Portuguese sweet bread French toast + homemade wholegrain cereal bread!

French Toast Horizon Guest House Header
French toast under lights

There are two recipes which are considered the ‘most asked for’ from guests who have stayed at Horizon Guest House. The first is usually the whole grain hot cereal which we featured in an earlier blog post, and the second, is our delicious Portuguese sweet bread French toast.

The Portuguese sweet bread I use in this recipe is made locally at the Punalu’u Bake Shop in Naahlehu, near South Point, less than an hour’s drive south of Horizon Guest House. This type of bread was originally brought to Hawaii by Portuguese sugar workers in the 19th century and is still a favorite in Hawaii today.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to find any Portuguese sweet bread, any egg-rich bread, such as challah, will work just as well.

Challah bread Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Braided egg bread

My partner Angus made this delicious braided egg bread, above, and it worked well for French toast too. For the egg bread recipe click here.

The French toast recipe

First, cut the Portuguese sweet bread into thick (1″ or so) slices.

French toast 1 Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii
So good you’ll want to eat it straight away! But don’t – it’s even better as French toast

Soak overnight in the refrigerator in the following custard: (for 6 slices)

Mix the following ingredients well:

6 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 tbs. rum

A pinch of salt

1.5 cup half & half

Pour over the slices and make sure to move them around so the custard soaks in all over the bread.

French toast 2 Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii

About an hour before cooking, remove from the refrigerator, turn over and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Fry over a medium heat in a buttered pan until golden. Watch carefully, the sugar can burn. Transfer to the oven and bake at 300 for 15 minutes to finish. If you lower the heat and flip over frequently, you can finish on the stove top.

French toast small Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii

And serve! We have heat lamps here at Horizon to keep it nice and warm for when you arrive for breakfast. And don’t forget to top with all of your favorite toppings.

Our favorite toppings here at Horizon are:

Homemade lilikoi syrup, homemade jaboticaba syrup, homemade mango & ginger jam, and of course maple syrup.

Download the recipe here.

Wholegrain bread using Clem's cereal

Fresh bread Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island

This is perfect if you have some left over hot cereal and decide to make bread. Just use your favorite, plain bread recipe. I use about 2 cups of the cereal (at room temp) mixed in with the liquid and yeast before adding the flour. Omit the sugar in your bread recipe as the cereal already has some in it.

Also, this bread mixture works well made into homemade hamburger buns or dinner rolls, as well as a bread loaf.

We would love to hear your feedback. Let us know in the comments below, or in our Facebook post! Happy baking everyone! 

Come enjoy all the breakfast goodness at Horizon Guest House! Book now – click the button below.

Diving on the Big Island

White Sea Urchin
The rare white sea urchin. Kona Coast. 40 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Diving in Hawaiian waters, whether it’s snorkelling or scuba, has always been regarded as one of the must-do diving experiences. But if you have ever dived in other locations around the world it may not be what you expect… *hint: it’s even better than you could imagine..

Nudibranch Big Island Horizon Guest House
Nudibranch. Big Island. 1 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

What's different about diving in Hawaii?

The Hawaiian Islands are one of the most remote areas on earth. Not only are the islands isolated but the main Pacific Ocean currents do not intersect around the Hawaiian Island chain. This has meant that there hasn’t been the same current drift that other islands have had, and as a result the islands don’t have the same level of bio-diversity as some of the other island chains. In fact, we are missing the large amount of invertebrates found in other tropical waters.

Soft corals Kona Coast Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Soft corals. Cave diving, Kona Coast. 30 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Around all the Hawaiian Islands are steep drop-offs into deep water and because of this there are very few shallow reefs to harbor and protect the sensitive sea fans and soft corals.

Juvenile Frog Fish
Juvenile frog fish. Kona Coast. 30 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Having been a professional diver for many years, I was astounded when I first dived other tropical locations. When I dived in French Polynesia, in particular the Tahitian Islands, I was amazed to see the variety of marine life. Vast fringing reefs formed lagoons rich with colorful clams, soft corals, sea fans, shrimp and crabs.

Green Turtle Honaunau Big Island Horizon BnB
Green turtle. Honaunau, Kona Coast. 15 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

So what IS special about diving in Hawaii?

