Thursday, August 25, 2016


Wiped out by this heatwave, maybe also the air pollution, intensified by the heat. My upstairs studio like a Turkish steambath and creative energy down to zero. However, it gets a little bit cooler in the evening and some kind of nourishment must be taken. Soup is the answer. A bunch of fresh watercress, some broccoli, a few new potatoes, a sauteed onion, a couple of chicken stock cubes. When cooked, liquidise. VoilĂ ! Delicious either hot or cold, with croutons. Don't need anything else these hot days.

 Well, maybe a dessert.

Long ago in a book (by Marguerite Duras I think) I read about clafoutis. Oddly enough I'd never eaten this cherry dish in France, never even seen it. I love the name, the je-m'en-fou implied, and kept a recipe from one of the Sunday supplements. So I thought I'd try it now and defeat the heat apathy. I have the cherries - last of the season - dark and luscious, plus eggs, flour, sugar, milk. The recipe is peculiar:

After stoning the cherries, it tells you to lay out the stones in a row on a tea towel, fold the towel over them, then smash them with a hammer. This is supposed to release the noyau, the kernel inside. Maybe I smashed too hard but there were only some miniscule whitish bits all tangled up in shell fragments. But I obeyed, gathered up the bits and sprinkled them over the stoned cherries, put the lot in a buttered dish. Then the whisking of flour, caster sugar, eggs and milk. The amounts of sugar and milk specified seemed far too much so I ignored the recipe and reduced them, poured the mix over the cherries, added some raisins (my idea) and baked the thing for about 50 minutes. Not bad, but not ecstatically good as I was led to believe. Rather bland and chewy, eggy, a sort of flan. I ate half of it with vanilla ice cream. The other half is for tomorrow.


Hattie said...

I remember how hard it was to deal with heat combined with air pollution, especially when I lived in Hew Jersey years ago.
The part about the cherry pits truly seemed strange. Never heard of that.
I don't think I would try baking under the circumsatnces! I don't bake on hot days. Actually, I hardly ever bake on days that are not hot, either.
Hope the heat wave does not last too much longer.

Catalyst said...

Couldn't have been too bad if you ate half of it at the first sitting. :)

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hattie, that's the trouble with living in big cities. There has been some improvement in air quality but it's still very far from OK. Not asbad a China though!

Bruce, I was hungry! But the taste of cherries had almost completely vanished, overcome by the other ingrtedients.