The last few days have been filled with the hiss and hideous hum of power tools which the rays of the winter sun confirm by clearly delineating the sawdust filled atmosphere of the house. I would be delighted if I could sprinkle a dessert with a perfectly even layer of icing sugar with the same proficiency as a circular saw can coat with sawdust an entire dwelling, even through closed doors. This has meant that only cooking of the most rudimentary sort has taken place and photography has ground to halt which is why tea time reminded me of the power of soft yellow brioche, combined with summer reminiscent apricot jam, to render impotent the chill of winter in a stone house. To fully defeat the icy blast, brioche needs to be toasted and to my mind no toaster can hold a candle to a grill which is an unfortunate, but nonetheless jolly, metaphor. Where did the eye level gas grill go, and who in God’s name thought that crouching and peering at a red hot electric element through the window of the now ubiquitous fitted oven could replace the pleasure of watching toast, or in this case brioche, slowly browning to your exact specifications, under fierce and understandable fire with the addition of the mouthwatering pleasure created by the delicious vanilla perfume emanating from the seared brioche? Brioche, though made with mountains of butter, demands a further anointing before the addition of apricot jam. It is wise to keep to keep a small covered dish of butter, out of the fridge, ready for such seasonal emergencies. This prevision ensures that the butter melts on contact with the now golden brown brioche, providing a suitably luxurious surface for the spoonful of fruit filled, translucently gloopy apricot jam. Alternate mouthfuls of good coffee and jam topped brioche have done the job – here comes the sun.
This is based on an excerpt of my book “Simply Fed” which is now available from Blurb.com in ebook format for iPad and iPhone at 5.49€