Mar 11, 2014

Ola Lola. Fluffy French Toast. A Really, Really Slack Dinner.

It's shaping up to be a week of shiny newness.

I have a new but retro styled kettle on the kitchen bench.  It's made me smile every time I've had to put it on for that 5 am cup of tea.  It's getting awfully dark in the morning as we get into the tail end of daylight saving.  I'm enjoying the sunny evenings as much as I can, though, because they're going to be gone in a few weeks, I'm afraid.

I found myself in Alexandria this morning, ahead of the morning traffic, because I had to drop my car off to the panel beater.  It's a totally different world off the main roads and their industrial shop fronts.  If you venture up far enough, you'll find little cafes here and there, humming with the sound of coffee machines and wafting the scent of baked goods and fry ups into the air.  A welcome counterpoint to the droning of welding equipment and the waft of paint fumes that characterize O'Riordan Street.

Skirt - ASOS, sidewalk - Alexandria but I could have been in Mexico or Argentina - the homelands of Ola Lola's owners.

I sat outside Ola Lola on Doody Street and imagined that I was actually sitting in the warm morning sun outside a cafe in Central America.  A concerned phone call from the panel beater interrupted my little daydream.  They could see that I'd dropped my car off but they were trying to find out where I was so I could hand over the keys.

Ola Lola makes the most amazing coffee.  It's rich and velvety.  The barista greets you in Spanish and walks out from behind the counter to deliver senorita's coffee when he's finished making it.  The hundreds of coffee cards pasted around the cafe are testament to just how good Ola Lola's coffee is.

This is what the lucky locals on Doody Street get to have for breakfast every morning before work - empanadas.  In four different varieties.

The cheese balls were also very popular.  Such a shame I had to rush off to get my car sorted out and thus only had time for the coffee.

It hasn't all been missed opportunities in the decadent breakfast stakes though.  I have found the perfect recipe for French Toast and I'm sharing it with you via the yellow sticky note I wrote it on from the internet.  That's right, plain flour.  It makes all the difference.  The bread doesn't get soggy and there's a fluffiness to the toast I never get with the standard egg and milk recipes.

Giving the bread a good soak - look at all that cinnamon.

Unfortunately, I made my French Toast at the crack of dawn on Sunday so the lighting was terrible when I took these photos.

You don't have to worry about the lumps of flour, they break up as you fry your toast.

I only had soy and linseed bread on hand and it still made a delicious breakfast.  Honey or maple syrup are mandatory.  As is having the Daily Mail on your iPad as you eat.  Leftovers are great reheated in a sandwich press for afternoon tea.  Again with the Daily Mail (afternoon edition, a day is a really long time in celeb land and the Mail is onto them like you wouldn't believe).

Remember my exciting shopping basket from the Coles that stocked Mix Apparel?

Well, I'm going to revel just what all those cans were for.  They were part of dinner on Saturday night when I made A Farmer's Wife's Really, Really Slack Dinner - that's it's official name and I'm not messing with what works.  AFW's site is the source for girls in the 'burbs like me who need a bit of no nonsense country cooking in their lives.

The sauce that the the chicken cooks in is two small cans of creamed corn, a drained can of butter beans and a half cup of some sort of cream if you're feeling fancy.  Just mix them together and set aside.

Prepare 800g of chicken thighs and about 200g of bacon.

Brown the bacon and set aside in a casserole dish that's large enough to fit your chicken in a single layer.  I added a browned onion and some garlic because I had a bit of time up my sleeve.

Well actually, I needed a legitimate reason to be in the kitchen whilst I contemplated that packet of salted caramel Zumbo Tim Tams.  There's only five in a packet you know.  And that works out to be about the same size as a head of broccoli.  Which means it's not a diet fail if you happen to eat them all.

The Tim Tams are sweet like all Tim Tams are, addictive like all Tim Tams are but I wish that there was more salt in the caramel.

Back to the chicken.  After you've browned the chicken, add it to the bacon.  Then top with the sauce mixture and some grated cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes at 180C.  Don't count on there being any leftovers.  

Do you have a favourite really slack dinner?  Care to share?

Talk soon.


  1. I love empanadas!! Now I want one (or two...). Adrian Zumbo for Tim Tam is clever marketing. I want those, too...
    Hope your wheels are back soon!
    :D x

  2. Apricot nectar, sachet of french onion soup, mix together on stove, pour over some seasoned chicken thighs, bake about 40 mins. Ultimate comfort food.

  3. I love your kettle. Will be making that French Toast- works with the girl diet. Thank you, was running out of things to eat! Am eating original tim tams as I type. x

  4. That's not a slack dinner! That sounds superb! Am stealing for sure .... (with the broccoli minus the Tim Tams)


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