Well, it's taken me almost six months, but I've realised something unexpected about the recipes from the box. For the most part, the recipes I've made so far are either completely the same as recipes today, with no substitutes necessary, or they are like the 'Bonus Treat' recipe we had for breakfast this weekend, where 2/3 of the ingredients are substitutes because the original either no longer exists or I can't purchase it here in Scotland. Obviously, I knew that I'd have a lot of substitutions, alterations, and tweaks to make to the recipes in the box, but I assumed incorrectly that most recipes would have one (or maybe two at most) substitutions. I wasn't anticipating recipes like this one that required so many substitutions I lost count. But the alterations are the fun part-- I've been brainstorming ways to adapt the salad recipes I keep finding for weeks because I can't get my hands on Ranch or Blue Cheese or French dressing.*
So when I found these two recipes in the box-- one of which is really just 'marmalade on toast,' of course I thought I was in for an easy ride with no substitutions at all. But then I read them both a little closer and realised 'bonus treat' was indeed going to require some ingenuity. Plus, then I remembered that San Francisco was responsible for starting an entire artisan toast movement a couple of years ago, and so I decided these recipes were going to be awesome. And I was right.
When my dad was visiting a few weeks ago, he tried to explain 'date bread' to me. He claimed it was a squishy, dark bread that you had to squeeze out of a container almost like a thick paste-- and based on the picture that accompanies this recipe for 'bonus treat,' I think that must be exactly what the recipe called for. However, as it's no longer the 1960s (much though Donald Trump wishes it was), I can't buy that kind of bread so I used Soreen to make this. If you're in the UK, you probably already know the wonders of Soreen, and I totally recommend this recipe. If you're not over here and have never heard of Soreen, it's a 'fruited malt loaf' made with raisins and malt extract. It's a thick, super dense, dark and chewy loaf of bread with a rich, fruity flavour. Obviously, it's delicious. Since it's made with malt, though, it's full of sugar so probably not an everyday kind of breakfast food. Evidently other flavours besides grape/raisin exist, but this is the only type I've ever seen since moving here. Usually Soreen is eaten with a smear of warmed butter, but for our purposes we had it with cream cheese and plum butter, instead of the currant jelly that the recipe called for. No currant jelly around here, so I used Polish plum butter, which is my current favourite condiment and I put it on everything.
So in the interest of not boring you with two different toast recipes this week, here I present them to you together. Next time you're brainstorming something new to accompany your weekend brunch, give one of these a try-- you won't regret it.
*Grocery stores here do sell something called 'French dressing,' but it's a vinaigrette-type thing, not the red stuff like in the US. I'm not complaining, as the Scottish version is not only less suspect looking than the American stuff, but also more similar to what actual salad dressing tastes like in France. So the fact remains: American-style salad dressings are just not to be had over here.
5 spoons out of five for the 'bonus treat,' 4 spoons out of five for the 'Sunny Morn Sandwich,' partly because it wasn't a sandwich and partly because it's just an incredibly stupid thing to write an entire recipe explaining.
Sunny Morn Sandwich
Spread cream cheese on toast.
poon marmalade in a circle in the middle of toast to look like the sun.
Eat it with a cup of hot coffee and a crossword puzzle.
Slice of your favourite bread, toasted to your preferred degree of brown
Marmalade (coarse shred is obviously best, but I'll forgive you for using the fine-shredded stuff)
Slice a thick piece of bread.
Spread it with cream cheese.
Add jam and enjoy.
Malt loaf or other date/raisin bread
Polish plum butter, currant jam, or similar