French toast with maple syrup, berries, and a side of bacon

Every summer my parents go on holiday to the most beautiful New England village by the sea, with pale blue clapboard mansions called things like Ocean View Nook, where everyone you pass in the street says hello, and is white. Most mornings, at one of the cosily shabby diners, among the off-duty CEOs and their  families in chinos and Crocs, my little Jewish dad will order a fry up and my little Jewish mum will have french toast with maple syrup and a side of bacon. The idea of meat with sugar sauce, first thing in the morning, could only ever be an American one, but god bless them it works.  I made it this morning for the whole family, as it is Mother’s Day, and I am home.

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Mum’s American breakfast

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Serves four

200g each of blueberries and strawberries + sprinkling caster sugar

Butter and vegetable  groundnut oil, for frying

4 eggs

2tbsp milk

1tbsp caster sugar

4 slices white bread (slightly stale, or dried out in a warm oven for a few mins)

4 rashers streaky unsmoked bacon

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Quarter the strawberries, put in a bowl, sprinkle a tbsp or so of sugar over them, mix gently, set aside. Beat together the eggs, milk and the tbsp of sugar. Lay the bread in a dish and pour the egg mixture on top. Leave for 10-30 mins, until the egg is absorbed, turning the bread over a few times to help soak it all up. Meanwhile, put the blueberries in a saucepan with a splash of water, shake over some sugar, and leave to  heat gently until the first few have popped. Heat a frying pan until it is just about smoking and add the bacon. For the authentic American diner look, cook until properly crisp, flattening with a spatula/spoon as you go. Move to kitchen paper when done to remove excess fat and keep crisp. To cook the French toast, heat butter and oil in a large frying pan until foamy, add the soggy bread and cook over a medium heat for 2-3mins on each side, till golden and puffed up. When everything is cooked and assembled, drizzle generously with maple syrup.

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