Lisa says “Toast is quick to make and comforting. It goes with the snug atmosphere we wanted to create in out cafe. We love the revival of traditional crafts like knitting, sewing and baking. Making toast from great quality, artisan bread fits with the nostalgic feel that is really popular at the moment. The word ‘toast’ also conjures up lovely feelings of family and goes well with cake. Toast has a lot of sensory qualities; the crunch as you bite into it, the smell as it cooks and the soft inside as butter melts into the crumb. It all adds up to a great eating experience. Everybody seems to like toast and associate it with memories of home and childhood. It’s a feel good food.”
Neither Natasha nor Lisa has an extensive catering background and so they wanted to serve food that was easy to prepare. They just wanted to make simple, fresh food with good quality ingredients.
“Toast is really versatile and can be served with savoury or sweet toppings at any meal” says Lisa. “You can have toast for lunch or with a cup of tea. One of our most popular dishes is toast smeared with Mascarpone, topped with raspberries, honey and cinnamon.”
I ask what has been the response to a cafe based around such a basic food. “Most people love it. They think it is a really simple, clever idea. Toast is not particularly bad for you. Many customers just want something very simple and wholesome to eat. It is also great for children cut up into fingers to dip into things.”
Lisa and Natasha tried toasting lots of different types of bread before they opted for bread made at the Bondgate Bakery, Otley and the Leeds Bread Co-op. “You want toast to ‘crunch’ when you bite into it, soak up the butter and carry a topping. If you get a sliced loaf it can have a sogginess that just does not work.”
If people want to make more of the toast they make at home Lisa and Natasha recommend:
- Use the best bread you can.
- You have to use bread that toasts well. So check out craft bakeries and farmers markets.
- Be creative about the toppings. You can put almost anything on toast for example mashed up broad beans or beetroot with feta; or even peanut butter with a good quality chocolate grated over it.
- Use lots of colour and textures and complementary flavours. Toast with colourful toppings can look really attractive.
- We use a good smear of salted butter which gives the toast a bit more flavour.
Avocado, pea and feta on toastServes 4
- 150g frozen peas
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp mint chopped
- 8 slices of sour dough or light rye bread
MethodPlace the frozen peas in pan and cook in a little boiling water for five minutes. Drain and leave to cool. Meanwhile cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and scrape out the flesh taking care to extract the thin very green layer next to the skin. This gives the pâté a beautiful green colour. Add the lemon juice and peas and season well. Place the avocado and peas in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. The mixture does not have to be completely smooth. Adjust the seasoning and mix in the crumbled feta cheese and chopped mint. Serve on lightly toasted sourdough or light rye bread dribbled with a little olive oil.
More recipes for great things to eat on toast coming soon! So stay tuned.