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The Simple Stuff

Uncomplicated recipes for the perfect hassle-free meal

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Published: Fri 20 Mar 2015, 4:51 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:27 AM



Peanut Butter French Toast with Fresh Berries and Maple Syrup


  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  •  ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 8 slices white bread or brioche loaf
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 tbsp maple syrup
  • Icing sugar
  • 250 gm fresh berries e.g. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries



Whisk together the eggs, caster sugar, milk, and vanilla. Spread peanut butter on 4 bread slices and top each slice with the remaining slices.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter over medium-high. Dip both sides of the sandwiches in the egg mixture and add to the skillet.

Cook until the undersides are golden brown, 2 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 minutes.

To finish, drizzle maple syrup over the toasts and dust with icing sugar. Serve warm with fresh berries.




Bresaola, Parmesan and Rocket Salad


  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cups rocket leaves, picked
  • 12 slices of Bresaola
  • 40 gm Parmesan shavings



To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil with some sea salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, pour the dressing over the rocket and toss gently to coat the greens.

Fan the Bresaola slices out on a plate. Pile the rocket in the centre and scatter the Parmesan shavings around the top.

Grind some fresh black pepper over the top and serve.



Iced Berry Tea


For the tea:

  • 4 berry infusion tea bags
  • 4 cups water
  •  ½ cup simple syrup, or to taste
  •  ½ orange, cut into wedges
  •  ½ lime, cut into wedges
  • 8 frozen raspberries

For the simple syrup:

• ¼ cup sugar

• ½ cup water

• ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract



Put tea bags in a heatproof pitcher. Boil water in a kettle and pour over the tea bags. Steep tea 5 minutes and remove tea bags.

Cool tea and chill, covered, for about 1 hour.

To prepare the simple syrup, add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Cook over low heat while stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Let syrup cool. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Stir in simple syrup, to taste. Squeeze orange and lime wedges into tea and drop wedges into the liquid.

Serve tea in tall glasses. Garnish with frozen raspberries.



Cream of Mushroom Soup


  • 450 gm brown chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 20 gm dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50 gm unsalted butter
  • 1.2 L vegetable or chicken stock
  • 100 ml double cream, plus extra to serve
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped



Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the butter to the pan and as it begins to foam, tip in the sliced mushrooms and the drained porcini mushrooms, and season. Stir the mixture and sauté over high heat for 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to colour.

Pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender and process to a smooth purée. Add the cream and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls, add a little swirl of cream and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. 




David Lee, Executive Chef, The Hamptons Café, Dubai


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