25 May // I love carbs

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Carbs get a bad wrap. All the time I hear people saying they’re giving up bread and I’m just like: why. Gluten has been demonised, carbs are the enemy and all I can say is people are missing out. Bread is one of the greatest things ever, and I’m not talking about supermarket white bread (although that very much has a place: 3am spaghetti and cheese toasties; chip butties; paua fritter sandwiches) but about good quality, made-with-excellent-ingredients, proper delicious bread. Sourdough is very often my bread of choice, and I love that artisan bakeries are popping up everywhere.

You know what’s a great way to eat bread? Toast. Toast also has to be one of the greatest things ever, and whether served sweet or savoury as a meal, dripping with butter and marmite with a cup of tea, with eggs, with marmalade, for breakfast, for dinner: there is no meal that toast doesn’t work for.

I am firmly a double-cook toaster. As in, I always have to toast the toast for more than one toast cycle. A relationship with a toaster is a precious thing: in romance and in toast it is very important to listen and respond to needs, have a good sense of timing, and ultimately, learn what works.

Kenwood sent me one of their kMix toasters recently, and with pride in cream it graced my kitchen bench. I decided a fancy toast recipe was required and boy, did the Kenwood kMix toaster deliver. Figs are currently in season, and although they’re not for everyone, they are a very lush autumn treat, and if you’re really not a fan, this recipe would work with feijoas too. I know feijoas aren’t for everyone either, but neither is bread and neither is eternal loneliness so bear with me. I’ve gone with labneh here - a soft cheese which is essentially thickened, strained yoghurt. I’m a huge fan of making your own labneh - for the price of a cheap tub of natural yoghurt, a soft and luscious spreadable cheese awaits you. Poach your fruit, make your labne, and get that fancy sourdough in the toaster.

Thanks to Kenwood for lending me their appliances to make beautiful recipes like this! Thanks to them also I’m giving away a bundle of my favourite kitchen goodies over on facebook, so head over there to be in to win.

Toast with poached figs, labneh, pistachios and honey

Toast with poached figs, labneh, pistachios and honey

This is a great breakfast, or if you cut your toast bits small, a great sweet canape.

 

Sourdough

Labneh

Honey

Poached figs

A few pistachios, lightly dry toasted in a frying pan and finely chopped

 

Cook a piece of toast, and allow to cool very slightly. Spread with labneh, spoon over a couple of poached figs, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle over some crushed pistachios.

 

For the labneh

500g natural yoghurt

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp sea salt

 

  1. Take a medium-sized bowl and line with cheesecloth.

  2. Pour in the yoghurt, and stir through the  salt.

  3. Tie the corners of the cloth around a large wooden spoon, or simply tie into a bundle with string, and hang over a bowl, then refrigerate overnight.

  4. Remove the thickened labneh from the cheesecloth and keep stored in a container or jar in the fridge.

For the poached figs

4 ripe figs, cut in half

¼ cup sugar

3/4 cup water

3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

½ a cinnamon stick

½ vanilla pod

½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)

Gently heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add the figs, and increase to a medium heat, and as it starts to simmer add the cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange blossom (if using). Reduce heat and cook on the stop top at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve (these will keep in the fridge for a few days).

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