs that will give new life to golden fried chicken and stuffed vegetables. Some time ago I posted on Facebook a photo of the breadcrumbs I had just made to recycle some stale bread and Benedetta asked me if I had ever tried the stale bread pudding cake.
Now, you must know that I met Benedetta almost ten years ago at a friend’s house. Since then we met just a few more times, but we found out that we have so much in common, a passion for cooking and a true love for nature and for some heartbreaking TV series, ending with a recent love affair with Florence. Well, we’re kindred souls. I asked her the recipe.
To cut a long story short, in a week I’ve already baked it twice. While you make it you’ll already have an idea of what the result will be: the hot milk softens the dry bread and makes it the perfect start for a rustic and moist cake, which will be enriched with two tablespoons of cocoa powder, nuts, an egg and a some sugar. From here on, just add your imagination: just think at fresh raspberries in summer or a handful of chocolate chips if you want to indulge yourself… delicious!
Bread pudding cake
- 300 g (10 1/2 oz) of stale bread
- 500 ml (2 1/8 cups) of whole milk
- 6 tbsp of sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- A handful of almonds and hazelnuts
- Butter to grease the cake tin
- Breadcrumbs to dust the cake tin
- Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F), fan assisted.
- Crumble the bread and place it in a large bowl.
- Bring the milk to a boil and pour over the bread. Leave it to soak the bread until cool. Mash with a fork.
- Add the sugar, the beaten egg, the sifted cocoa powder and the coarsely chopped almonds and hazelnuts. Mix thoroughly.
- Grease with butter a 18 cm round cake tin and dust with breadcrumbs and sugar. Spoon into the cake tin, smooth the surface with a spatula, sprinkle with sugar and add some butter slivers.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, until crisp on surface but still moist inside.
- Let cool and remove from the cake tin. Enjoy your breakfast and the new morning with a smile.
- Bread pudding by BBC Good Food, lovely with tea, or custard or ice cream for dessert
- Bread pudding cake, this time from Joy of Baking, just imagine it made with croissants…
- last but not least, I want to show you where I bought my fabric from, the nice Etsy shop Fabrics and Frills. Linda is such a sweet and fun person, we became friends after my first purchase, I will surely buy more colours!
… then, time to introduce you Noa, six months old, she has something of a Maremmano and something of a Golden Retriever, she came into our life to mess it up and make it even more fun and enjoyable. We walk together, she’s trying to feel at home here, and I just hope she’ll get along well with Wolfi. We already love her!