The Hawaiian Islands not only have indigenous and unique marine life, but of the known 24,000 species of fish in the world:

  • The Hawaiian Islands are home to over 1,100 species
  • Among this number, 149 are native to Hawaii (these include the Hawaiian Whitespotted Puffer and the Potter’s Angelfish)

Diving along the Kona Coast means you’ll be able to see over 40 percent of these native species of fish, almost all of the native corals, as well as the Hawaiian green sea turtle, and all just minutes from entering the ocean – and in as little as 5 feet of water!

Flame Angel Big Island Hawaii
The rare flame angel fish. Big Island. 40 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

Safer Diving

Diving in the Hawaiian Islands is some of the safest diving in the world. There are no sea snakes, box jellyfish or other toxic creatures. The water is warm and clear and the currents are generally slow or non-existent.

Crown of Thorns Starfish
Crown of thorns starfish. Kona Coast. 25 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

The geology can be spectacular, with wondrous caves and beautiful drop-offs.

Manta Kona Coast Big Island Hawaii Horizon BnB
Clem with Manta. Kona Coast. 50 ft depth.

Deep water, pelagic sea creatures can be found relatively close to shore. These include manta rays, dolphins, and even giant whale sharks – don’t worry they’re not dangerous, they’re in fact a docile, plankton feeder. For more detail on the whale shark: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/bigfish.html

Tinker's butterfly Horizon Guest House Big Island
The rare tinker’s butterfly fish. Big Island. 135 ft depth. Photo credit: Clem Classen

And there’s always the famous humpback whale! You’re unlikely to encounter this mammal during a dive, but the spectacular displays topside, put on by the whales when they breach, is not to be missed if you happen to be on the island during ‘whale season’ (December to March).

Masked Butterfly Honaunau Big Island Horizon BnB

Where to dive?

Horizon Guest House is just minutes from one of the best local snorkeling spots – Two Step. We also have masks and snorkels on hand for guests to use.

Big Island Divers

But if you’re looking for a more comphrensive diving and/or snorkeling experience we recommend Big Island Divers. Corrine and the team will help you decide on what experience best suits you, whether it’s snorkeling, either with dolphins or as part of a whale watching trip, or one of the many scuba diving packages. Don’t forget their legendary Kona Manta Ray Night Dive – it’s not to be missed!

For more information on Big Island Divers check out their website www.bigislanddivers.com  and their amazing Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bigislanddivershawaii/

Experience diving here on the Big Island! Stay close to the action at Horizon Guest House. To book now click the button below.

Sunny: Queen of the Pastures

Sunny Horizon Guest House Hawaii

Sunny is a special horse. Not just because she’s so special to us but also because she has an incredible pedrigree.

Her official name is ‘Mirasol’ which means ‘look at the sun’ and she has been with us since 1996, when she came to us from Rancho Del Sueño in California.

Sunny's Family History

The interesting part of Sunny’s heritage is that it’s traceable to the original horses brought by the Spanish when they first came to the Americas.

Sunny Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island

Sunny is unique because she’s a Wilbur-Cruce Colonial Spanish horse. The Cruce horses are direct descendants of horses that came to the New World from Spain in the 1500s. In 1989 the horses on the Wilbur-Cruce ranch were identified as a rare, genetic type – DNA results pointed to their characteristics being ‘Old World Spanish’ and ‘North African Barb’. The original stock of the herd came from Father Kino’s Mission Dolores in Sonora, Mexico. The group of horses had been breed on the ranch for over 100 years prior, having been purchased by the ranch from the Mission.

In 1990 the Wilbur-Cruce family donated the horses to The Nature Conservancy and they, in turn, partnered with a number breeders including Robin Collins at Rancho Del Sueño (where Sunny was born) in order to protect the bloodlines. Since then, Robin has maintained the genetic diversity of the horses via a careful breeding program in order to preserve the integrity of these amazing horses.

Fun Fact! The Wilbur-Cruce horses look very similar to the horses found in a lot of Baroque-era art, and are in fact closer to the horses from this era than those found in Spain today.

https://stablemanagement.com/industry-news-information/spanish-treasures-arizona-cruce-colonial-spanish-horses-25107

Sunny Horizon Kona B&B Hawaii

Personality

The breed is known for its intelligence, agility and hardiness. Sunny is no exception. On the boat trip from California to Hawaii she was accompanied by a large herd of goats. The barge tender told me that in the course of the journey Sunny twice untied the latch on the gate and let the goats loose on the barge…

Fiercely competitive Sunny will always seek to be number one. If I’m riding with her in a group situation she will insist on riding in front and won’t be happy until she is!

