Poor Knights of Windsor

After all the over indulgence of Christmas, and with plenty of cold, dark days stretching before us, I hanker after simple comfort food with which I can curl up in front of the fire.

You can’t go far wrong with this very simple snack recipe.

This simple dish was originally made by the ‘poor’ or ’alms’ knights of Windsor who lived in Windsor Castle and attended the Knights of the Garter ceremonies. These group of destitute former military men lived on a small pension from the king. In 1348 Edward III formed the Poor Knights. They still exist but are now called the Military Knights of Windsor and probably aren’t quite so destitute!


8 thick slices of day-old white bread 2 egg yolks
10 tablespoons milk 5oz (140g) butter
1 tablespoon caster sugar A little cinnamon
1 tablespoon Madeira wine (or sherry) A little caster sugar for dusting


  1. Stir the sugar and Madeira into 8 tablespoons of the milk in a shallow bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining milk into another shallow bowl.
  3. Trim the crusts off the bread and cut the slices in half.
  4. Warm the butter in a large frying pan then dip the bread firstly in the milk and Madeira mixture, drain slightly then dip in the egg and milk mixture.
  5. Pop the slices into the frying pan and cook until golden brown, turning once.
  6. Remove from the frying pan and place on a warmed plate and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.
  7. These are great just as they are or with a little home-made jam. Scrumcious!

My ‘Official Taster’ tells me this dish reminded him of doughnuts. All I need now is a mug of hot chocolate, a roaring fire and a repeat of Midsomer Murders. Life doesn’t get any better.


Old Bread