with a classic vanilla sauce
It's been hot. Not hot like the balmy, sunshine-infused day hot. It's hot Hot, with the capitalized H. For the past few days, I've been coated slick with perspiration. The droplets roll down my forehead, into my eyes, down my nose bridge, and just seem to rise out from my skin pores endlessly. So now, in this oven of a house, despite the fan which struggles to cool the place down, I resemble a gym rat, soaked, with glasses slipping down.
To say that it's merely hot would be an understatement ; it's humid too. The air is hard to breathe, dense with the water molecules which morphs this environment into a hostile, dank hell. Not only are we being broiled alive - we're roasted from inside out too. I'm barely able to identify where those beads of liquid on my skin erupt from - do they seep from my skin or stick to it, and cling on, rather reluctant to relinquish their grip?
This unbeatable summer heat is one which burns the thoughts out of your mind. It interrupts sentences and tangle your head into a confounded jumble of words. It transforms us into idle souls, not insouciant, but indolent beings. We do not create. We take. We take tissues which later litter the ground in a damp pile after mopping up our sweat. We take cans of chilled drinks, their beads of perspiration far more than ours, later lying in a rubbish bin after being drunk dry by thirsty tongues. We take showers to have that sweat mingle with the bliss of running water and wash down in the drain.
We take. We do not give.
We snatch away these resources from the earth, from nature. We take from her just as she takes the winds from us. Or so we think. We, humanity, are a race with endless demands and requests. We expect to be fed, to be fed as kings and queens (well, some are, for that matter).
Yet we have not considered ourselves to be a species which should be fed as a population. We are similar to insects, so small, so insignificant in life. But within nature, where every being is a spark in the darkness, no matter the size, shape, age, species, we are all beings.
We light up as flares do. Our lives are short, bright, alive. But this energy burns out. Our end is swift, like a quenched candle. Just a flick, and it was never there. All that's left are trails of faint smoke which dissipate into the atmosphere.
Look at what the summer heat has done to me - it's charred my brains. I've got hypothetical situations combing my mind, all philosophy and little sense. With all these, I wouldn't be surprised if I start to see flowers floating and cows bellowing from where cows shouldn't exist.
With this, I end my words. Today it lacks in structure, similar to an airy cloud.
I've got that airiness replicated in this recipe. It's bread pudding. Bread - fluffy and puffed up with egg, and studded with bits of cherry and almond, along with a crisp, sweet crust on top. This was inspired by the dense, cake-like bread puddings in Bali I had - in flavors of chocolate, vanilla, or mango. I thought, why not make it puffy, make it light and fluffy? Hence, this.
Of course, puddings are great, but even great-er with sauce. I've got my favourite, and a classic too - vanilla sauce. Of course, if you wish, you could use chocolate sauce, maple syrup, or what-have-you. I've bruleed it, since I find the crisp crust a pleasure to eat, just like anything baked. Broil it, then drench it, just as I hope some rain would come to drench this place now.
Bruleed Cherry Almond Bread Pudding
3 slices day-old bread
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 c milk
1 tbsp. silvered almonds
1/2 tsp almond essence ; optional
5-6 cherries, sliced and pitted
1 tsp sugar (I used coconut)
3 tbsp. greek yogurt
2 tbsp. milk
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 180c / 350 f and grease a ramekin / oven-safe dish. Cut bread into roughly 1-inch squares.
2. Combine egg, milk, almond essence (if using) and maple syrup well.
3. In your dish, arrange the bread pieces and cherries evenly. Sprinkle on some almonds between layers.
4. Bake for 25-30 mins, when the top is puffed up and golden. Sprinkle on sugar, and broil for 2 -3 mins.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the yogurt, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup.
6. Remove from the oven and serve warm with sauce. Enjoy.