The day my DSLR failed me

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A product of editing with the PicsArt application.

I used to be an Instagram hater (that I use it now doesn’t mean ANYTHING). Pfft what filters? Lo-fi? Hudson? X-Pro? Good photographers need #nofilters. No way is my good ol’ DSLR ever losing to some no-name-filtered-mobile-camera-picture. And I never thought there’d be a day I was grateful for mobile cameras and their numerous editing applications.

Today proved me wrong. Somehow my many DSLR shots just didn’t seem to work. The lighting was too harsh, even after manual adjustments. As with everything food-related, I have to take a picture with my phone and – yes – Instagram it. So imagine my surprise when I realise that the pictures I took with my phone turned out better than those in my camera! With a little editing those pictures turned out to be pretty decent. I guess mobile pictures and apps can possibly be passable with good lighting and a lil editing.

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French toast breakfast I made for my Aunt for her birthday this morning!

Today’s my Aunty’s birthday, so I decided to give her the whole B-in-B shebang. Pancakes I’ve made way too often; so French toast it shall be. Another one of your sweet breakfasts, French toasts are usually accompanied by honey or maple syrup, and some caramelised fruits. I was afraid that would be a tad too sweet, so I decided to try my hand at making some salted caramel and creme patisserie. I had no worries about the latter cause I’ve made it before, but the salted caramel was a different story altogether. I never liked anything salty+sweet in my desserts; I don’t understand how that works. I’m only recently beginning to like it thanks to Milk and Honey’s Salty Malty gelato. That means I’ve never tried salted caramel anything, except for maybe that 1 or 2 “ok imma give it a shot” bites of sea salt caramel macarons. Which also means I wouldn’t know if I’ve nailed the flavour.

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Being the daredevil that I am I gave it a shot anyway, and I’m pleased that my Aunty, and my family, seemed to really like it! So I guess I did get it right after all (: my only qualm was the crème pâtissière. Aunty ate hers the moment I served it up so the consistency was just perfect. The rest of my family decided to have theirs as tea, so they refrigerated it, and toasted it before eating. Totally unwise because overheating the creme patisserie caused it to curdle a wee bit. That aside everything else was wonderful, and this is definitely going into my list of BinB recipes!

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French Toast with Caramelized Bananas, Crème Pâtissière and Salted Caramel (serves 3)

Salted Caramel (will make more than required)
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon fleur de sel

Vanilla Crème Pâtissière
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour

Caramelized Bananas
3 bananas, separated
4 teaspoons of honey

French Toast
6 slices of bread
4 eggs
half cup of milk

The crème pâtissière and salted caramel should be prepared ahead.

To make the Crème Pâtissière:
1. Add the vanilla extract to the milk and bring the mixture to simmer, then remove from heat.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the flour until combined. While continuously whisking, add a bit of the hot milk to the eggs then pour the egg mix back into the pot.

3. Place the pot over low heat and stir constantly until custard is slightly thick, rich and creamy. Be careful not to overcook the custard and curdle it. To avoid lumps, strain it while pouring into a bowl. Cover the surface directly with cling film to stop a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until needed.

To make the Salted Caramel:
1. First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don’t burn it. To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking.

2. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber colour, watching it carefully to avoid burning the caramel.

3. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber colour, carefully add the butter. Whisk until all the butter is melted.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel

5. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large jar and cool to room temperature, before storing it in the refrigerator up till a month.

To make the Caramelized Bananas:
1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high-heat.

2. Working in batches of 3, heat drizzles of honey over the pan for about a minute. Add in the slices of bananas, leaving enough space between each slice to flip them. Leave the banana slices to cook and form a brown caramelized crust on one side before flipping it over. If the honey starts to bubble, reduce the heat and continue cooking.

3. Wash the pan after each batch. Place the caramelized bananas aside while you prepare the French Toasts.

To make the French Toast:
1. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a flatter, wider bowl/dish. Dip each slice of bread, both sides, into the egg batter until soaked through.

2. Heat up the pan over medium heat, then fry each side of the eggy bread slices until golden then set aside.

To assemble:
1. Spread the crème pâtissière thickly on one side of the french toast, then layer the bananas on top. Spoon a little caramel over the top and sandwich the lot with another slice of toast.

2. Serve with extra salted caramel sauce and scoops of ice cream if you have em!

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