Christmas is our thing. Every other occasion of the year we can be a little meh about – Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day… meh! Okay, maybe not completely meh, I care, I really do… however, Christmas is THE occasion in our house. It’s really weird because my parents were never big Christmas people, and after we moved to the UK it wasn’t an occassion that they went all out for. Kayne’s family on the other hand were the complete opposite, which is just fab because I’ve always loved celebrations and family dinners…
My nan, Vóvó Julia, was very much like Kayne’s family and my fondest Christmas childhood memories all centre around her and her food… that lady can cook! Her kitchen wasn’t the biggest or the most hi-tech and her food wasn’t posh. But she made the kind of food that only grandmothers can make, the best comfort cuisine there will ever be! At Christmas I can remember everyone sitting in the living room whilst she would be pottering around making the dinner and all these other Christmas-y treats… these were, are and will always be my favourites. Rabanadas (rrah-bah-nah-dash), or Golden Slices.
Traditionally they were made with stale bread, water or wine, cinnamon, sugar, lemon and egg as a poor mans Christmas treat. They used to be served in tavernas where they were served with jugs of cheap wine. However, my favourite ones are made with milk. Oh lordy… the sweet smell of the lemon peel, cinnamon and sugar all steeping in the warm milk. That’s the Christmas smell I love, I wish there were a candle with that scent… come on Yankee…
Now, I know lots of people will say that it’s just french toast… no. No. No. This is not just french toast. These are what my Christmas memories are made of, and in our house I start making these at the beginning of December as a kind of Christmas spirit starter and I carry on making them until the New Year. They don’t hang around very long, Kayne loves them too! They are easy and foolproof and they make everything so much better.
There’s only one problem with them, the more you make the more you eat… The more people you give them to, the more people will be requesting them from you… But, I think that that is definitely a good dilema to have!
So, Jay, this one’s for you! 😉
- 1 White Batton
- 1.5ltr Whole Milk
- 10tbsp Sugar
- 2 strips Lemon Peel
- 2 strips Orange Peel
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 4 Large Eggs
- Oil for frying
- For Cinnamon Sprinkle;
- 5tbsp Caster Sugar
- 4tbsp Ground Cinnamon
- Pour milk into a large pot and add sugar, the peel strips and cinnamon sticks. Warm on a medium heat until fragrant (do not boil). Leave to steep for 30 mins or until you are happy with the strength of the flavour.
- Whilst the milk is steeping; cut the bread into slices (about 3/4 of an inch).
- once milk is flavoured to your satisfaction start soaking the bread slices. You want them to be soaked through but not falling apart. I like to give them 20 secs on each side. Set them aside.
- Heat 1ltr of oil in a large pan and beat the eggs in a large bowl.
- Once oil is ready dip each slice into the egg and place in the frying pan. You want the oil to be a medium heat so it doesn't scorch the slices.
- Once they are a golden colour and heated through remove from pan and place on kitchen paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Repeat the process until they are all done.
- Mix the sugar and ground cinnamon.
- Sprinkle a serving dish with with some of the cinnamon sugar and add a layer of the slices, then sprinkle some of the sugar over the top and repeat the layers until finished.
- You can serve them immediately or they keep in the fridge for a good 7 days.
- They taste the best when served fresh and warm with a steaming coffee, tea or a nice tipple of Baileys!