Time to get new shoes

Sunny and the Gang

After Sunny’s best friend, Buck, died a few years ago she decided to ‘adopt’ the donkeys Poncho and Lefty as her new friends – allowing them to keep her company…

She still rules the pastures – Poncho and Lefty know who’s boss – but Sunny is basically now retired. However, she will gladly snack on carrots from the guests and is always happy to have some attention if you just want to spend time petting her and, of course, reminding her of her distinguished pedigree!

Sunny Horizon B&B Big island Hawaii
Buck (left) with Sunny

Support the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

Interested in supporting the preservation of Sunny’s family? Rancho Del Sueño is the equine division of the Heritage Discovery Center, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the critically endangered Wilbur-Cruce Spanish horse.  Their mission is to save this amazing breed from extinction. To find out more about the great work the ranch does, and to support them, check out the link below. 

www.ranchodelsueno.com

And for more information on the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish horse:

https://stablemanagement.com/industry-news-information/spanish-treasures-arizona-cruce-colonial-spanish-horses-25107

Ready to book? Click the button below!

Wild Birds of Horizon: Part I

Kalij pheasant Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
Kalij pheasants

It’s not just domesticated animals you’ll see at Horizon Guest House. We have abundant wild bird life here on the property and in this post, part I of II, we’ll feature some of our favorites.

Kalij pheasant

The kalij pheasant was first introduced to Hawaii in 1962. The males are black with grey and the females are light brown. The males have a distinctive red colouring around the eyes with a plume of feathers on their heads.

They grow to be between two to three feet in size. Originally from the Himalaya region in Nepal, it was the owners of Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch who first brought the kalij pheasants to the Big Island. You’re most likely to see these birds in forested upland areas, which is why we often see them here at Horizon due to the altitude – we’re at 1,100 feet.

Did you know? Despite it’s size the kalij is sometimes targeted as prey by the io, the Hawaiian hawk!

Cardinal Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
A friendly Red Cardinal

Red Cardinal

This colorful bird is fairly common on the Big Island. Also known as the northern cardinal, or redbird, it was introduced to Hawaii in 1929.

Cardinals are common in pairs and you’ll often see them in the garden at Horizon. The male is easily identified by his bright red color. The females are brown in color. When you hear birdsong first thing in the morning at Horizon it’s likely to be the cardinal as they are among the first birds to sing at dawn.

Zebra Finch Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
Zebra finch on the lanai

Zebra finch

The zebra finch is a common bird on the property and it might take you a moment to see them. The zebra finch is very small. So-called because of its zebra-like stripes on its neck and chest, and also because of the coloring of its black and white tail.

There can be great variation in the coloring of zebra finches. Generally the male is gray with a black shading around its eye and patches of red on its cheeks as well as a red beak. The female’s beak is more of a pale orange.

Turkey Horizon BnB Kona Big Island
Turkeys in the garden

Turkey

You’ll often see turkeys at Horizon moving in herds. Turkeys were released on the Big Island at the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch in the early 1960s when some wild Rio Grande turkeys were introduced.

Turkeys like the higher elevations and their population has grown significantly since their introduction. Their numbers are estimated at more than 15,000.

Did you know? Turkeys are found on all islands but are more common on the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai than the other islands.

Saffron Finch Horizon Guest House
Bird in the hand!

Saffron finch

One of our favorites, the saffron finch is commonly found on the Big Island but especially on the Kona Coast. Often seen in large flocks, you’ll find saffron finches congregating around the pond at the entrance to the B&B.

The species of saffron finch on the Big Island are originally from Columbia/Venezuela and were introduced to the Big Island around the same time as the turkeys to the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Ranch.

Did you know? A group of finches has many collective nouns, these include a ‘charm’, a ‘company’ and a ‘trembling’ of finches!

Look out for part II of our feature on the wild birds of Horizon in the future!

Come see our amazing birdlife! Click the button below to book now.